Streetlight Art | Buzz Blog

Streetlight Art

Chatting about the spraypainted works of Mason Evans and Casey Karren

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One of the coolest things to come out of the graffiti and street art side of the art community is the fact that you're finding more works show up in shops and galleries for sale. It's slowly been bubbling up over time, with names coming and going depending on what they have to offer, but we're seeing much more work like this find a home. Today we're chatting with Mason Evans and Casey Karren, the duo behind Streetlight Art, about their particular works and the inspirations behind their style. (All pictures provided courtesy of Streetlight Art.)

Mason Evans & Casey Karren
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Streetlight Art on Facebook

Gavin: Hey guys, first thing, tell us a little bit about yourselves.

Casey:
My name is Casey Karren, I was born and raised in Salt Lake City, grew up in Holladay. I'm 29 years old; besides art, I’m huge into the outdoors scene. Hiking, biking, climbing and most recently hunting.

Mason: I grew up in New Mexico, and art was always in my blood. My grandfather was an amazing artist and he introduced me to painting when I was very small. I live by the phrase "Keep Moving Forward!"

What first got each of you interested in art and what were your early inspirations?

Casey:
Ever since I can remember, I was always drawing and doodling. My biggest inspiration would have to be my grandpa, [who was] a well-known architect in the early '60s. Some of his work you might be aware of is Friendship Manor, and the clubhouse for Mountain Dell Golf Course. Without him, I wouldn’t be doing what I do today.

Mason: I've always been attracted to all types of artwork. My grandfather was an early inspiration as well as street artists around my neighborhood. I grew up in a place that was ... let's just say, had a lot of "territory artwork." 

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What eventually drew you to street and graffiti art?

Casey:
What drew me to street art is the excitement it gives you, and that lots of people end up seeing your work.

Mason: I just think that street art and graffiti are underestimated forms of art for no reason. I love the fact that even if you tag a stick figure, it's what you perceive. Street art to me is more of a free expression of you.

Did either of you seek out higher education in art, or were you primarily self-taught?

Casey:
Growing up, I was always in some kind of art class, but once I got into high school, I kinda got out of art and wasn’t doing it as much as I use to. For the most part, it’s all self-taught.

Mason:
I took art all through school mainly because it was an easy class, or so I thought. It helped me appreciate what goes into a piece of art. For the past three years, I've been just working with Casey, collaborating in street-style art.

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I read that you're both inspired by Banksy. What specifically about his worked appealed to each of you?

Casey:
Banksy is a huge inspiration to my work. I think it's the messages he does in his [work], allowing him to express what he feels is wrong with the world. He has to be the real reason I wanted to learn stencil-style street art. He doesn't get a lot of credit from the professionally-trained community, which to me is a joke. How can you judge someone's passion? Like my dad told me, "You point a finger at someone and you have three more pointing back at you." Besides, in my opinion, art cannot be taught, art is an expression of one's self.

When did the two of you meet each other and eventually become friends?

Casey:
I meet Mason at work; he was the first person that came up and introduced himself. Ever since then, we’ve been great friends.

Mason: Yeah, we meet at work. I noticed he was one of the only guys around that had sleeved tattoos like me, so we hit it off real quick. You're my boy blue!

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How did the idea to start your own art project as a duo come about, and why Streetlight Art for the name?

Mason: 
We came up with Streetlight Art, because when your out doing a piece in public you're under the street lights. As far as throwing this project together, we wanted to do something that could change the world and hopefully one day not have to work for the man!

What's it like for each of you to come up with new ideas?

Casey:
As for new ideas, they just start up or I might see something that catches my eye or a hot topic happening in the news. But for the most part, it's a client-based idea, someone with an idea that they want ill put on canvas

Mason: I like to put on some music and get in the zone that way. Music is another art form that helps me get ideas. Also, I like to ask friends what they would like to see painted. You can get a lot of help if you ask

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How much of your work is planned, and how much is total experimentation?

Casey:
I’d say 80% of my work is planned—the ideas come from clients that want work done—and the other 20% is experimental.

What kind of materials and paints do you usually use in your works?

Casey: 
Canvas boards is my main material. However, it depends on the customer. And for paints, we all have what we like. For me, it’s Ironlak!

Mason: I used canvas and hard boards. I mostly use spraypaint, but I also like to use acrylics to give the painting a little dimension. I love to use Ironlak or Montana cans!

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What has been people's reactions to your art and what do you think of it?

Casey:
Everyone that I’ve done work for absolutely loves the work, and it’s hard to not judge yourself.

Mason: All the reactions have been very supportive. I love to paint so it's a good feeling when someone appreciates it as much as I do.

How do you go about deciding where you'll display your pieces that you don't sell?

Mason:
We’ve made a website or you can find us on Facebook! It's really through word of mouth. People can find our work through Facebook, and we also have a web page that is under construction.

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I know you've had your work displayed in Dillard's up in Ogden. Where can people find your work for sale?

Casey:
For anyone that is wanting to get work done they can contact us through Facebook or through email at caseykarren9@gmail.com or masondevans@yahoo.com.

What would you like people to take away from your artwork?

Mason:
We want that person to know that the art we did for them means a lot to us, as it does for them! We really jut love doing this for the love of art. It is not our full-time job, as we wouldn't mind painting all day. We just really want people to look at our work and see the passion.

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What can we expect from both of you and Streetlight Art over the rest of 2016?

Casey:
What you can expect from us is that the art you get is 100% original. Also, getting into the art scene. We would like to participate and get our work out during events and different things happening around Salt Lake. We also want to use our artwork to help the community by donating what we can to different charities around the Wasatch Front.

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