We had the chance to sit down with Fritz Casuse during his Hangin’ with the Masters event at Wright’s and we had a fantastic time getting to know him!
Fritz is an award-winning Navajo jeweler who has demonstrated his craftsmanship using a wide range of media, techniques, and innovative thought processes. He began his artistic journey as a young child in Twin Lakes, New Mexico where he worked with his father. As a child Fritz was taught a range of skills throughout the art spectrum that allowed him to become the innovative artist he is today. Though his artistic fire was kindled while doing metalwork and carpentry side- by-side with his father, the sparks really flew when he began drawing on his own.
Fritz first became aware of his artistic abilities through his completion of several drawings that included New Mexican landscapes and native animal life. During that time, he drew heavy influence from his environment, family life and his heritage. These inspirational elements allowed him to develop his individual style.
Growing up in New Mexico gave Fritz the opportunity for endless creative inspiration, much of which came from within the art community. Always surrounded by the natural beauty of the land, he began drawing images of horses that would gallop through the wild New Mexican terrain. Fritz considers himself to be a “visual artist”, meaning he uses his environmental and emotional surroundings as essential elements in his creative process. He starts by observing and analyzing his surroundings, which ignites his creativity. Through his observations, Casuse guides his creativity to a focal point that varies within each work of art.
Casuse describes his creative processes as “trial and error”; working with the situation to resolve any problems. Artists are often like scientists as they test hypotheses, alter experiments, and work through the impossible to reach a solid conclusion. Fritz Casuse does exactly that. He starts by visualizing his artwork while testing his methods and skills through “trial and error”. Once he’s tested each trial for that specific piece and manipulated his supplies, he is able to formulate a solution to get his desired end result.
Many times, artists’ original designs and project plans are completely altered by the time they have a finished product. By going through his personal process and utilizing any and all techniques he has at his disposal, Casuse strives to present uniqueness and individualism in each art piece he creates.
Casuse is a very family-oriented person, often using his loved ones as inspiration for his art. He began developing his artistic talents working alongside his father. He was taught a wide array of skills that he uses as a basis of his overall craftsmanship. Due to the teaching patterns he learned from, Casuse was able to cultivate a system of teaching for himself and teaching for others. Casuse has been a teacher for more than seventeen years, working with students from every ethnicity, race, age, sex and culture.
When teaching others, Fritz strives to create an open and energetic atmosphere that artists can use to bring out their genius. His style of teaching focuses on a one-on- one system for many reasons. Casuse aspires to give his students the guidance and artistic experience he was forced to achieve on his own, as he says, “I teach my students like I would like to have been taught”. Giving students an opportunity to express themselves in an open and supportive environment provides them with the tools to grow as an artist. Fritz is a strong believer in “sharing his artistic talents as a way to give back to his community”. He gives his students a hands-on experience to allow them to learn for themselves and to work through their own processes. He helps his students to understand and discover their own artistic styles through the work they produce. Casuse encourages his students to be inspired by their surroundings, to bring out their emotions through their art. He believes that art is a form of storytelling, a place to express yourself with no boundaries. In order to understand your art, you must understand yourself.
Fritz is not only an artist; he is an innovator, teacher, sculptor, and most importantly a father. He has used his artistic abilities and passion for teaching to guide him while raising and influencing a son that has inherited his father’s gift. Fritz prides himself on teaching his son the skill set he has developed throughout the years, while also implementing a creative and confident environment so that his son may learn how to gain his own inspiration. He strives to provide his son with artistic opportunities to help him understand the process of hard work and the result of it. Through his teachings, Casuse has guided his son to create beautiful pieces of jewelry that are representative of his life experiences. Whether the students are family or not, Fritz Casuse always encourages them to reach their full potential, and to push themselves further in each project.
Through his artwork, Fritz Casuse shares his life experiences, cultural background and environment to give the audience a glimpse of himself as an individual. Whether it’s teaching, jewelry-making, sculpting, or painting, Casuse pushes himself to become better than he once was by using his talents to gain new opportunities and achieve his own, innovative, brand of success.
– Post written by Anastacia Garcia