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Academic Level at Time of Creation
Date of Creation
My art comprises one unifying idea: my own life experiences, specifically those relating to my family and friends. By depicting highly specific visual cues—such as clothing, crows, and the color blue—I combine multiple facets and memories in an attempt to communicate my feelings and experiences. Sometimes these symbols are universal; a yellow raincoat, for example, calls to mind childhood. Others are encoded within my own memories—a bird skull relates to a dream my friend had one night. My art is about more than myself; it is about finding common ground between me and my audience and exploring that overlap.
Through symbols, color, and texture, I reach out to the viewer. These symbols and colors appeal specifically to my own aesthetic and emotional sensibilities; it is for this reason that I am so interested in what the viewer can gain from my art. In order to interact with both my memories and the viewer, I use bold, dark lines, bright colors, and clearly visible—if not always decipherable—symbols. The interaction between these elements paves the way for the connection between myself, the piece, and the viewer.
Among my contemporary influences are certain niche illustrators such as Greer Stothers, whose bold use of color to depict creatures—both extinct and imagined—has left an impression on me. Her colorful compositions are straightforward and full of character, and I strive for a similar impression within my own work.
My experience with figure drawings, especially those done with pen and ink, was a major catalyst for my artistic choices thus far. In my figure drawings, I was able to explore unconventional color combinations. This exploration of color continues even in my more recent abstract drawings, in which I have depicted white bottles and other objects in hues of red and blue.
Photography has proven to be an unexpected catalyst for the further development of my art. A photo is an instantaneous moment in time; in a way, it is the purest way for me to present a pure reflection of my own perception. In an inverse way, photography has honed my sense of my immediate, daily surroundings. There are countless moments in any given day where I wish I could have my camera to capture the beautiful subtleties of my world. The photos that I have taken so far are largely the result of chance: I saw something lovely and photographed it, such as sunlight filtered through window blinds or an animal carcass. Others are staged and in a way are more like my symbolic work of other media than my other photos.
In my art I explore the psychological meaning of color; specifically, I use the colors red and blue as symbols for life. Both red and blue feel familiar and lively to me. At first, I subconsciously used these colors when producing life-based work. As time went on, I began to use the colors intentionally as a kind of code for organic life. In many cases, I also used green in much the same way, but the shade of green was frequently more of a teal color and was thus essentially another shade of blue. It is elements like color that my audience will connect to in their own way, and maybe this connection will be similar to the connections that I have with my own work.
Mr. T. Michael Martin
various materials and dimensions
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.
Johnson, Casey, "Casey Johnson: Professional Practices" (2018). Professional Practices (ART 399). 44.