Interview By:Michael Williams
Insightful, visceral, and incredibly comfortable within his own identity, Casey Spooner is a man for our times. Imagista fired off a round of questions to the enigmatic and charismatic artist, musician, and performer. We’re inspired by what came back.
Imagista: In today’s social media and youth obsessed culture how do you maintain integrity within your music and your brand?
Casey Spooner: I trust my instincts. I’m a very intuitive person and I usually have a strong sense of the zeitgeist. I can feel what’s coming on a ground level. Also I don’t worry too much about what people think. I just explore my desires and interests. I have a process and perspective that allows me to think very freely. It’s kind of a habit I can’t break. I’m addicted to ideas. It keeps me aware of what’s happening but not mired in trend. Capitalism has always been preoccupied with youth culture. There’s nothing new about the idea of “new”and “youth”. I didn’t find success until I was a little older. I didn’t start working in commercial entertainment until I was over 30 years old. My maturity has always allowed me a kind of distance that lets me participate and critique simultaneously. Not always an easy balance to strike. But it’s a fun challenge.
Imagista: How has social media impacted your personality as an artist and your approach to your work?
CS: I’ve used social media recently to change my image. When I start working on a new album I think about creating a character. He is an amplified version of myself. He is me and he is not me. He is an excuse to explore self and destroy self. My new image happened very organically and started with a photo that Yuki James took of me. At the time I was in a play with The Wooster Group called Cry, Trojans. I played a Trojan general who was being held captive. I was on stage for 2 hours and wore very little clothing. I trained hard and thought of my body as a sculpture and a narrative device. Yuki asked me to shoot naked and in my own home during the run of this show. I had never really been photographed nude and I never allowed anyone to shoot in my home. I always kept my personal space and my personal image private. I loved dressing in extreme costume for Fischerspooner as it kept me unrecognizable.
The portrait that Yuki took felt like a clue and was the first step towards the person you see on camera now. I’ve shed the arty fashion and stripped myself to the core. A timeless male figure. Natural. Emotional. Sexual.
Imagista: Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?
CS: I really have no idea! I’m terrible at that kind of thinking. I really go from project to project. My job as an artist feels endless. Sometimes this is liberating, as I have a huge pursuit that fills my life but it can also feel daunting. I’m actually a very simple person. I love being creative and making things. As long as I am creative I am happy. I see myself as being productive and happy in 5 years and forever.
Imagista: What were your influences growing up?
CS: I grew up in The South and far away from any high culture. My mother was my art teacher and encouraged free thinking. My father was very charismatic and an entertainer. I always had a lust for pop culture and worshiped magazines. They were my only window into an outside world. I spent most of my time outdoors, alone with my dog. These things kinda define me. I’m a loner and an outsider who loves high culture with a nice dog (man).
Imagista: Who or what are your influences now and have they changed at all over the years and in what way?
CS: My biggest influence in the recent past has been Michael Stipe. He stepped in as producer on the new Fischerspooner album and he reinvented our songwriting process. He has radically shifted my relationship to words and singing. He has connected me to emotion in art and ways I never imagined. It’s very exciting when someone whom you have had a friendship with for 27 years becomes a part oyour creative process. It is intensely intimate and powerful. He set me on a course when I was 18 years old and searching for my sexual and artistic identity. He’s returned when I am 45 years old and shown me great beauty and given me confidence to charge forward with my dreams.
Imagista: What serves as inspiration for you?
CS: LIFE! Life is a bitch. Life is amazing. Just living and getting through this life is all I need. It’s taken me so high and it’s taken me so low. I keep thinking I’ve got it all figured out and then she surprises me. Sometimes all I need is a good cup of coffee and the sun. Sometimes all I need is a good fuck and a burger. Life is cruel and fantastic. Huge and small. My heart aches and sails everyday.
Imagista: How has the political current and mood of the country affected you as a person and as an artist? Are you hopeful?
CS: AGGRESSIVELY HOMOSEXUAL! I’m pissed off. I’m disappointed. I’m taking action. I’m not mincing my words. I’m not playing nice. I’m not hiding anything. I’m gonna be as flamboyant and as visible as I can be. I’m not holding back. I have a mandate to be an amazing FAGGOT right NOW. I’m gonna make sure that the kids stuck in the middle of nowhere have a beacon of hope. I was raised surrounded by racists, misogynists, islamophobes, homophobes, etc. etc. etc… Shameless visibility is my form of action and I just made the gayest record ever called SIR.
Vintage Brown & White Loafers – Prada
(Left) White Cotton Blend Jumpsuit – Issey Miyake || (Right) Wool Trench w/ PVC paneling – COMME des GARÇONS // Black Woven Shorts – COMME des GARÇONS
Vintage Light Wool Double Breasted Coat w/ attached Creme Light Wool Scarf – Yohji Yamamoto // Black Leather Lace Up Dress Shoes – VK Nagrani
(Left) Black Wool Shorts – COMME des GARÇONS || (Right) Navy Cotton Suit – VK Nagrani
(Left) Navy Double Breasted Jacket – VK Nagrani // White Tab Front Cotton Trousers – 3.1 Phillip Lim || (Right) Sparkle Sunglasses – Zegna