We had the good fortune of connecting with Kasey Nauton and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kasey, what role has risk played in your life or career?
You gotta risk it to get the biscuit, right? An ounce of bravery (or stupidity) can go long way. Even the act of taking a risk itself feels like it gives me special powers. I think luck might be a universal force, an angel who favors those who strive. For me taking a risk is always a win-win; either I am rewarded for my pain with a victory or a lesson. Tempt your fate and see how generously you are paid back. Sit around in indecision and watch your energy fade. I’ve always chosen to bet on myself, and then double down. Each work I create is a risk, an emotional and physical effort that drains me, but the risk must be taken if I want to hold a new work in my hands. I moved into my first studio a week before I finished art school, two months into the pandemic. I took a shot when the ground was shaking beneath me, and have been rewarded with joyous adventure and a series of lessons from the school of hard knocks. Roll the dice baby.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My first focus is to be as human as possible. Accept that I’m imperfect, that I don’t understand everything. Lately I have become obsessed with boxing, with the performance, the confidence, the dance of fight promotion and fighter personas. I’ve been painting, exploring new techniques, and going for long walks to get lost. I have been creating work about luck, about breaking and bending the rules, about advertising. For my most recent painting I recreated a Marlboro advertisement that was placed on F1 Ferrari’s after cigarette ads were banned from the sport. The barcode was painted in the same spot as the old logo, designed to blur when the car was in motion, subliminally tricking the audience into seeing the Marlboro logo. Much of my work is about the fundamentals; sex, money, peace, war, and happiness.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
One of my favorite things about San Diego are the museums and galleries, so I’d recommend visiting Balboa Park for the San Diego Museum of Art, the Mingei, and the Museum of Photography. If there’s a show at Swish Projects in North Park that’s a must see. Stop at any taco truck and you won’t be disappointed. If you want something fancy with a view I’d recommend Peohe’s in Coronado, also a great place for a stroll on the beach. Can’t go wrong with vintage shopping at La Loupe on Adams. Really, just get lost in the city! Off the beaten path is where you’ll find something special.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
First off I want to thank my studio partner Kieran Miles, I wouldn’t be here today without his example to follow. He’s shown me what persistence really means. Community is so important, and I’ve found a special one here on El Cajon Boulevard. Our neighbors Mark at Happy Battle Surf Co. and Dani at Department have been incredible mentors, great sources of guidance and inspiration for me. I also wouldn’t have been able to pursue this career without the support and love of my family, my parents and my brothers Kurt and Jace. A few books I’ve read lately that changed my life are The War of Art by Steven Pressfield, The Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi, and King of the World, David Remnick’s biography of the greatest American, Muhammad Ali.