Casey Folks

Casey Folks' works

artwork Virgo by Casey Folks Paradise Regained by Casey FolksRemembering by Casey FolksMother Nature Mustering the ColorsMjolnir Unleashed by Casey Folks

Meet Hello Galena Artist: Casey Folks

Meet Casey Folks, whose mythological drawings now appear in Hello Galena's shop. (Click artwork above for larger images.)

Casey's has been featured in a national art show. Visitors to the 74th Annual National Exhibit to held at the Cooperstown Art Association in Cooperstown, NY, found his work featured there. The show was just across the street from the Baseball Hall of Fame. More that 500 works were submitted for consideration to the show, and a limit of 120 were accepted for display.

Find out more about the man behind the art in his own words:

How and when did you get interested in art? I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember. When I was in grade school I used to fill notebook after notebook with drawings of soldiers, bi-planes, tanks and countless other images. I remember this chalk board that my Great Aunt had at her house. I would be at that chalk board for hours drawing dinosaurs and cartoon characters.

While I was in middle school I immersed myself in comic books and the role playing game of Dungeons & Dragons. It was also during these years that a close friend at the time, Noah Geisert, introduced me to the writings of JRR Tolkien. Super heroes, mythical peoples, and fantastic monsters ran rampant in my mind. During high school, another great friend, Rory MacDonald, and I pushed each other through “drawing wars,” which really helped me to develop as an artist. Rory is a quite gifted artist who very much inspired me, and drove me to be the best I could be. I would do something in pencil, and he’d fire back with a brilliant piece in colored ink, to which I’d counter with a pen and ink work. We were always feeding off each other’s artistic desire and drive to produce the best work possible.

Do you have any favorite artists that inspire you?
Gee, do you have a few days? There are so many truly gifted artists whose work I’ve spent hours and hours pouring over in complete amazement. The short list would include the classical greats, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and Albrecht Durer. In contemporary times, Frank Frazetta, Arthur Geisert, Berni Wrightson, and Barry Windsor-Smith are huge in my world.

Where did you go to school?
I attended the Rocky Mountain College of Art & Design, in Denver, where I majored in Illustration. The entire program at Rocky Mountain at that time was geared toward art. Traditional “academic” classes weren’t offered. Figure drawing, anatomy, color theory, graphic design, and art history were among some of the classes that were part of the two-year curriculum. I studied under James Valone, John Lencicki, and Phillip J. Steele, founder of the college.

Did you intend to pursue art as a career?
Initially, yes. I was 19, just shy of 20 when I graduated from college and moved to Minneapolis with my girlfriend, where I was looking for work as a commercial artist. I had numerous interviews, and portfolio reviews, which for the most part went fairly well, but it was the usual, “don’t call us, kid, we’ll call you.” The last interview I had was with this very elite advertising agency. The portfolio review was with the owner of the agency. He was an older gentleman, and it was quite obvious that his agency was successful. I knew I was in way over my head when I walked into his office. The walls were adorned with these magnificent classical looking oil paintings which I presumed were painted by the man I was about to meet. The portfolio review was pretty short. He was gracious enough to make small talk with me as he quickly flipped through my work. As he neared the end of the portfolio he asked me where I was from. After I responded, he asked me if there were a lot of farmers there. When I stated, "Yes." He replied that I should go back home and become one. I was completely caught off guard, and could feel the blood rushing out of my head as I was quickly ushered out of his office. Unfortunately, that one very sour experience scarred me, and as it turned out, more deeply than I wanted to admit. I pulled up stakes, and headed for home, never interviewing for another professional commercial artist position again. Twenty years of life later, I see how wrong I was to let one experience, as horrible as it was in my mind at the time, to affect me so harshly, but I believe that things happen for a reason. Now I work in law enforcement and enjoy art in my free time.

When do you draw?
Whenever I get the chance! Between work and family, my free time is limited, but I like to spend a few hours a week either working on a final piece, or sketching out ideas for future works.

What other types of art do you create if any?
Right now, pen & ink is my medium of choice. In the past I have worked with graphite, charcoal and colored pencil, but the pen & ink is, without a doubt, my favorite.

Where do you sell it?
2008 is the first year that I’ve tried selling my work. I’ve done some art fairs this past year, and had some success. My work is also on display at Hello Galena! I am a new member, and I’m very excited to be a part of a very creative group of people. I’m hoping to possibly get involved with some other local galleries in the area.

Why is art important to you?
Art is my release. An escape from a reality that can be quite grim at times. Art is also an extension of my being. I can’t begin to describe the feeling of creating a work of art. Beginning with nothing but an idea that burns inside of you, that yearns and demands to be released. When I’m drawing, my soul is singing.

How would you describe your style of drawing?
In my world, my drawings are an epic journey. I leave a piece of myself inside each one. Each work seems to have its own unique tale surrounding its creation. I want the viewer to be able to stand a few feet back from a piece, and appreciate the drawing as a whole. But then I invite them to get up close and personal with the work, freeing their mind, exploring the line work within, and just having fun viewing the piece.

What is your typical subject matter, if any?
In addition to the pieces featured on this page, titles of my works include “Anguish of Heracles”, “Tempest”, “Mother Nature’s Revenge”, “Heracles Defeats Antaeus” and “Meeting Her Father”. Right now, I guess my typical subject matter would be of a mythological theme with particular emphasis on the human form, and a little Mother Nature thrown in for good measure. There is such a vast array of magnificently crafted stories, legends and myths that human kind has created during our relatively short time on Planet Earth. An almost endless source of subject matter begging to be explored. That fascination, coupled with my love and intrigue with the human form, with all of its complexities, beauty, and strength perpetuates my inspiration to create these works.

Why did you decide to get into this type of art?
I would have to say that it was “the totality of the circumstances,” that lead me to where I am today. A fabulous childhood, with very supportive parents, tremendously gifted friends, and teachers who supported my ideas, and challenged my creative mind. Followed up by the freakishly talented people I met in college who shared the same interests as I, (my college roommate, Steve Garcia is a genius with the pencil), kept this genre in my heart.

Casey’s artwork is for sale at Hello Galena, at 121 N. Commerce St., in Galena. Plus, you may reach him directly via e-mail, or visit the Casey Folks Mythical Ink Studio on Facebook. Find our online map, store hours and directions.

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