While many artists have a definitive style, Valencia native and artist Casey Weldon seems to have a dynamic, ever-changing body of work.
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The 34-year-old Hart High grad struck out on his own to Las Vegas not long after he graduated from the Art Center Institute for Design in Pasadena in 2004, his work growing in popularity from tented art shows near the bright lights of Sin City to popular galleries in Hollywood.
A professional artist wasn’t exactly the secure path he planned to carve for himself in the art world, where he now thrives in an industry in which financial gains can be as fleeting as what’s deemed popular.
“You’re basically trying to be a rock star, and it doesn’t really work out for most people,” Weldon said, laughing in a phone interview from his Seattle home.
“I guess with both music and art, there are avenues where you can go, where you’re doing work for hire,” he said.
That was his initial thought when he enrolled in the illustration program at the Pasadena art school; develop the skills and polish necessary to continue steady work in a field he loves.
However, the Internet, and Weldon’s ability to artistically capture a certain je ne sais quois that leaves many in a contemplative state — even when depicting iconic pop culture phenomena incredibly familiar to his audience — cultivated the confidence necessary to explore the billion-dollar world of art industry.
“It started off pretty slow, but (Las Vegas has) a lot of small galleries that are clustered in a little area,” he said. “It went from showing artwork in little tents, and then eventually started showing at some of the galleries there, and by the time I moved in 2007, I was starting to get shows in other galleries and things just kind of started snowballing.”
While he’s created paintings that have been purchased by Hollywood stars such as Judd Apatow and Bryan Cranston, his interest seems less in the financial aspect and more from the reaction of those who look at his work.
Deftly aware of the appeal of cartoonish memes, Weldon first achieved widespread attention for his art with an early piece he created while still in school called “McNipple,” a biting fast-food industry satire that’s been described as enigmatic and provocative.
“It’s funny how the Internet can really spread you around,” Weldon said, adding he still enjoys creating images associated with pop culture, but the subjects of his art are about to change again.
A recent show that just finished at a San Francisco gallery known as Spoke Art pictured the type of adorable kittens one might see on an Internet meme, except that they have four-eyes, Weldon said.
“My idea was that I was going to take cute animals from the Internet and make them creepy looking,” he said, describing the “oh” and “ewww” effect this art can create.
The pieces for that show, ranging from $350 to $950 in price, sold out the day after the show’s opening.
Although the San Francisco show was intended to get cats “out of his system,” and on to something else, he said.
The nuanced work he’s looking to create now might be less associated with easily identifiable symbols and more so with the actions or ideas linked to the culture that creates them.
“Since then I’ve been more focusing toward still narrative, but less punchline paintings,” he said. One upcoming work he mentioned was a portrait of a woman taking a “selfie,” the camera-phone pictures that social media has made ubiquitous, in front of a mirror.
Because the picture is being taken in front of a mirror, there’s a cascade of reflections, however they show the woman in different outfits.
“I definitely like to create a pretty looking picture that people can appreciate on a technical level,” Weldon said, “but I also want to have something thats thought provoking.”
Weldon will have works on display in the Los Angeles area Oct. 12-13 for Beyond Eden, a two-day art fair in Hollywood.
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Source: Santa Clarita News