Spraygraphic Interview with Artist Se7en aka Shay Casey
SG: Please tell us about yourself?
SC: I am a graphic designer by trade and artist by default. I grewup in the Sierra Nevada mountains in California and spent my highschool/college years in the bay area. I am a recovering adrenalinejunkie and have broken and/or fractured too many parts to continue. Iam a father and a son. A genius and a fool. I have a tattoo on my elbowand it hurt like hell. I have lived a sheltered existence and I am opento anything.
SG: Where do you currently live and work?
SC: I have a home studio in the middle of nowhere CT which is prettylow key. Someday I hope to travel more when I work. My core office fitsin a backpack and I love the idea of complete freedom. I can workanywhere with european coffee, an internet connection and cell service.
SG: What mediums do you work with?
SC: I am primarily a digital artist but I grew up drawing, sographite and ballpoint pen have always held a certain magic for me. Ilike to do these intricate abstract pieces that are just a linear flowof unrelated ideas. Ink is an amazing challenge because you can'terase. You have to turn the mistakes into something meaningful. I stilldo a lot of work in my sketchbooks too just for the fuck of it and, Iguess, to solidify ideas.
SG: Describe your working process when creating a new work.
SC: Ideas usually come from my sketchbook, a random photo that Ifind on the web or a frame from a movie that I am watching. I usuallydo a lot of sketches before I start a painting. I like to refine theconcepts, add and subtract ideas, changing the composition and cameraangle until I can see the finished piece in my head.
I paint over the scanned final sketch in Photoshop CS3 and Painter Xusing mostly custom brushes on a Wacom tablet. I tend to use very largebrushes early on and block in the values. Complete experimentationagain this time with color and atmosphere. Once i get it locked in, Ijust continue painting smaller details, textures, etc. until I feellike it reads correctly. Meticulous detail around the focal point andmore energy and abstraction in the negative space. I don't use anyphoto manipulation except for some post production work like addingfilm grain, scratches and other surface effects.
I like to let the work sit for a while after I am quote, unquote,done. I can come back to it later with a fresh perspective and look tosee if anything bothers me about the piece. Often, I go back in for onemore pass trying to correct errors and fine tune details that I mightnot be happy with. Other times, you just have to say it's done, and letit go.
SG: What kind of things do you do when you get blocked or find it hard to create something?
SC: Drink heavily and watch A Clockwork Orange on repeat. Haha, no,I don't think that I have ever lacked for ideas. I usually have toomany concepts going on in my head to really produce. I do get stuck alot in the middle of a painting when everything looks like it was madeby a 5 year old. I guess I just leave it for a while and try and lookfor inspiration in books, movies, graphic design, fashion, anywherethat doesn't involve someone else's painting. You just have to havefaith that it will work out. Lose the fear and move forward. Thejourney is more important than the end result.
SG: Where are you currently finding your inspiration?
SC: Let's just say she's beautiful, funny, talented and the love of my life.
SG: Where has your work been seen?
SC: I currently have 6 new pieces and an installation in a group show called Circus Freaks at the iO gallery.As a designer I have won two How Magazine Merit Awards and have workedfor everyone from Epic Records, Rock Band and Silent Hill 5 to ESPN,MLB, Heineken, etc. so pretty much all over the map. My work has alsobeen featured on cgsociety.org.
SG: Where will it be seen next?
SC: I am working on a few pieces for a potential group show at La Luz de Jesusin Hollywood. Other than that, I am currently looking for new galleriesthat would want to show the kind of work that I do. I am no longertrying to please anyone but myself artistically. Every artist wants tobe validated and successful and I am no different but ultimately, thesatisfaction has to come from the work itself.
SG: What is your dream art assignment?
SC: Something massive, shocking, disturbing and beautiful that makespeople stop and take notice of the message. Ideally it would be largeformat pieces and installations. I just need an angel investor to fundthe project. It takes a lot of time and money to do art on a largescale. I went to Obey's show in Brooklyn last year and seeing his workcover the walls from floor to ceiling just absolutely blew my mind. Icould live in that space.
SG: What is your favorite color?
SG: Who is your favorite artist? And Why?
SC: I have too many favorites to pick just one. If I had to pick onebased on being a true artist and showman, it would be either Dali orWarhol. If it was a classic painter it would be Durer or Caravaggio fortheir mastery of the craft and the incredible mood in their work. Michael Hussar, David Carson, Dave McKean, Shepard Fairy and Ashley Wood are my favorite living artists.
SG: What book/magazine are you reading this week?
SC: Inked, Hi-Fructose, Juztapoz and ArtNews are always on thecoffee table and I listen to audiobooks a lot so it would be bookeleven in the The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordon or some randomthriller/horror style novel. I recently finished Snow Crash (for the3rd time), Pattern Recognition, and The Rosary Girls.
SG: Ever do a self portrait? Where is it now?
SC: Haha, I'm sure if I ever did, it's in the trash. I'm not all that fascinated with myself.
SG: Where is your favorite place to hang out?
SC: Somewhere without the pressures of everyday life. When was thelast time I vacuumed, is my phone bill late, did I eat today, etc.?Basically, anywhere with friends, family, food, music, laughter and art.
SG: Any final words of advice?
SC: Live fast, die young and leave a good looking corpse. Reallythat sums it up for me. You never know when your number is up, so liveeveryday as if it were your last. Don't live in the past or the future,but live right now, without regret or fear.