As I would come to find out during a most engaging conversation with Jim Casey - we are both dreamers. Yes everyone has dreams, but the reason I felt a special kinship with this native-Floridian artist is that like me, his dreams help him find the way.
Jim explained that he always had a desire to make things. Starting with masking tape and old brown paper bags at an early age, he began crafting airplanes, toy soldiers and whatever else his imagination and materials would allow.
As is the case with many artists, Jim lost interest during high school years as it seemed like a career in the arts was not very realistic. In 1980 Jim enrolled to study Religion and later Psychology in an attempt to satisfy what he felt was a desire to help people. Finally realizing that neither of these were his calling, Jim dropped out of school and went to work with his hands - at an auto body shop.
In 1986 the change came when he moved to Orlando and got accepted to the art program at University of Central Florida. From here he received a BFA in painting in 1991 before moving on to an MFA in sculpture from Florida State University.
Jim's style is literally bare bones. The most recent body of work uses rugged materials, to craft expressive gestures that "capture the unexpected moment of beauty". We are used to thinking of horses as large muscular beasts but seeing the muscle stripped away to just reveal a fragile inner core is a startling experience.
Jim shared with me the story of how this visual style originated - "I had a dream about these kids play fighting with sticks on a mesa. One kid was being extra mean and kept poking another kid more than the others. Just then a woman with wings flew down from the sky, shouting at the naughty kid to stop. He wouldn't stop and the helpless kid fell off the cliff. The woman scrambled to try and catch him, grabbing hold of his clothes which began to unravel." What Jim saw in that dream, the stripping away of the outer layers, became the inspiration for his current style.
Jim has been a University instructor and professional sculptor for the last several years. He lives in Central Florida with his wife and two daughters. His work has been in many exhibits around the country including the Robot Love group show at which we first met in January. See more of Jim's work online at www.jimcaseysculptor.com
Someone once asked Jim how he knew when one of his pieces is finished - "When it blinks" he said. I believe him...
artist, horses, dreams, florida, art school