Casey Bolding’s (b. 1987) variegated depictions are referentially surreal and pop, while his visual content creates a hybrid system of forms and hues. Bolding builds an eerie painterly world in which the compositions showcase ambiguous figures and vivid colours. Often, his narratives overlap each other within the same canvas underlying fractures of a lively abstraction. The artist describes his work as both “incidental” and “intentional“, stating the contradictory duality of his compositions. In terms of his themes, his pictorial variation coincides with the array of the stylistic features that do not easily reveal themselves on the canvas’ surface. Some painting attempts seem to make sense while others flirt with creative randomness. Actually, what the viewer’s eye sees can be a deliberately executed composition of reality and imagination, whereas other painting outcomes are more orchestrated. “The surrealist elements are used to change or diffuse the language into a dreamlike or altered state of consciousness where there is infinite and ineffable possibilities,” the artist points out.
Words: Yannis Kostarias
Challenging his body of work with subliminal sensations on canvas, the painting narrative aims to encapsulate some more aesthetically advanced qualities. Trustworthy (2019) or Slidin In (2019) could be regarded as two characteristic works that operate as a direct way for Bolding to capture his concealed thoughts and to successfully trigger notions of subconsciousness. Within such an intertwined painting game, the pictorial boundaries get more flexible, highlighting a world of possibilities. At a closer look, even though Casey’s works present some encoded details that could turn his arrangements into less perceptible meanings, the final impression remains entertaining and appealing. Taking into consideration that his painting titles could unveil further information about his work, it looks like the story stays essential to the artist and a less identifiable creative structure to the viewer. These alterations build up a vague imagery, which is aligned with contemporary surrealism and also gives space for further interpretation.
Born in Denver, Colorado, Casey Bolding (b. 1987) lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. His work has been exhibited in many art galleries around the United States. His latest group show took place in 2018 at Ed. Varie gallery in New York.
Art Verge: Can you tell us about the process of making your work?
Casey Bolding: I am usually just looking for a way in. Some sort of sign or hint of fate to follow the breadcrumbs of. It could be a section of the wall that’s stained with grease or peeled back with asbestos that shapes the entire composition. The figures usually find themselves and then I only have to set a stage to put there existence into context.
AV: How would you define your work in a few words (ideally in 3 words)?
CB: Incidental, intentional.
AV: Observing your work, it feels like there is a contemporary surrealist painting technique applied on your canvases. If this applies to your artistry, does the painting result come from unexpected hand movements or some kind of controlled or pre-planned experiments instead?
CB: I try to work as subliminally as possible and leave a large margin for surprise. Even the unexpected can start to become repetitive when applied to a formula so I try to change my approach once I start to feel it going stale. The surrealist elements are used to change or diffuse the language into a dream like or altered state of consciousness where there is infinite and ineffable possibilities.
AV: Showcasing a remarkable background in graffiti, do you try to bring street art attributes on your canvases or do you prefer to avoid mixing techniques and styles?
CB: I try to use whatever tool makes sense. I gave up trying to seperate the two. The traditions of both graffiti and fine art can be staunch which isn’t exactly conducive to creativity.
AV: Could you share with us some further details regarding your recent painting named ‘Burial On The Bayou’?
CB: It’s a graveyard scene. A mother, wife, or daughter kneeling down in front of the headstone of her loved one. She is somber but at peace. Naked and without shame in the endurance of the love shared. she is framed in by the yin and yang of 2 crosses as a third stands in the background symbolizing her faith. Its probably a portrait of my Mom in a way. Hard working, heart broken, and happy to be in it all.
AV: Can you name any artists you, lately or generally, take inspiration from?
CB: BAER, Pat Phillips, Sluto, Aneko, Cheyenne Julien are a few from my generation that really inspire me. Some older folks too like Jacob Lawrence, Co Westerik, Romulo Maccio, Fritz Scholder, and Robert Colescott. Tons of outsider greats like George Widener, William Hawkins, Etc. I love so many different things it gets exhausting but I like being stretched in all directions. Been obsessing over sci fi art lately.
AV: How do you know when drawing or painting is finished?
CB: When the dust settles its usually time to step away. I really try not to be finicky.
AV: What about the place where you work? What’s your studio space like, and how does it affect your process and where is your studio now based?
CB: My favorite places to work are abandoned spaces where I am free to make a mess and work big but I only have limited time to finish. My studio is in Brooklyn and I am really lucky to have the space because things are so expensive here.
AV: Which exhibition did you visit last?
CB: Robert Colescott at Blum and Poe, Austin Lee at Jeffrey Dietch, Pat Phillips at Catinca Tabacaru, Cody Brown at 1969.
AV: What do you hope viewers can take from your paintings?
CB: I want people to feel related to the work almost as if they made it, or could have made it. I want the language to be universal and non exclusive so the narrative is driven by the imagination or experiences of the person looking at the painting.
AV: What does your mum think about your art?
CB: She digs it. Even the penis paintings. She is an incredible human and I owe her everything.
AV: Are you a morning person or a night owl?
AV: Is the glass half empty or half full?
CB: Depends on what were drinking.
AV: What are your plans for the near future?
CB: I really want a sandwich.
© All images are courtesy of the artist