Regional Artist Profile: Casey Thornton

Regional Artist Profile: Casey Thornton

Regional Arts WA


Casey Thornton is a visual artist from Narrogin, who despite these challenging times, is thriving, creating and selling work.

When COVID-19 hit, like many artists, she lost opportunities immediately; however, in the past month she has seen a spike in sales from interstate and overseas collectors keen to buy her work. One piece is currently making its journey to Germany; whilst she works on a painting commission for a collector in Singapore.

Casey is thrilled with this success, as her works have only been up on Bluethumb and Singulart online art galleries for one year!

It has been a big 12 months overall, beginning with an intensive period of creative development resulting in 28 oil paintings and her first solo exhibition at NEXIS Narrogin in May 2019. Casey photographed and framed all paintings herself; and installed the exhibition. She received support and guidance from mentor Karen Keeley and funding through the Next Level program, administered by Regional Arts WA.

Picture by Casey Thornton.

During exhibition development Casey created strong partnerships and networks through Arts Narrogin and Southern Forest Arts (Creative Grid). She worked with Cait Stewart of Arts Narrogin to coordinate the installation and promotion of the exhibition, as well as organising the opening event and volunteer rosters. Over 100 people attended the opening event and more than 400 people enjoyed her exhibition.

Casey was then successful in her competitive application for a supported exhibition at Albany’s Vancouver Arts Centre in early 2020 and developed a new body of work under the continued mentorship of Karen Keeley.

Her paintings have also received recognition in the following 2019 awards: Lethbridge 20,000 Small Scale Art Award Finalist in Brisbane, City of Stirling Art Award Finalist, City of Claremont Art Award Finalist, and runner up in the Northam Art Prize.

She was invited to participate in the Alternative Archive: Common Ground exhibition at NEXIS in Narrogin and her artwork has been selected for the Alternative Archive survey exhibition to be held at John Curtin Gallery, which is now postponed to 2021.

During isolation Casey has been busy working on various projects including 3D printing work for Leonie Rhodes, a Brisbane based sculpture, producing an enlarged reproduction of her Jack Charles bronze sculpture. She has also been developing relationships with online galleries in Australia and overseas and is very excited about finalising her building permit, so she can build her dream new art studio on a 5-acre property on the edge of town.

Over this time, she has focused on skills development in virtual life drawing, and quarantine painting workshops with Robin Eley. She has previously participated in two oil painting intensives with Robin, at The Art Academy in Adelaide prior to COVID-19.

“Somehow, I’ve actually been flat out with other projects during the whole pandemic situation and feel like I could do with some extra time in lockdown to do more painting!”

Oil painting is Casey’s passion. Her visual arts practice has taken many forms; however, she has settled into her role as a representational oil painter. Her primary focus is figurative work though she has been exploring still life and botanical subjects too.

An oil painting created for Thornton's NEXIS exhibition.

Picture by Casey Thornton.

“My recent works draw attention to objects and moments that surround us in the everyday, quietly inviting a moment of pause and consideration that offers a brief respite from a world that’s perpetually ‘switched on’ to technology.”

Casey uses traditional techniques and is influenced by the old masters, as well as various contemporary hyperrealist and representational painters. She is keen to tell contemporary narratives using old school techniques.

Her life has been steeped in art. Growing up she admired her mums love of painting which inspired her to become a painter.

She started taking art more seriously in her last year of high school dabbling in a bit of portraiture. This led on to commission work for local people in town. She entered her work in the Youth Black Swan Portraiture Prize with a pencil drawing of John Butler and won the youth category. It was directly acquired by Princess Margaret Hospital as part of the award.

Casey was able to leverage this and other wins to be awarded a scholarship to enrol in a Bachelor of Fine Art at Curtin University in Perth, where she experimented with a diverse array of mediums including: hand drawn animation, analogue photography, silversmithing and 3D design.

In 2016, after a hiatus in her arts practice, Casey moved back to Narrogin and found the courage to begin painting again. It was then she applied for the Creative Grid Mentorship, and Next Level grant, and started working towards her first solo exhibition.

In Narrogin Casey has found her art tribe. She says organisations like Arts Narrogin are vitally important in becoming the central point of connection for local artists to discover opportunities and each other.

“Moving back to Narrogin has given me the physical and mental space to start creating again. I’ve got room to breathe, I’m not wasting hours of my day stuck in traffic, I’m closer to family, and closer to nature.”

“The real challenge of being an artist lies in seeking out that authentic voice and finding that story that only you can tell.”

Casey has numerous stories to tell and can’t wait to sink her teeth into a secret new body of work soon.

Please contact Casey for any commissions or check out her amazing work on her website or on BlueThumb online gallery. You can also find her on Instagram and Facebook.

You can check out Casey’s work on her website or on BlueThumb. You can also find her on Instagram and Facebook.

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