DEVO co-founder stresses the importance of keeping artistic relevance

Sarah Lack

Gerald Casale, co-founder of DEVO and a Kent State alumnus, spoke Friday as a part of the Centennial Alumni: Firsts exhibit in the School of Art Gallery.

Casale discussed his time at Kent State, as well as the progression of his creative career from high school to DEVO and his experience directing music videos and television spots.

He shared several examples of his work in the form of video clips, including the music videos for DEVO’s “Whip It” and Soundgarden’s “Blow Up the Outside World,” both of which he directed. He also shared several TV spots, including commercials for Miller Lite and PBS.

Above all, Casale stressed the continued need for artists and creative minds in today’s world.

“Art is intended to make people think or make people feel better,” Casale said. “Artistic expression is the enemy of mediocrity.”

He pointed out that in a corporate-dominated culture that reduces artists to “content providers,” it’s becoming more difficult for artists to break through and stay relevant.

“I think more than any other craft, being creative is not a choice as much as some kind of destiny,” Casale said. “The artist is driven, and you have to be considering the odds of failure.”

And although Casale’s continued success has taken him away from Ohio and Kent State, he maintains that this is the place where everything began.

“Ivy League schools like Berkeley had nothing on this place,” he said. “The artistic and philosophic aesthetics that I used the rest of my life were formed right here.”

Contact Sarah Lack at [email protected].