Designer of the Day: Autumn Casey – SURFACE

Source Credit:  Content and images from Surface Magazine by .  Read the original article - https://www.surfacemag.com/articles/autumn-casey-designer-day/

Here, we ask designers to take a selfie and give us an inside look at their life.

Age: 36

Occupation: Artist and lamp-maker.

Instagram: @freaky_friday_fragile

Hometown: West Palm Beach, Florida.

Studio location: Miami.

Describe what you make: I always tell people I make lamps, but they’re more like sculptures. You could call them illuminated sculptures. Every piece is a one-of-a-kind functional work of art that brings light to people. I’ve been developing my material process to create my own versions of “Tiffany” lamps. I combine a series of welding steel, shaping wire, layering plaster, and epoxy clay to essentially create a canvas to paint and further layer with fabric and resin. The resin intermingles with the fabric to give an illusion of stained glass. They are brutal and heavy yet appear fragile. I also take inspiration from animals—last year I made a sloth, a turtle, two flamingos, and a giant pair of swans that now reside in the sculpture garden at The Future Perfect in Los Angeles. 

The most important thing you’ve designed to date: This is a hard question because it’s not just one thing that’s important, but the entire trajectory. Through every action, object, movement, material, project, and life experience, it all continues to inform the next action, object, etc. It’s all one big never-ending learning process with a lot of luck and chance involved. The key is to keep working and eventually everything becomes the most important thing because you’ve built your entire life around it until that point. That’s why usually I’m most excited about whatever I’m currently working on because it always feels the most urgent. 

Describe the problem your work solves: I guess it could solve the problem of a boring space! I want my work to inject life or an energy of humor, tenderness, fantasy, humility, and play into any space they go. They can become like a friend in the corner to witness and add comfort to your life. My work is easy to live with and use on a daily basis. In today’s busy and ferocious world, a moment of quiet contemplation to simply bask in the beautiful glow of one of my lamps for a moment could be useful. 

Describe the project you are working on now: I’m working on this thing called life! I’m always busy creating in my studio, which is currently in my living room so creating a work/life balance has been interesting. It seems like I just never stop working because it has become rather seamless from everyday chores of cleaning, preparing food, and exercise. My studio practice is my entire life. I’m working my way back towards getting into a larger, more traditional studio space but think I’ll always have to keep a weirdo corner in the house for myself somewhere. 

I’m also currently making an oversized table lamp inspired by a local tree some friends of mine affectionately refer to as “Queen Broccoli.” She lives on a golf course and is totally magnanimous. I had just finished designing my new collection based on classic Tiffany designs, so I was excited to let loose and have this explosion of more organic forms just for the sake of freedom. I was so inspired by the form I decided to not limit the color palette either and it has resulted in pastel confetti, but who knows—maybe it’ll end up green after all. 

A new or forthcoming project we should know about: My solo presentation “Fantasy and her Fantasies” opened yesterday at The Future Perfect in their New York location. I’m so excited to share this body of work with the world. I spent almost all last year creating these seven new sculptural lights inspired by classic Tiffany designs like “Apple Blossoms” and “Wisteria” and others I found online. I’ve always thought of the domestic space as a place for and of fantasy. It’s where we can create our own world by what ephemera we choose to surround ourselves. The title of my show comes from a line from the 1977 movie House by Nobuhiko Obayashi. It’s a story where a supernatural house devours a group of schoolgirls one by one. I don’t think my lamps will eat you but they do feel like they might get up and walk away. 

What you absolutely must have in your studio: I’m a romantic when it comes to the studio.  I go through different seasons of things that accompany me. I always have a candle burning. I enjoy working in silence but when I get sick of my own thoughts, I like to consume a lot of material audibly. Listening to music or a movie soundtrack is my favorite to allow my mind to step aside and I am more able to intuitively act and find my flow. Some classic favorites are Romeo + Juliet (Baz Luhrmann, 1996), Almost Famous (Cameron Crowe, 2000), and Titanic (James Cameron, 1997). 

What you do when you’re not working: If I manage to escape my own swirl, it’s usually to go swim at the beach or see what I can find at the thrift stores. Living in south Florida has both the perks of amazing thrift stores and the privilege to spend a lot of time outdoors year round. My favorite thing to do is walk to the grocery store every morning and look at all the beautiful trees in my neighborhood. 

Sources of creative envy: My foundational art mothers would be Niki de Saint Phalle, Ree Morton, Mierle Laderman Ukeles, Agnes Denes, and Cecilia Vicuña, among so many others. I love these women for their uncompromising vision and dedication to their craft and lives. 

The distraction you want to eliminate: The ever-present phone/social media can be a huge distraction. I actually have a phone vortex. It’s a beautifully bedazzled fur-lined box made for me by my friend Alice. I put the phone in there when I find myself on my phone too much and to try to forget about it and just focus on the work. Also, negative thoughts! Imposter syndrome is real and sometimes the thoughts that everything is going to fall apart start to creep in. I have to remind myself to not listen to those voices—just believe and keep going. 

Concrete or marble? Concrete.

High-rise or townhouse? Townhouse.

Remember or forget? Remember.

Aliens or ghosts? Same thing.

Dark or light? Light.

Portrait by Vanessa Diaz.

Source Credit:  Content and images from Surface Magazine by .  Read the original article - https://www.surfacemag.com/articles/autumn-casey-designer-day/