“I was born in 1951 and raised in the military. Living like gypsies, we moved every few years to a new place or a different country, which formed my lifelong fascination with culture and society and the great gaping differences (and likenesses) between all people, everywhere.
Often isolated from other children, my parents encouraged us to find ways to entertain ourselves, and for me that always meant a creative project…painting or drawing or building something with the junk I scavenged from our transient neighborhood garbage cans. My parents described me as a daydreamer and a tomboy, and struggled to quiet my outspoken opinions.
“I’ve been painting, or making other kinds of art since my childhood, always fitting it into the cracks between working and getting by. I have supported myself mainly by cleaning houses, but have had a varied work life…including bookstore clerk, mall Santa photographer, artist’s model, baker and flea marketeer. I have always kept one foot firmly planted in the real world, and the other foot firmly planted in my dream world. I have been extremely blessed with a vivid imagination, and each of my paintings comes out of an experience or a thought I have had, a person I have known, a place I have seen.
“In 1982 I moved to North Carolina, and began to paint in earnest. Soon after, I found my beloved partner Joe, an oldtime fiddle player, and we have built our lives around this Appalachian community and the music that grew up here, in the foothills. Using salvage materials we began building a house in the early nineties, and continue to work on this lifelong project, establishing gardens and living simply.”
— Tory Casey