Casey Weldon’s work has meme-level appeal without sacrificing substance. Even after repeated encounters with his pieces you will find yourself noticing something new each time.
Whether it’s an element you overlooked or a more nuanced interpretation of “what it all means,” you will never walk away empty handed. He aims to channel the infinitely “reeseable” quality of Wes Anderson’s movies by emulating his devotion to detail. Casey strives to invite his viewers into an active experience rather than a passive reception of his art by making it inherently immersive instead of just something pretty and appealing to hang on the wall.
Casey’s talent for combining meaning with mass intrigue is truly impressive. Even behind his now famous feline portraits, (think: cats with a few more eyes than you’re used to) there are comments to be made and questions to be asked and pondered. Perhaps, for example: “When did cats begin ruling the internet?” or “What is it about the web that triggers this sort of obsession in the first place?” After all, just as these are not your run of the mill cat pictures, Casey Weldon is not your run of the mill artist. Read on to see for yourself why you need to keep an eye on this one.
What is your favorite aspect of illustration and being an illustrator?
It’s been a while since I’ve done any real editorial illustration, but my favorite part was coming up with the idea. It’s a challenge to create imagery that illustrates the story, but doesn’t just merely depict each word for word. It has to be unique and separate, but yet share the point of view and work cohesively with the article. It can be very difficult!
Your work has been described as nostalgic. Do you feel a longing for earlier days?
I used to. Nostalgia is such a conflicted feeling. You can feel a real love for a certain moment in time and a great sadness that it no longer exists. You heart aches for something that was never going to last, essentially because it never could have lasted. Lately I’ve been trying to focus on making memories to cry about in the future.
Within your body of work, cats often claim the spotlight. What’s the story behind them?
Ha! Well it kind of just happened. I have painted all kinds of wildlife, but for some reason cats elicit the most response. At some point I started to enjoy capitalizing on their adorable irony and using it to either make a point about our obsession with them as “awww” fodder, or our obsession with internet culture as a whole. Also sometimes, they are just fun to paint.
Who or what are some of your inspirations from beyond the world of fine art?
Music for sure. I close my eyes and listen to whatever song I can’t get out of my head and visualize how I would direct the video for it. It’s childish, but some good ideas come out of nowhere that way. Movies and television also have quite an influence on my compositional sensibilities. Lately I’ve been actively trying to pay more attention to how a great cinematographer frames a shot. I want to invite the viewer into the scene more, and not just present it to them. A good looking movie will suck you right in, even if the script is terrible.
How has Wes Anderson’s work influenced you?
It’s hard to get a prettier movie than a Wes Anderson movie. His attention to every little detail is inspiring. It really encourages you to keep building the imagery past the normal standard. I see something new every time I watch one of his movies and that keeps every viewing exciting. I can only hope to create work that retains a similar level of ‘reseeability.’
What can we expect from you, artistically, in the next few years?
Hopefully more layered compositions in a more candid perspective, telling stories universal enough to interest every kind of viewer, but ambiguous enough to let everyone come to their own conclusion as to their meanings. And probably more cats.