The Adolescent Journey, Kevin Casto, 2009, Digital Collage

One of my graduate classes at Boston University was in child growth and development.  We explored the idea of the adolescent journey, which is an intriguing concept that we all participate in, yet few realize or understand the journey until many years later. For one of the assignments I created a digital collage to express my adolescent journey. I began by sketching out several ideas and decided upon using maps of significant places in my life as the background. Choosing an 18” x 24” masonite panel for the initial image, I trimmed and pasted the maps onto the panel in a collage-like manner using acrylic gel medium, and I added acrylic white to diminish areas of the map and highlighted other areas with pencil and black oil pastels.  I then digitally photographed the map image and began to work with it in Photoshop, combining personal photographs and images that I have taken over the years to create my digital collage.

My journey wrestles with the question: what if I would have taken another path?  What if I would have accepted a different job, moved elsewhere or married another?  There are many forks in the road of life, and several times one direction or the other does not appear compelling, one decision does not appear right or wrong, but it is still a tough decision that must be made with life-changing ripples.

At the National Museum of the USAF in Dayton – finally an astronaut?

When I was a child I desired to be an astronaut and walk on the moon like Neil Armstrong; unfortunately, wearing glasses and eye problems eliminated that possibility.  I considered acting, science, and ministry, worked as a photographer and a sign/billboard painter, was in the army and worked at an array of part-time jobs along the way to becoming an art teacher.  I am thrilled my journey is still in process, and I know that the good work that God has begun will continue until its completion at the day of Christ’s return.

My time frame for completing the digital collage was very short, and as I look back on it, I know there needs to be some revision in the piece before I am satisfied with it. Several artist friends have been inspirational in my stylistic choices in this self-portrait type of a project: Bruce Bitmead, Gaylen Stewart, D. David Sapp, and my father, who was and is my first art instructor.  The German Expressionists George Rouault and Anselm Kiefer also influence my choices.


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