Art

Casey James: Hides and Go Seek

It’s that sugarcoated reality we feed to children while simultaneously trying to teach them life lessons, in a really dark way.

Story by Teo J. Babini - teo@citizenbrooklyn.com Photos by Icarus Blake Video by Citizen Brooklyn
Photo © Icarus Blake

Photo © Icarus Blake

Casey James’s “Hides” pieces play with the idea of the loss of childhood innocence. Animal centric fairy tales printed on animal hides that are dyed inviting colors like the colored blocks you give to infants. It’s that sugarcoated reality we feed to children while simultaneously trying to teach them life lessons, in a really dark way.

He mentioned that many of those old fairytales have an underlying political message, kind of like Orwell’s “Animal Farm”, but for kids. But I think it’s even more twisted that we grow up singing “Ring Around the Rosie” and then come to find out a little later that it’s about the plague (Do kids still sing that song?).

Photo © Icarus Blake

Photo © Icarus Blake

I dunno, I think the youth of today are fed their bullshit in a very different way, the reality TV syndrome. They grow up fast because they are exposed beyond their years in an attempt to better prepare them for a world with the internet where they can find everything anyway (RIP Tooth Fairy), or because some executive knows that kids want what they can’t have, so they market lingerie to little girls and guns to little boys. Not that that’s new, they used to do that with cigarettes when I was a youngster.

When I was a wee lad we caught our dose of reality in a different way, a more imaginative one. I think “Hides” speaks more to my generation. I mean, consider how violent and “edgy” the old Warner Bros. cartoons were. Even the Disney movies I grew up with dealt with serious death. “Bambi”? “Lion King”? That’s some heavy shit for a sprat to be watching, and some of those scenes are real horror show. “Aladdin” and “Cinderella” are wealth distribution. “Toy Story” basically has a PG rated torture scene.

Photo © Icarus Blake

Photo © Icarus Blake

In the end, I think it’s important not to shelter the youngins, but “Hides” harkens back to a time when we were raised on something a bit more subtle, creative and artistic; instead of pumping out little Mileys and Biebers who have such a shallow view of the world, I sometimes worry what the future will hold. Until then, I’ll just keep forcing my little sister to listen to The Beatles to try and maintain some semblance of balance in the world.

For more info on Casey James, check out his website here: http://www.casejames.com

Art © Casey James

Art © Casey James

Art © Casey James

Art © Casey James

Art © Casey James

Art © Casey James

Art © Casey James

Art © Casey James

Art © Casey James

Art © Casey James

Art © Casey James

Art © Casey James

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