Monday, January 24, 2011

In Loving Memory of Andy Casali III

Manatee Epic (for Andy Casali) inks on bristol / 2011
The arts and tattoo worlds lost a prince last weekend with the passing of Mr. Andy Casali.  Andy popped into my life about seven years ago.  Since then, we've traded art, exhibited art together, and of course, I had the displeasure of him drilling ink into my flesh on several occasions (the man was a sadist and loved his work.)  Casali was one of the funniest people I've ever met and we'd have to pause during our tattoo sessions for bouts of immense cackling.  Andy made me cry not in pain but with joy and laughter.    I was compelled to create an illustration for him in his wake and here it is for your viewing pleasure.

The manatee was a source of inside humor between Andy and myself.  There were a few stories based on manatee tattoos and we'd often joke about coming up with the most ridiculous ideas for such a tattoo that we could think of.  The imagery along the left side of the work begins with the great mother of creation at the bottom with a Dali-esque door coming from her (which is an element of the surrealist artist's work we both admired and Andy had tattooed a few times.)  The figure standing on the books in "ascension" is Casali himself with the mismatched socks only he could pull off.  Andy obsessively included the number 4 in his work, the reason behind it on the manatee's chest. All of these things will always make me think of my friend and fellow artist.  A common theme we shared was the idea of the light bulb in our work- rendering the inspired moment.  This piece will join my series of light bulb and lampshade-headed figures entitled Random Acts of Vibrance which I'm currently working on. 

Two of my tattoos from Andy (Left: Hurdy Gurdy Man holding my brushes in place / 2006) (Right: Buddha in a Flying Light Bulb / 2008)

And here is the process video of The Manatee Epic...


UPDATE 01/15/2012

Today is the one year anniversary of Andy's passing and I was compelled to translate an image I've had bouncing around in my head for the past several months.  Here is my portrait of Andy Casali III In Memoriam...

Inks on Bristol / 2012


  1. What a tremendous loss! I hate that I never got to meet the guy. He was obviously one of a kind.

  2. That he was Su... the broke the mold when Casali was made. We are all devastated by the loss but will keep him alive with countless hilarious and absurd stories along with a plethora of fantastic and inspiring art.

  3. Amazing...

  4. Glad you think so Ash! I think Andy would like it.

  5. really miss andy,,,i apprenticed under him...he's the reason im in the position im in now.....ill never forget him......since the loss ..every painting i complete has the number 4 in memorance of andy...almost cried wen i finished a portrait today,,,,,wudnt be able without him naggin me for much love


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