An Interview with Casey Childs

Casey Childs (b. 1974) Self Portrait (2014) Oil. 

Casey Childs (b. 1974) Self Portrait (2014) Oil. 

...the idea at the top of my head right now is to paint the scene when Joseph Smith is leaving the field after being visited by Moroni...

>I was born and raised in Northern Wyoming. I grew up in a small town near the Montana border name Lovell, WY. I was always known as the "artist" to all my friends and classmates growing up, but it wasn't until college that I knew I wanted to be a painter. My family was a big part of my development as an artist. My parents were very supportive and my older brothers really like to draw. Looking back, it became sort of a competition to see if I could draw as well as them.

Casey Childs (b.1974) Greater Love Hath No Man (2010-14) Oil. 60 x 96 in. Church History Museum, Salt Lake City

Casey Childs (b.1974) Greater Love Hath No Man (2010-14) Oil. 60 x 96 in. Church History Museum, Salt Lake City

>Probably my biggest influence was my art professor in college, John Giarrizzo, he inspired me to study figurative painting. Without his influence I wouldn't be where I'm at today. I studied at Northwest College in Wyoming, then finished my bachelors degree at BYU. I apprenticed with William Whitaker for two years. Since then, I've studied the works of old masters, as well as my peers, to develop my skills as an artist.

Casey Childs (b. 1974) Head of John Taylor, Study for Greater Love Hath No Man (c. 2010)

Casey Childs (b. 1974) Head of John Taylor, Study for Greater Love Hath No Man (c. 2010)

>The list of artists that influence me seems to grow, but one of my earliest influences is Caravaggio. The way he designed a painting with light is magical. And John Singer Sargent is another. His bold, confident, yet controlled brushwork is inspiring.

>I've always been interested in painting people. So, that hasn't changed.

>My ability and craft has improved immensely. I was no prodigy.

>I mainly work in charcoal and oils. I've always maintained the idea that if I use the very best materials, not only will it make my job easier but the end result will be even better. I use the best brushes and handmade paints, as well as the highest quality linen and papers.

 

Casey Childs (b. 1974) Ivan (2015) Charcoal on paper. 13 x 9 1/2 in.

Casey Childs (b. 1974) Ivan (2015) Charcoal on paper. 13 x 9 1/2 in.

>My work develops very organically. Sometimes a painting will start with a simple concept and develop into something completely different than that initial idea. And other times I'll follow that idea all the way to completion. It's all based on developing a strong composition. I start with sketches and studies to work out the idea and composition. Then bring in models to get photographic reference to develop the idea further. Sometimes I'll do a quick color study for color harmonies then on to painting the final canvas. Beginning is always the easiest because I'm so excited to get the idea on canvas. The finish is the hardest because that initial excitement has worn off and now is the struggle to solve all the problems I've come across as I've developed the work and staying motivated to see it through. (Go here to see a video on Casey Childs' process for painting Greater Love Hath No Man, above.)

>I work under natural northern daylight so I try to take advantage of when I have light. I'm in the studio by 9am, break briefly for lunch, then work until I run out of light. Sometimes I will work on drawings or clerical work at night, but usually that time after dark is spent with family. Scale is definitely something I've learned to consider which I never thought about early on in my career. The size of the work can be a factor whether is sells or not. Price is always associated with scale as well as the amount of wall space a collector has.

Casey Childs (b. 1974) Sanguine (2015) Oil on linen. 18 x 14 in.

Casey Childs (b. 1974) Sanguine (2015) Oil on linen. 18 x 14 in.

>My advice to young artists is there's no secret. Just hard work. Just like anything you want to do well, it requires many, many hours of practice. A lot of amateurs will take workshops and classes to learn the quick secret to great painting only to realize that the instructor's secret is no secret at all but many years of developing their skill. Its tough to say who my typical viewer is. I guess its anyone who truly understands the craft of painting. Ideally, I'd be honored to see my work hanging among the work of artists I admire. Although making a living as an artist is always difficult, to be able to create something meaningful that has the ability to inspire others is the best part about being an artist.

>I have a few ideas for church history paintings I'd like to create... the idea at the top of my head right now is to paint the scene when Joseph Smith is leaving the field after being visited by Moroni the night before and falls to the ground out of exhaustion when climbing the fence and is visited by Moroni once again. I don't think that scene has been portrayed well or accurately.

>Who are the artists you most admire, dead or alive? Oh there's so many. Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Waterhouse, John Singer Sargent, Thayer, Sorolla, Zorn

>A hundred years from now, how do you want your art to be remembered? That it's painted well enough that people still want to look at it.

Online: caseychilds.com

Instagram: @caseychildsart

Email: casey@caseychilds.com