9 inches tall
"As a general rule I think artists should be exempt from defining or explaining their work. The best art, in my opinion, generates an intriguing open-ended narrative where the viewer brings his or her perception to the art. A dialogue begins between the artist and viewer through the art. Many artists "speak" visually without the need of a literal interpretation. So when I am asked "What is it about?", as the artist, I can ask the viewer the same question.
Okay, all that blibitty-blab aside, I do occasionally make a piece that has some literal meaning to me. One such piece is the Beantown Boy. This little feller is a self portrait of my formative Boston years. A nice thing about relocating across country is that you have the opportunity to remake yourself and discard (or at least attempt to) some old bad habits. Check out his dim-witted expression, his lifeless, shark-like eyes, and his devil-may-care footwear. These features, combined with his arms replaced with decapitated heads (victims of his callous nature), represents a careless, selfish, damaged, oaf. The Claddagh marks him as a townie and provides him with at least the idea of having functioning hands and a faded heart of gold.
Now I know this character is an extreme personal stereotype, and I was never this guy in all his glory, but he is a sort of exorcism, a talisman formed by all of the things I never liked about myself. The demon I've tried to leave behind. It's certainly not meant to dis Boston or it's inhabitants. I actually miss that town and my friends living there. I have fond memories of the place (violins swell). As with many of my works, if I can distill a perceived state of being into a physical piece of art, I can take control of that perception and recognize it for it's absurdity.
I don't expect anyone to "get" this piece. My Boston friends recognize the Claddagh and bring their experience with that symbol to the work. Others are disturbed by the heads or the wet, drooling mouth. Most folks laugh, which is very good, because it is an absurd piece."
by John Casey