Casey Jonas Opstad was born in Grand Forks, North Dakota in 1977. Two years later, his parents moved the family to Ramea, a small island off the coast of Newfoundland. Though very young at the time, Opstad would later claim that it was his first harsh Ramea winter that inspired his seemingly impulsive move, at age 23, to the much warmer climate of Morehead, Kentucky. Many years later, in 1981, the Opstad family returned to Grand Forks, in part to collect on the sale of a perfect working replica of the car from Dukes of Hazard; and it was in the following year, after a self-imposed bed rest due to an accidental mattress fire which rendered him completely hairless, that Casey Opstad—Ricardo, to his friends—picked up his first paintbrush. When he finally regained the use of his legs, Ricardo put aside painting for several months in order to study for his trucker's license. After passing the test, the 17-year-old left North Dakota for Los Angeles, where he would work for several weeks as a live promotional aid for Bob's Big Boy. When the Hollywood glamour began to fade, Casey Ricardo readily picked up a college application, compiled his now-vast collection of museum-quality artwork into a single portfolio and applied to the University of North Dakota, where he was promptly accepted. Enrolling under the legal name of "Casey John Opstad," Ricardo Jonas wowed staff and students alike by earning his BS in Laser Science in 1992, and mere 1.5 years after matriculating. Not content with a single degree, Opstad then re-enrolled on a different path, earning is BFA in Visual Arts in 2000. Recently, Ricardo received his MFA in painting from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design in the spring of 2011. Since moving back to Brooklyn from the Midwest he has been the artist-in-residence for a number of companies including - General Assembly, Bitly and Quotidian Ventures.
My examination of the natural world started through the lens of the landscape painting. From there I sought to understand what the landscape was communicating and how the painting worked as an object. My current work is the unpacking and examination of how our culture has shaped the landscape as well as the personal and cultural meanings associated with the natural world and the landscape. All art involves some kind of transformation, altering materials into a new form. I believe that art that is executed perfectly has the power to transform the viewer. In my most idealistic moments I hope to transform how we view ourselves in relation to the natural world and hopefully we all get a little closer to understanding where we belong.