Artist Interview: Adele Castillo

Posted by Crossroads Art Center General Account - July 21 2022


Q.  What started it all for you? How did you get into the arts?

A. I began making art as a child, encouraged and influenced by parents and a grandmother who dabbled in art. I was given the gift of private art instruction as a pre-teen and later decided to pursue an art education degree in college.  


Q. Tell me about your creative process / How do you approach new projects?

A. It depends. If it's a commission I have a more orderly approach, starting with drawing and blocking in flat color. Then I add darks and details and let the painting guide me to the finish. For other work, it depends on the subject matter - I may use the same approach or I may just dive into direct painting and see where it takes me. Sometimes I do thumbnail line drawings or I may even do a "squishy" - where I take a used palette paper of colors and squish it onto a canvas to become a background for something else eventually. 


Q. Who and/or what are your biggest inspirations and how do they influence your work?

A. A very early influence was Norman Rockwell, when the art world looked down their noses at him. I loved the detail in his scenery: his work reminded me of a theater set, and I enjoy his slightly whimsical sense of humor. Matisse's love of color and pattern and his evolving style opened my eyes to including joy and fun and exploration in my work. The biggest influence however has been Georgia O'Keeffe. Her subtle drifts of color and how she could blend one passage into another, with gorgeous color combinations and color pops. Her work taught me a great deal about composition and using only what is necessary to convey an image. I think I've seen every exhibit of her work ever in Virginia in the last 40 years! Breaking ground as a woman in the arts during her time and living a fully creative life was an incredibly powerful display of individual autonomy. 


Q. What is your favorite subject matter to focus on and why?

A. People and animals. Because of the connection. I began doing animal portraits off and on in college, but that really took off in the late 90's after doing a few for friends. I looked back at my childhood sketchbooks during the covid lockdown and saw I was doing portraits of animals and people back then! There is something about capturing the essence of a living being and hoping the viewer sees what you see in them. 


Q. What are you working on now?

A. Currently a small pet commission has my attention. I have numerous unfinished paintings of all sorts of styles and subjects waiting to tell me what they want to be. 


Q. If you had a motto, for your art and life, what would it be?

A. Go for it.