Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Interview with Casey Logan

Casey Logan says, "I really feel that my studio is always with me, my education is my life, and my creativity is they way I represent it all, " in answering the first interview question. After that, I knew his following words were going to be worth my attention. He is a graduate of SFAI, with several exhibitions in the bay area and Texas, who works and lives in West Oakland. Casey's sculptures are often accompanied by stories and intriguing titles relating to physics and the limitations/freedoms of life. Viewing his work is almost like reading a scientific poem or a letter to someone you love. For one, who is a visual interpreter and enjoys exploring new view points, his art doesn't fall far from the authors he talks highly of.

And so our conversation begins....

When we talked at your opening for "come celebrate the knowledge you never knew you had" at Little Tree Gallery, you mentioned some of your sculptural ideas come from the packaging method you use at work. What do you do for work? Why? It seems that scientific measurements also influence your art. How did that enter the picture?

Well work is just another aspect of my life and I really feel that all my work comes from all aspects of my life and is fused together in some kind of Frankenstein of thought. although crate building/ art handling, my interest in theoretical physics, and the loneliness and isolation I feel when I am without a lover may all seem to be very separate, they come together eventually in the work.

Like the earth and moon covered in porcupine quills always wanting to kiss each other but forever separated by their gravitational fields, or the planet earth being forced to hold still in a traveling crate to indicate its position in the hierarchical realm of things by making it the center of the universe. This is a funny notion when one understands the principles of Newtonian physics which tells us that there is no absolute fixed point. I really feel that my studio is always with me, my education is my life and my creativity is they way I represent it all.

When did you have a studio at Root Division? Have you worked in collective artist studios like that before? What was your experience like at Root Division? Where is your studio now?

I was at Root division shortly after I graduated in 2004. I had a studio there for 1 yr. I really really like what those guys are doing and believe we all have a part to play in supporting arts in the community and those guys are doing a great job. It was however a double edge sword for me. On one hand, I wanted to just be by myself and make my work and on the other, I always felt a sense of obligation to do things for the common good when I was there because there was always something going on.

It is weird; an artist must confront the fact that what they do has an aspect of self serving to it. This is not always the easiest thing to deal with especially in relationships. There is this guilt that you have to overcome by realizing that there is value giving to our culture through the practice of making art and that it is not entirely a self serving prospect. I think artist are all too often perceived this way because our culture dose not appreciate the value of art enough, to change to social consciousness to include art making as a valuable practice for the common good. Currently, I am living and working out of a warehouse space in west Oakland that I converted into a living/studio space, my first real size studio since I have been in the bay area and it just keeps filling up with stuff and then I am forced to work in 100 sq ft, ironic, I think I am forever destine to work in 100 sq ft space.

I like the stories on your website. Who do you like to read?/What do you like to read? The universe is a big theme in both your writing and art. Do you want to comment on that?

I have to admit, I am not the biggest reader and if I can get a book on tape I will. I think this comes from all the road trips I take for work. It’s nice to listen to different things and ponder, especially, when you are forced to be in one place for a long time. It is kinda hard to do much else when you're driving down the highway at 70mph, so I just finished listening to “a briefer history of time” it was very exciting, I just realized, for the first time, how space and time are fused together to create space-time through Einstein’s mind games. I have always known about the twin paradox or the space time dilation theory of how one ages slower under an intense gravitational pull or traveling at a high rate of speed but this book on tape open me up to the way it plays out in a real practical way and it was exciting to see how to let go of the fact that time is not a constant, it was very liberating. I have also been listing to the demarcation of philosophy and science. It traces the path of how science evolved from philosophy and what gives them their unique identity, which is not as separate as you might think. It is actually very intense to understand the way the mind can slip back and forth between philosophical thinking and scientific thinking, very amazing stuff. As far as reading I have just read “canary row” and “The sun Also Rises” by Hemingway and some other Hemingway short stories. I have to say my favorite fiction book is a toss up between “100 years of solitude” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and “Brothers Karamazov” by Fyodor Dostoevsky. Books like these can change your life. Really makes me want to make better art.

You grew up in texas and I see a bit of cowboy essence here and there. What did you take with you from your time in Texas. What do cowboys symbolize for you?

Texas is a special place for me. A place I can reinvent into something inspiring. I like to think of the idea that you can find the most brilliant things in the most unexpected places. Not to say that there aren't brilliant things in Texas, but rather something that doesn’t quite fit in, like cowboys thinking of astrophysics. It’s always nice to have your stereo types, belief systems, or whatever binds you to some kind of sanity knocked down, as to create a sense of wonderment. Just to let you know, the world is really being discovered. Texas is known to me because that is where I am from. It makes sense to me to use it as a vessel for my ideas.

Some of your older pieces were incorporated with natural surroundings or built upon objects that were already present. Do you see a difference in those form your other work? Do you do ever make larger installations for exhibits? Is there something greater that you are working towards?

The older works were coming out of a period of thinking about my art in a formal way and when I started incorporating the natural surroundings and man made objects the conceptual thinking side in me became more acute. Nature and objects are embodied with meaning and you can’t get away from that. I think it help make me think about my work as personal extensions of ready made concepts. I look at what the world already says is so and I combine, manipulate, alter, ect... my personal fictitious ideas with what the world already has to say the then make something of it, I call them sculptures.

I have had a few ideas about larger sculptures but it usually comes down to the economy of things, money and space. I guess because I would rather be in a place in my mind I don’t really want to waist to much time and energy accomplishing large scale sculptures. They are indeed powerful and have a significant attraction but I feel that if an idea can be carried through many people’s minds then I can create things on scales larger than any monumental sculpture can.

There is always something greater I am working towards but I don’t know what that is. I think I would call that “wonder”. It’s the thing that won’t let me go and keeps purpose in my life.


Anonymous said...

Nice interview. Truly love the use of the level and square in nature. It's nice to see the beautification and display of the geometry of nature.

Libby Nicholaou said...

Thanks for reading. I like his contrasting elements as well.