Casey Folks. After the Rain, 2016. Oxide acrylic ink on illustration board.

Studio Mythical Ink

Casey Folks is no ordinary detective, and no ordinary artist.

One could say he is the Clark Kent or Bruce Wayne of the Galena art scene. During the day he works as a detective, ensuring justice is served. His real super power, however, reveals itself when he has pen and ink in hand. From there, his creativity flows, creating incredibly intricate masterpieces, taking viewers on an epic journey.

Folks’ skill and passion for art began as early as he could walk. He remembers spending countless hours drawing dinosaurs, biplanes, tanks and soldiers on a chalkboard at his great aunt’s home in Dubuque. Growing up, he took interest in comic books and the role playing game of Dungeons & Dragons. He had a sense for adventure and mystery, exploring the wooded forests and rolling hills of the area, and infusing that into his sketches.

While attending Galena High School, his skills were put to the test when he and a friend would compete in their own “drawing wars,” each firing back with an even more elaborate and unique piece of art.

Folks attended college at the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design in Lakewood, Colo., where he took anatomy, figure drawing, art history, color theory and graphic design. He enrolled in the commercial art program, with the ultimate goal of becoming an illustrator. Once graduated, he did freelance and worked on local projects, including the Dubuque County Historical Society’s Dinosaurs Alive exhibit.

Despite his enthusiasm and talent for his art, he found himself struggling with the certainty of his career. When he saw an opening for a correctional officer at the Jo Daviess County Courthouse, he applied and landed the job. As a correctional officer, Folks gained a lot of experience in analyzing human behavior, and was later transferred to investigations, where he now is a detective. His art and work are kept completely separate, but he finds that being an artist helps him in his career. “It helps me to analyze situations from different points of view,” he explained.

Folks went six years without drawing. His streak was broken one day when he picked up his pen and just let it flow. What started out as experimenting with lines turned into a work of art.