by Billy Clouse
Originally published in Revolt — Vol. 1, Issue 2
Two guys with the same name may not seem like anything special, but Trevor Casperson, left, and Trevor Miles, right, have more in common than just their names.
Both Trevors are artists; Casperson, a sophomore vocal performance and theater arts double major from Safford, Arizona, is a singer, and Miles, a sophomore graphic design major from Riverton, is a painter.
The pair also started their arts at the same time — junior year of high school.
“I kind of grew up as the kid I tend to despise now,” Casperson said. “I thought singing was for pansies, and I thought, music, who wants to do that? I wanted to be in sports. Junior year came around, and I had an extra elective and I decided ‘Why not?’ and I sold my soul immediately.”
Expressive release drew Casperson to singing, and it has made him want to continue.
“I think a lot of people, and myself as well, have a lot of pent-up negative energy, self-doubt, anxiety and/or depression,” he said. “Singing has been my way to unlock that little door that I subconsciously put there and allows me to feel happy.”
Theater has interested Casperson for similar reasons, and it has allowed him to see different perspectives.
“Without theater, I think I’d be a lot more of a bigoted, closed-off person,” he said. “It’s allowed me to accept people for who they really are because I’m able to put myself in the shoes of an entirely different person. I love being able to relate to people — albeit it’s kind of distorted because it’s me acting it and not actually being it, but it allows me to understand people a little more. I can listen more purely and really help people that way.”
Miles, on the other hand, said he enjoys making paintings because the craft is fun, but he also enjoys the reactions.
“I would always do a painting for a person that I cared about,” he said. “Then seeing their reaction when I gave it to them and knowing they would hold onto it forever made it special for me.”
Both artists have been developing their crafts and working on large projects.
On September 16, Casperson announced the start of his singing career — a studio album that will be released sometime between the end of March and beginning of April.
“I’ve always wanted to write (an album), but I’ve always had that self-doubt because performing arts are risky,” he said. “I want to be able to support myself and, in the future, a family, but at the same time I want to do something I love, which is this. There’s always been that self-doubt, and that’s why I never announced it publicly before.”
This album, which has been in the works for six months, is serving as Casperson’s EDGE Project. After finishing the songwriting process, he will begin to record in November.
“It’s my first time doing this and it’s been a pretty long process,” Casperson said. “It’s been a lot of fun with the process of discovering who I am as a musician, how I write music, how I relate to my music and where I get my inspiration for my music.”
Miles, on the other hand, has had time to work on his process for commissioned pieces. When working on temple paintings, he goes to the location and takes pictures. After showing a few options to the client, he begins working.
“I’ll start painting it with base colors for the sky, the temple and the foreground,” he said. “Then I’ll start adding in the details — the clouds, the lines, the architecture, and then after that, it’s just the really fine details.”
Although he didn’t start with LDS temples — his first commission was of a man’s girlfriend, followed by a portrait of his three children — Miles has become known for painting them.
Of all his paintings, he said the Provo City Center Temple, a gift for Brady Parks, the lead singer of “The National Parks,” is his favorite.
“It was really big, and since it was for someone that I really wanted to impress, I spent a ton of time on it,” Miles said. “I really got all the details, and it ended up being my favorite.”
I consider success when someone tells me ‘that really helped me.' I love helping people, and I feel that for me, success will come when I can do that in my art. Whether I hear about that or not doesn’t matter.
To complete a painting, Miles takes between three and four weeks. While working on his other projects, he has started working on the cover of the November issue of Revolt, which comes out November 3.
Although he doesn’t know exactly what he wants to do after he graduates, Miles would like to continue doing oil paintings on the side of a graphic design job.
Casperson, however, knows exactly what he wants to do.
“My ultimate goal in life is to combine singing and theater in the sense that I want to be able to write, record and perform my own metal operas,” he said. “I’m a metalhead, I love heavier stuff.”
Casperson measures the success of his art based on the reaction from those who listen.
“I consider success when someone tells me ‘that really helped me,’” he said. “I love helping people, and I feel that for me, success will come when I can do that in my art. Whether I hear about that or not doesn’t matter.”
Miles has a similar outlook, especially because most of his current pieces are commissioned.
“The goal in a temple painting is simply for them to be beautiful and awe-inspiring,” he said. “I try to achieve this by focussing on all the small details and trying to make it look as realistic as possible, as well as adding in sunsets or sunrises to make the lighting better if my reference picture doesn’t have one. Basically, I just want people to look at the painting and enjoy looking at something beautiful and be inspired.”