City: San Francisco, California

Passion: Painting


Kickstarter: Look and C

Blindfolded she paints. Fully she lives. Passionately she laughs. Intensely she walks. Warmly she embraces. Casey O'Connell is an inspiration to any human being - no matter what their passion is. She turned suffering and rejection into the most beautiful art; despite all the hurdles, she paints, paints and paints. And during the 2 hour interview, she started a piece from scratch, inspired by our presence, her words. What I still remember is how we left: we left in awe of art and creation. And infatuated with her cat Bill Murray. The big news is that you will get to experience what we experienced. Casey is raising money to paint for a full-year in a storefront - bringing her world.. to the world.  

On Passion

As a little girl, I worshiped my grandmother, Wilma Genevieve Crane Birdsall aka Pardy. She was the most spectacular woman, always dripping in exquisite jewelry with a super sly sailor’s mouth. She ate cake for breakfast and painted ladies with bad hairdos and missing nipples in the afternoon. I loved watching her paint. When she passed away, I had a really difficult time processing the loss. Painting became a safe place to stay connected. Twenty two years later, I can still smell her perfume when I paint.

On Mastery

I hone my painting skills by painting every day. I hone my creativity by breaking down homemade walls. Chasing thoughts. staring. Asking why. Exploring inside just as much as out. Saying yes. Saying no. Trying to never hold onto any person, place or thing too tightly.

On Transition

I had a difficult time letting go of the criticism I received my last year of college. I didn’t really pick up a paintbrush for three years - instead, I traveled the world doing seasonal work. It wasn’t until I was living in New Zealand and a friend asked me to paint his skis that I realized how far from my path I had strayed. A few days later, I left my job as a lift operator and started my journey home.

On Failure

I have Samuel Beckett’s words, ‘Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.’ Scribbled on my heart.

On Fear

Fear is the difference between surviving and living. It is whatever stops me from trusting my gut instinct.

On Money

When I first started painting full time, I lived in a studio with no kitchen and no bathroom door. I slept on half of a broken futon and lived off whatever Campbell’s soup was on sale at the Safeway by my house. Looking back, it was far from ideal but at the time I wouldn’t have traded it for anything in the world. I was “officially” doing what I loved for a living! I consider it a huge gift to really know in my heart that no matter what happens, be it starving or eating pancakes with Bill Murray, I will always be painting.

On Self-Love

I have worked my ass off to accept and love myself. I take time to check in with my head and my heart every day. I am constantly processing what I take in and what I give out. I take great pleasure in pausing.

On Inspiration

I’m most inspired by my grandmother, and my guardians mama wolf and baby fox.

On Support

I think pedestals are dangerous. It takes a village.

Advice to the Community

‘Listen to the mustn’ts, child,
Listen to the don’ts
Listen to the shouldn’ts
The impossibles, the won’ts
Listen to the never haves
Then listen close to me-
Anything can happen, child,
Anything can be.’
- Shel Silverstein