Artist Casey Childs paints lessons in history

Artist Casey Childs, a former Lovell resident, was invited to display his work at a recent exhibit held in the SinClair Gallery at Northwest College. Childs is known for his unique portrait work, which was displayed at the exhibit. He also painted from a live model while visiting the college as students observed him work and asked questions. The painting was on display the last day of the show.A recently completed series of 25 drawings of influential figures from history was showcased at the exhibit.“I wanted to focus on people who had a positive influence on the world,” explained Childs. “It’s much harder to be positive than it is to be negative.”The drawings were displayed with a written narrative that explained how events in the particular individual’s life later influenced the world. From Amelia Earhart to Alexander Graham Bell, the portraits brought life to the historical figures, which were beautifully rendered in charcoal.Paintings on display included “Biangle,” which is a portrait using two of his own children as models that won the First Honor Award out of more than 1,750 entries in the Portrait Society of America’s 2011 Portrait Competition.Childs’ work recently took a new direction after he spent a full year researching a moment in history that depicted the murders of Hyrum and Joseph Smith in a life-sized oil painting. The incident took place in 1844 at the Carthage Jail in Carthage, Ill.To gather background information for the painting, Childs traveled to the jail and photographed the area behind the door where the incident took place in so he could render a historically accurate painting of the event. He pored over first person accounts of the incident to recreate what he thought would be the facial expressions of the people in the painting. He calls this type of painting a “multi-figure narrative portrait.” The painting is currently on display at the Church of Jesus Christ of Later-day Saints history museum across from Temple Square in Salt Lake City.In an interesting twist, Childs plans to paint the scene on the other side of the door in the same size and hopes that both pieces will hang side-by-side in the church museum someday depicting this important moment in LDS history.“I never really thought of myself as a history buff,” said Childs. “I guess I am just interested in people and how we influence each other.”Childs is a 1993 graduate of Lovell High School and a former Northwest College student. After serving a two-year mission in Las Vegas he completed his bachelor’s degree at Brigham Young University and studied under well-known portrait artist William Whittaker for a year and a half. After working as a graphic artist for 10 years, Childs makes his living working full time as a fine artist.He currently lives in Pleasant Grove, Utah, with his wife Amanda and their three sons. His parents are former Lovell residents Bruce and Linda Childs. His aunt and uncle Keith and Carol Brimhall live in Cowley.Childs’ work can be seen on his website Patti Carpenter