BA (Hons) Fine Art
Growing up in a rural area, farmers fields and pockets of woodland were Casper’s stomping ground; their bare, muddy feet invaders of their mothers clean floors. Rolling green-lands that held hidden treasures from the past and present- victorian pottery, stones and snails would begin their habit of collecting. Their imagination would lead them to unusual characters: a garden gnome come to life as a foe that they had to defeat with their ‘helper fairy’… the land seemed to hold endless possibilities.
As Casper grew older and moved to the dull cityscape, where nature is confined to man-made parks and perfectly placed trees, they realised that the magic I had once uncovered outside was not simply imagined. They yearned for this connection, seeking solace in the rugged landscape of the Peaks, finding collaborative, ritual performance an invaluable tool to tap into this wonder.
Their characters, once only imagined as flat illustrations, began to jump off the page and form into costumes which became sculptural once displayed. They where particularly drawn to Pan- the Greek protector of the forest, an outcast for his differences with horns often described as ‘ phallic’. This characterisation allowed them to explore genderless expression, disregarding the societal shame of deviance from the norm, through living in another realm.
Despite being trans-non binary, they also relate politically with femininity and womanhood, as that is how they where socialised and are treated by the majority of society (outside of their queer community). Their research led them to the role artists played in the Witch-hunts, and how their representations of women as dangerous beings with otherworldly powers aided in the murders of countless women. They liken this fear-mongering of church and state to the current political attacks and oppression of trans people. As is with common with political movements of hate, trans people are labelled with characteristics- ‘dangerous’, ‘perverse’, ‘freaks’, not only does this rhetoric cause legislation to be made that stops trans people accessing necessary healthcare and rights- it leads to murder- such as the horrific death of Brianna Ghey. This highlights the importance of representation of queer people, by queer people and their role as an artist in this. They aim to turn this othering on it’s head, hailing queer differences as otherworldly and mystical, not something to fear but to be in awe of.