G09: Mandi Caskey

Being the Outcast: Turning Loneliness & Loss into a Better Community | with Mandi Caskey

Mandi Caskey is a muralist, gallery artist, and community activist. In 2016, the creation of a mural in the Rhodes State Office tower gave Caskey the official position as the state of Ohio’s first artist in residence. The painting now overlooks the city of Columbus as a permanent installation.

Mandi grew up as part of a middle-class midwestern family in Lima, Ohio. She spent a lot of time being watched by her grandma, who was a major creative influence in her life and instilled an interest in making things from very early on. But, growing up in a small town, being the eccentric artist didn’t make Mandi a lot of friends. She was a loner, and being able to paint her own worlds was something that inspired and attracted her.

The story Mandi shares is a lesson for all who consider themselves outcasts or loners; a lesson in finding support, learning that it’s okay to be different and disruptive, and understanding the impact you can make from seeing the world — and sharing your view of the world — differently.



What Brett asks:

  • [4:35] Can you tell me a little bit about your upbringing?
  • [7:35] You started more with drawing. When did you start expanding your artwork?
  • [9:20] How was your art received during the learning process?
  • [14:46] Did you have support at home while being an emerging artist?
  • [16:54] What happened with your father in high school?
  • [22:15] How did that tragedy affect your outlook on life?
  • [35:08] How did all of this take you to graffiti?
  • [42:10] What were you thinking as you took the leap into graffiti?
  • [56:30] Can you tell me about the large scale mural festival you are doing?

Lessons for intentional living:

  • Expressing yourself or being creative does not mean you are being “disruptive,” at least in the bad sense. Disrupting people from their expectations is a way to make people reexamine the things they take for granted. Take advantage of the ways that you see the world differently, and don’t shy away from sharing them.