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Casey Roonan

Teaching Artist
Cartoonist & Comics Artist

♪ Casey’s Studio Playlist ♪

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Artist Statement
“I am a freelance illustrator and cartoonist living in Providence. I teach at the RISD Pre-College Program, and I also work as a Contributing Illustrator for the blog Narratively. I design for bands associated with the recording studio and music collective Mama Coco’s Funky Kitchen, among other clients. I write and edit an anthology-format comic book called Ciambella with Mike Karpiel. I love cartooning because it’s an extremely direct form of storytelling; you don’t need a staff of people to make a comic book, but the immediacy of the medium as a visual language also lends itself extremely well to collaboration.

At an early age I began stapling pages of blank printer paper together into little booklets, in which I started comic stories I never finished. However, by high school, I stopped trying to draw comics seriously because it seemed like an embarrassing thing to do. I kept reading comics, but my art teachers didn’t encourage my interest in creating them.

After taking a comics class my freshman year of art school, I decided to major in Illustration. The creative process can be isolating at times, which is why I began my collaborative comic book Ciambella, which allows me to work with my friends and recapture some of that creative community I valued so much in art school. It’s the same reason I’m so excited to be here on Art Prof.”

Related:  Chris Ware’s  Jimmy Corrigan the Smartest Kid on Earth, The Whitney Biennial, The Whitney Museum

Video transcript

“Hi I’m Casey. I’m a freelance illustrator and a comics artist. So when I was a kid, I used to draw comics all the time, but you know, I’m not sure that I would of ever realized that that was something I could do for a living.

My parents used to take me to museums all the time when I was a kid. Growing up, they took me and my brother to The Whitney Biennial.  They pinned up on the walls pages from Chris Ware’s Jimmy Corrigan’s The Smartest Kid on Earth and it was a museum, a respectable like fine art museum and that blew my mind. Ever since then I’ve wanted to do that, wanting to make cool, respectable, intelligent Comics.

My art teachers were great in a lot of ways, but they are always kind of very focused on the fine arts angle, and weren’t overly open to what I was interested in, which was drawing comic.   So I felt like comics weren’t seen as a legitimate art form, and that was really discouraging to me.

The thing I think is great about Art Prof is that it is such an inclusive art community, and that we deal with all kinds of different art from different disciplines, and different media, and really give it the attention and appreciation it deserves. And by looking at all of it was the same critical eye, but also taking into account the purpose of each individual media.

Being a TA is great because it allows me the opportunity to spend even more of my time just thinking about art. And now I at least get to share it with someone instead of just directing it at my cat.”

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