I met Kerrigan Casey at a wonderful Black History program, Youth Program: Who We Were Then and Who We Are Now, held at the library in Florence, AL. Part of the program, Casey was the ‘live art’ exhibit who was painting/creating, as other folks performed. When I saw the piece she created, I thought, “A young Visionary artist!” I knew I had to meet this young woman, and I thought you should to. – Victorine
Kerrigan Casey is a young artist, 22, who is proudly rooted in Alabama, but with a wave of her creativity, she is transported to wherever her images of African Americans need to be. The youngest of 5, Casey was born in Florence, AL. Other than several years in Birmingham, AL, and a trip to Mississippi, her life has been spent in Florence. She met her interest in art 8 years ago and has been creating poetry, and performing Spoken Word and public speaking in programs like Trail Blazer, and is now painting. “I was into creative writing in high school,” Casey indicates. “I was reading some of my favorite poetry, and my teachers told me I should start doing performance work.” Shonna Beckwith, the director of that Black History event, Youth Program, was one of those teachers.
Casey started painting 2 years ago. “I wanted to express myself in a different way,” Casey affirms. “I ordered a paint kit.” She also “devoured” the work of her neighbor, Lee Murky, who is an illustrator. She was inspired to do “her own thing.” Casey indicates, “I consider myself a visual artist, and I focus on concepts that provoke thought.” Because her work “expresses African American themes,” her images reflect them. Casey is interested in African culture, but asserts, “I was raised in America.” While some of her figures may have head wraps, borrowed from African culture, her work is significantly American.
Inspired by the documentary, What Happened to Nina Simone, and Simone’s song, Four Women, Casey felt compelled to do a series, Four Colored Women. She also found the film, For Colored Girls, inspiring. “I listened to Four Women and I began to channel the theme of the song.” Casey admits, “I paint women a lot.”
Raised by her mother, Mia Roy, her now deceased grandmother, Carrie, and looking up to her aunts, Lula Teresa Addison and Kerri Roy, Casey has “been surrounded by strong and resilient women.” Casey asserts that these women and their strength “make (strength) real and related to me and the things I go through.”
With a day job at Subway, Casey calls herself “a Sandwich Artist.” However, she is moving toward entrepreneurship, with a focus on her artwork. “I would like to do murals and touch art.” She also hopes to learn how to market her artwork and is anticipating attending school to help move her towards her dreams. Casey has a vision, and her artwork defines her strength of purpose.
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Written by Victorine
Publisher, Founder, Editor-in-Chief, Garden Spices Magazine