We had the good fortune of connecting with Kade O’Casey and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kade, why did you pursue a creative career?
I have incredible support from my mother and father who saw my passion in the arts at a very young age, and allowed me to pursue that passion to any end. In my youth I obsessively drew and painted. I filled countless sketchbooks while half-absorbed in the fantasies of 90’s cartoons, fighting video games, trading card games, and Dungeons and Dragons. Each of these influences engaged with me beyond the screen. I was in tournaments competing with my Magic cards, trading monsters with my friends, writing complex narrative structures to impress my peers, sketching my own creations that would one day be captured and coveted by others. Reflecting on this now, beyond any individual media influence, the true spark that started my journey was discovering what was possible with effective illustration and graphic design. and that all was fully utilized once I learned to use Adobe photoshop at the age of 12. Ever since, I’ve been on a path to create my own worlds, and brighten the worlds of those around me.Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My illustrations are most known for expressive color and spontaneous mark-making. I seek to mesmerize the audience with a combination of symbols, figures, and atmosphere. I try to glamorize a moment that can move in the mind of the viewer days or weeks after they viewed it. I love this aspect of illustration and design, but my journey has not been easy. After school I was incredibly hard on myself for not achieving the big leagues like some of my peers (Hello, imposter syndrome!) I could not understand why there were not steady AAA dream jobs lining up for a great catch like me. I quickly had to reset my expectations and adopt a beginners mindset again. This was only the beginning. In school I had very little graphic design training compared to my time focused on illustration and painting classes. This was a very large gap for me as I entered the market. I struggled with typography, logo design, and print production as soon as I landed my first few design jobs, but I learned quickly with the mentorship of the owners of Duncan & Day Advertising in Plano, TX, who gave me my first shot. Soon after that I moved to Colorado and began working as a print production artist designing wrestling singlets. I always loved creating superheroes, so this seemed like an interesting fit. I happened to leave that job after a week without pay due to some homophobic comments. This wasn’t the Colorado welcome I had hoped for. The day I left, I got a call from a training company who responded to a resume I had submitted a week before. I interviewed the next day and have been a graphic designer at Scaled Agile ever since. We produce trainings, e-Learnings, presentations, and tools for businesses to achieve greater business results on a variety of topics. Working at Scaled Agile allows me to pick up paining and illustration again, as well as a framework to become a better professional/designer. Here, I’ve crossed major gaps in my capabilities, and am now more enterprising and entrepreneurial than ever. Now that I’m back in Texas I work remotely from my new studio. Here I am able to manage moderate isolation in the pandemic and conspire to conquer the world one design challenge at time.If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Ha! if these were normal times I would LOVE to go dance in Oak Lawn in Dallas. See you cowboys at the Roundup!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I must give a shout out to my wonderful friends and family that continue inspire me even when we are worlds apart. I’d like to give a particular shoutout to my wonderful husband Ethan, who has been my hero and companion while I found my footing as a professional. I absolutely could not have done this without you!
Artwork – Kade O’Casey, Headshot and portrait photography – Kim Boden