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Causey Cato: Inviting Discovery

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Causey Cato of Starkville is one of thirteen artists in the 2011 Mississippi Invitational.

What does being the youngest artist in the 2011 Mississippi Invitational mean to you? What do you think it says about the direction of contemporary Mississippi art and artists?

It is challenging to be a young person who is interested in pursuing art in the career sense. However, Mr. Sirmans and everyone involved with the Mississippi Museum of Art and the Invitational made me feel that I, as a young person, mattered. I believe they wanted young unknown people represented as a way of saying Mississippi is proud of and supports her contemporary art and artists.

You said in the exhibition catalogue that you “discovered several things about myself” while creating the sculpture in the Invitational. How does this practice of discovery factor in to your art-making?

Discovery is one of the things I value the most about art, whether you are the viewer or the maker. You can either glance at or engage with a piece of art. Art can tell stories; it can show you things you’ve never seen. It can educate and expand you. Art and discovery are intertwined, and for me, that is something I hope to learn from every piece that I make.

Causey Cato (born 1986), Color-Me Raindrops (detail), 2010. pine, poplar, birch, tie wire, and acrylic paint. 47 x 45 x 5 in. copyright © the artist.

At what age did you realize art was in your future? What attracted you to that process of creation?

I always thought that art would be something I’d like to do “on the side.” However, my life drastically changed two and a half years ago when I switched from a career in healthcare to art. I’m sure even my family and friends thought I was crazy, but even though I had no idea what I was getting myself into, I am so thankful for that decision. I was attracted to art because I love making things and actually began to think about an art career as a way to help, relate to, and share with others.

If we were to see a future Causey Cato solo show with galleries full of your art, what types of work might we expect to see and experience?

Wow, I honestly don’t know! Mainly, I hope to keep developing skills while making 3D as well as 2D works. It is the combination of the two that I have loved to balance so far. I plan on finding ways to keep making work that has elements of painting, drawing, ceramics and sculpture in the future.

Any interesting stories, experiences, or backgrounds in your life that have led you to art or that you feel were especially formative?

I remember telling people for years that I loved art but never wanted to be an artist. I doubted my own talent. Finally, I realized that I might be making the biggest mistake if I never tried. I still don’t know what the future holds except I must keep trying, learning, making, and discovering.


These years later, Causey Cato is leading summer camps in The Museum School as a Master Teaching Artist and employee of the Museum. (Ms. Causey, as her name tag denotes.)

This fall marks the 2014 Mississippi Invitational, when another crop of talented Mississippians will have their work on view in the galleries. Stay tuned!