Alberto Casais is a self-taught artist who was born and raised in Bayonne, New Jersey. His day job is as a tattoo artist, but he paints at home every day -- he assures me even on Christmas! -- and is inspired by the daily sounds and sights of his surroundings. It's this daily drive to make that adds to the visceral, gestural characteristic of his paintings, which sometimes include found objects like envelopes or pieces of textile. And while he has been painting regularly for a few decades now, he has only just begun to start showing his work. That paint is thick and rich enough to want to just dig your hands into it!
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YS: What first interested you in art-making or painting?
AC: I have been doing it as long as I can remember.
I'm really drawn to the raw, visceral quality of your paintings, especially the physicality it takes on because it's applied so thickly. And also your choices of other media as well, like textile. How do you get started on a piece?
I just grab whatever is laying around the studio and mess around with it until something starts to happen. Occasionally I find objects on the street that inspire a work. Sometimes I pick up several items and work on different projects simultaneously.
What is your studio like? How much time do you typically spend there every day?
I have a studio in my home. I also paint in a corner of my uncle's taxi stand in Yonkers. I paint every day. It varies.
You mentioned that you've been painting since the 1980s but just started recently showing your work. What prompted that leap?
I have been inspired by many of the young, emerging artists in NYC. It seems like there is a new wave of talent and they recharging the language of art. It reminds me of the creative burst of the 80's NYC scene.
What do you feel is the toughest or most challenging aspect of being an artist (professionally, creatively, etc.)?
That's a tough question because I don't find it challenging. I do it for myself. I don't feel any pressure from the outside. If anything, I create my own pressure to make something new.
What is the best piece of advice you've ever gotten?
Be here now.
What do you consider to be your biggest accomplishment or moment of triumph as an artist?
I don't know, I just feel lucky that I get to paint everyday.
If you could meet up for coffee or a beer with anyone and chat about anything at all, who would it be and what would you want to talk about?
Charles Schulz. Peanuts.
Do you have any upcoming exhibitions or projects?
I am part of the group show: Smart Dust at SLA 307, NYC, December 9, 2016-January 7, 2017
Petit a group exhibition of smaller art at Emerge Gallery in Saugerties, NY November 4-28, 2016
Anything else you would like to add?
Please be kind to animals.
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Find more at albertocasais.com!