Ray Caspio

"a shapeshifter of an actor" - Cleveland Plain Dealer

Filtering by Category: inspiration

Valerie Harper as Rhoda (In Progress)

Valerie Harper has been in the news lately. Her willingness to share her story is another reason why she, and her work, effects me so much. After being with my grandma through her final month through her moment of death, a time like this serves to reminds me, once again, how important life – and living in the present moment – is. It's something I remind myself of frequently.

I started working on this tribute to Valerie as Rhoda. It'll be done in a couple days. I'm not really satisfied by my previous effort – which Valerie Tweeted me that she loved, and it also ended up on Playbill in a video interview with her – so I figured there's no better time than right now to work on Valerie/Rhoda, and what that means to me, again. Or, maybe, that dissatisfaction is just a sign of growth.

Valerie, if you see this, please know you've had a great impact on my life and artistic career. Secretly – or, not so secretly, depending on who you talk to! – I've always thought you'd be the perfect person to play my grandma, Josephine, who introduced me to Rhoda in syndication on late night TV in the early 1980s. (It was a Friday night and I was up much later than I should have been, but Grandma didn't mind.) I wish you much love, peace, and strength...and more love. Listening to I, Rhoda and watching your interviews, as I have been these past few days, you do have it all around you.

Back in a couple days with the finished work!

UPDATE, March 18th: The completed work


Available as prints: http://www.redbubble.com/people/raycaspio/art/6684227-2-dar BeastMaster was a syndicated television series aired originally from 1999 to 2002. It was based on a film called The Beastmaster, which I can't remember ever watching, but I probably did...maybe. While BeastMaster aired as a series, I watched an episode here and there on Saturdays if I wasn't doing anything. However, when it was released on DVD (in very expensive season sets shortly after the cancelation), I became an avid viewer. What sold me on the show was Daniel Goddard's characterization of Dar, which took a few episodes to really develop the appropriate tone. Daniel Goddard's Dar is the last survivor of his tribe, gifted by the demon Curupira (Emilie de Ravin, later of Lost) with the power to communicate with animals (if ever there was an ultimate superpower for me, it's this one). He became the living link between the human and animal world and Dar did not take his responsibility lightly. Ultimately, though, it was Dar's peaceful nature that drew me in...it also didn't hurt that Daniel Goddard is easy on the eyes. Violence could have easily been Dar's main tactic but he took the high road, resorting to fighting only when necessary and never as the aggressor. In a time where heroes and superheroes are honored for how "badass" they are, Dar is the antithesis of that. He prefers to fight with a blunt club and is horrified when he discovers that his club can transform into his father's sword. What makes Dar is his nobility, intelligence, and his love and reverence for peace, nature, and life, above all else. He was hated by his enemies because of his values. Daniel Goddard portrayed all of that with sensitivity, intelligence, grace, and fierceness (only when necessary). I wish there were more superheroes like Dar in the world today instead of making them a thing of the past. He was the light in a dark world, which is how I like my heroes. Heroes presented today, in comic books and media, are just as dark as the world around us; indistinguishable from those they fight against. What is there for us to strive for in that? Here is Dar, his tiger friend Ruh, Sharak the eagle, and Kodo and Podo: the ferrets. BeastMaster BeastMaster On a sidenote, I used to watch this series when I began working out six years ago for fitness inspiration. It worked! Perhaps I should start again.
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The Bionic Woman: Jaime & Max

Available as a print or poster (Jaime & Max):  http://www.redbubble.com/people/raycaspio/art/4501130-1-jaime-and-max

Even though I'm a child of the 1980s, I found most of my heroes in reruns of 1960s and 1970s television shows.  They were all women.  One of those women is Jaime Sommers:  The Bionic Woman, played by Lindsay Wagner, who won an Emmy for her portrayal. I've never been one to enjoy the tired cliché of the alpha-male character.  Lindsay imbued Jaime with a strong sense of feminine energy, intelligence, understanding, and unending compassion that I feel is lacking from so many female heroes of today.  Jaime was part-superhero but all woman, often solving problems primarily with her mind instead of her Bionic parts.  Her Bionics weren't used to inflict violence.  She was a hero I could, and still do look up to, as well as Lindsay herself. In the third season of the series, Jaime got a Bionic Dog called Max (aka Maximillion/Maximillian).  That's who Jaime is running with in this illustration.  Running is, after all, Jaime's favorite way to de-stress, and dogs are great de-stressors.

I'm very happy to be reliving this great series through Region 2 DVDs as I continue my recuperation from three herniated discs.  It gives me Bionic Inspiration.

The Bionic Woman: Jaime & Max
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katie's corner starring alexandra billings

The internet can be a great place. I've been lucky enough to "meet" the supernaturally talented stage and television star Alexandra Billings, and get to know her a bit through LiveJournal and Facebook.  It was our mutual love for Liza Minnelli that initially caused us to cross paths in the online world.  Alex's LiveJournal posts are always fascinating.  She's a true teacher, a survivor, and an inspiration, and has expanded my world in so many ways.  She's also given me tons of laughs!  I hope to one day be able to take her Viewpoints class.  In the meantime, I'll absorb, like a sponge, the knowledge she shares through LiveJournal and Facebook. Check out Alex's fantastic YouTube channel.  On it, you'll find HILARIOUS Katie's Corner segments (I won't explain them – just watch), which brings us to the illustration I got the urge to start yesterday (Kevenn and I collaborated on the shadows and highlights)! Thank you, Alex, for being a part of my life, even if it is only through the internet for now.


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liza minnelli

Here's to hoping Liza wins a well-deserved Tony for Liza's at The Palace.... this Sunday! I've been fortunate enough to see Liza perform numerous times over the past seven years (seven years as of June 1st!), and she keeps getting better and better.  Every performance is an event.  I've learned so much from Liza about art, acting, and life, and this illustration is one way of thanking her for everything she's given me. Thanks to Kevenn T. Smith for helping out with colors.  I could not have done this without his input and expertise.


Liza Minnelli 11″ x 17″ Pencil, Illustrator Detail view:

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background photos by Frank J. Lanza Photography, courtesy of Theater Ninjas
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Ray Caspio received a 2016 Creative Workforce Fellowship. The Fellowships is a program of the Community Partnership for Arts and Culture. Funding for the Fellowship program is made possible by the generous support of Cuyahoga County residents through a public grant from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture.