When did you first become interested in art?
My artistic journey began, like many artists, in grammar school and continued through high school. I seemed to be happiest and closest to my spirit with pen and brush in my hand. After graduating high school, I found myself enrolled in Chouinard Art Institute in downtown Los Angeles, which is now California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, CA. In Art College, I bloomed as an artist learning techniques and then learning to break all the rules, eventually beginning to develop my own style.
What style of art do you use most?
I am a contemporary sumi-e painter reaching beyond the limits of traditional ink painting. My paintings one would not generally call traditional sumi-e. However, I adhere to the traditional sumi-e principles and philosophies, as well as, the traditional preparation before beginning a sumi-e painting.
Has your style changed from when you first began as an artist?
Yes, my style is ever changing. To be a good artist and true to yourself, I believe it is necessary to change as you as a person grow and change. Art reflects the artist.
What medium do you use?
Currently, I use sumi (ink) and Japanese watercolor.
What made you choose that medium?
As an artist, for me, ink painting is a meditation and a creative process. I concentrate on trying to capture spirit as the ink is transferred to the paper with the stroke of the brush. The brush is pushed across the surface of the paper quickly. If your intention is correct, the object in the picture seems to ‘breathe and take on life’. This unseen yet felt breath begins to fill the page with spirit just as it does in all of nature which surrounds us. The special power of the painted form shines and immerges through the ink and the white page. The white space surrounding the painted form becomes as important as the object itself. The ink painting represents soul, spirit, elegance, and beauty all at the same time and in concert.
Do your ideas come from life or imagination?
My inspiration is “Nature” and the process of Sumi-e painting itself. Sumi-e expresses the character and soul of the artist. It is a meditative process and spiritually personal. Understanding this concept has been at the center of my art. I have been a student of Western painting and of ink painting. Ink painting called Sumi-e has captivated my spirit and soul. I am continually trying to increase my understanding of the secret of beauty and grace and elegance.
How do you choose your images and colours?
I paint in the moment. Images come from nature and color just flows from my brush. I do not pre-think.
Who is your favourite artist?
It is hard to choose a single artist as my favorite. Matisse would rank at the very top of my favorite list though. His use of color and his brush strokes are amazing.
What is your favourite piece of work by yourself?
My favorite sumi-e that I have created so far is called ‘Leaves of Life’. This painting was inspired by the beauty and spirit of life. And, how life enfolds us in experience. This sumi-e just flowed from my brush as if directed by divine intervention and was an incredible experience. It was a complete journey into art!
This painting was created on Arches hot press watercolor paper and painted entirely with a Hake brush, which is a flat wash brush. I find this kind of brush very useful and versatile when painting freely. The sumi (ink) was ground using a stone. Japanese watercolor was also used.
How much time (on average) does it take to complete a work?
Brush painting or ink painting called Sumi-e in Japan is done quickly without over thinking your subject matter. Once the brush is laid to the white paper and you have a mark, that’s it. There is no erasing, doing over, or changing. The painting ‘just exists’. This is why one who creates Sumi-e paints from a quiet centered place and has the intention of capturing the object’s spirit and essence with just a few simple and graceful brush strokes.
Sumi-e exemplifies the concept of ‘Less is More.’
‘Kokoro tadashikereba sunawachi fude tadashi’.
If your mind is correct, the brush will be correct.
How well do you take criticism?
An artist must take criticism well and not take negative criticism personally. When you put your work out there for all to see, it will be viewed differently by individuals. As they say, ‘art is in the eye of the beholder’. So your work will solicit different responses and emotions from others and you need to be prepared to hear and experience it all. We all want our work to be loved by everyone. However, this usually is not the case.
What do you do to overcome a ‘block’?
I meditate, go for a walk, and/or play with my dog.
How do you know something is ‘finished’?
Due to the nature of sumi-e painting as described in question #10, the painting is finished when it feels right inside your soul and the last brush stoke is made.
Have you had exhibits in galleries?
I have had numerous artwork in galleries. Please visit my Exhibition page at: http://www.caseyshannon.com/id11.html
Have you any exhibits in galleries planned for the future?
I have work currently on tour across the country, my work is to be featured in the Dick Blick Art Catalog for 2010-2011, my self-portrait will be on display in New York April 23rd. Please visit my Exhibition page for details: http://www.caseyshannon.com/id11.html
What are your plans for the future?
I plan to go with the flow of life, be a good person and help others, and love my friends and family. Paint, paint, and paint some more!
What advice would you give new artists?
Go with your heart and never ever give up!
Have you done any courses to help you?
I have a Bachelor of Fine Art (BFA) from Chouinard School at California Institute of the Arts. I majored in drawing and painting. And, minored in Fashion Design. I have a Master’s Degree from California State University, Long Beach. I have also attended various painting workshops.
What do you do to market your work?
I exhibit my work in art galleries across the country.
I designed and created my own art website. http://www.caseyshannon.com
I write an art blog. http://caseyshannonstudio.blogspot.com/
I use various POD’s (print on demand sites) to sell my paintings as fine art reproductions and cards. Such as:
Casey Studio Zazzle Gallery ~ http://www.zazzle.com/caseystudio
Casey Studio Fine Art America ~ http://casey-shannon.fineartamerica.com/
Casey Studio ImageKind ~ http://CaseyShannonStudio.imagekind.com/
Casey at Untapped Source ~ http://www.theuntappedsource.com/artist_detail.php?category=386
Sumi-e Studio Gifts ~ http://www.cafepress.com/CaseyStudio
I have created a Sumi-e Art Lens. http://www.squidoo.com/caseystudio
And, I use social networking.
Casey Studio Fan Page ~ http://www.facebook.com/pages/Casey-Shannon-Art-Studio/63677641491?ref=ts
Casey Studio on Twitter ~ http://twitter.com/CaseyStudio
Are you available for work (commissions)?
Yes, I am.
Have you got hobbies?
I have a passion for reading.
Where are you based?
My studio is in Carmel, CA. USA