Cities are a playground for artists according to Casey VanDyke. “Trash” “Forgotten Objects” “Post-Vandalism” “Americana” are sources of inspiration for the artist who collects what others often consider an eyesore. He recontextualizes them, imbuing them with new meaning. “As artists, we are the filter that sits somewhere between art and life (the ends of a spectrum). Paraphrasing Robert Rauschenberg and the futurists here, It’s my goal to try to communicate this balance between the two. Art is life and life is art.”
Based in the United States, much of Casey’s visual landscape is advertising. His aim is to break free from consumer culture and its commentary. We all know perfection is a lie, but somehow we buy into it with all the images we are daily bombarded with. They tell us we will be happy if we look like this or buy this product. Aristotle says it’s this desire for happiness that motivates all of our actions. In Casey’s realigned vision, happiness can be achieved by elevating that which is ignored or ostracised.
Casey creates one-offs
Casey’s first experience with photography was at the age of 12 when they created a pinhole camera out of an oatmeal can at school. It allowed him to see the world in a new light, literally. This led to him majoring in photography. At some point, he felt too constricted by all the rules that come with it. He began experimenting with ways to subvert the processes. Mistakes weren’t mistakes, but ways to create unique works.
One method he employs time and time again is image transfer. The process can be performed with inexpensive means and on any surface. It can be repeated over and over without producing the exact same result. This allows for imperfection. It is this imperfection that excites Casey. In a world of mass-production, he seeks singularity
Images by PILOTENKUECHE or Supplied by Casey VanDyke
While photography continues be part of and influence his work, Casey has moved into the 3 dimensional realm. In his PK studio you can find granite cubes, usually found in sidewalks hanging from the wall in plastic netting that fruit comes in. Items found in abandoned buildings are pealed and placed on their side. Moments of past, present and future as Casey encounters them are arranged like bouquets. Spray paint, chains, gaffer, electrical ties hold items in place….just.
Leipzig streets and alleys
Jacksonville is predominately urban and has plenty of industrial wasteland to explore. Comparing Leipzig’s abandoned industrial sites fascinates him and his creative juices are overflowing. He is questioning “identity, city planning and urbanism.” Even how he moves about his day has changed his perspective. Jacksonville is the largest city in Florida as far as land area goes. Most people have a car there. According to Casey, the work he is making here covers topics such as car-centric cultures vs. access to public transportation and walkable cities.”
Being on a residency in a new environment has allowed him time to take in what’s around him. Just walking from one place to another is unlocking visual connections he might otherwise not notice. He is hoping he can continue this method of awareness and embrace Jacksonville’s less than effective public transport system when the residency is over. Meanwhile he is “excited to have the time to be able to think more technically and conceptually about my own work.”
written by maeshelle west-davies
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