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John Casey

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Salem, MA

Birth year

Lives in
Oakland, CA

Works in
Oakland, CA


Massachusetts College of Art, 1988, BFA

Representing galleries
Galerie Polaris

sculpture, figurative, surrealism, mixed-media



For the past 20 years or so, I have been exploring open-ended narratives in my work. Using mostly a portrait format, I tap into my subconscious and psychological brain space, to conjure loose metaphors and symbols, and weave them into compelling characters. Some of these beings represent a kind of psychological self-portrait. Others represent people I have encountered throughout my lifetime, friends, neighbors, and generally everyday folks. Often these characters are amalgamations. These beings are not specific portraits, more like the impression of various people. The character’s life-story is left open to interpretation, inviting the viewer into the story-telling process. The results are what appear to be damaged or vulnerable beings, but a second look reveals complex and sensitive spirits, more like enthusiastic upstarts, rather than rejects or troublemakers.


I was born on Friday the 13th in 1964 in Salem, Massachusetts, where I started inventing creatures as soon as I was able to hold a crayon. Drawings that my mother saved from when I was only three years old reveal an obsession with the figure. The figures in these drawings show not only the distorted perceptions of a child, but a fascination with skulls, teeth, spirographic eyes, and invented body parts. This obsession with strange creatures continued throughout my youth. Monster models, war dioramas, dinosaurs, and horror movies on the T.V. [this included “Creature Double Feature” on Saturday afternoons, of course] occupied much of my time. I graduated from the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston in 1988 with a BFA in Painting. I currently live in Oakland, California with my lovely wife Mary and our cat Phineas.

Recent Exhibits

John Casey participated in these exhibits:

Apr, 2016 stARTup Fair SF 2016
Hotel Del Sol
Jan, 2016 Des liaisons dangereuses
Galerie Polaris
Dec, 2015 'Project p:ear' benefit exhibition
Stephanie Chefas Projects
Nov, 2015 3 days in paris
Galerie Metropolis, Paris
Nov, 2015 Okay, Not Okay
Galerie Polaris
Nov, 2015 LIVE FREE - the 5 year anniversary art show
Daniel Rolnik Gallery
Click here to see all exhibits for John Casey
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