Discovering the Artistic Path of Gerardo Castro: An In-Depth Journey
Gerardo Castro, a multifaceted Afro-Puerto Rican artist, uses the canvas as a medium to narrate stories of colonization, Queer history, ritual performance cultures, and gender. His work is a testament to the multiplicity of the Afro-Caribbean experience.
Conjuring the Past (Conjurando él Pasado) 2022, oil on paper, mixed media, 24 “ x 6 feet.
A Deeper Look into Gerardo Castro's Roots and Growth
Born in Ponce, Puerto Rico and raised in New York, Gerardo Castro's cultural background is a vibrant tapestry woven into his art. In 1997, he received his MFA from Pratt Institute, Brooklyn. His work has since been showcased nationally and internationally, including in Cuba, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, China, Budapest, and major US cities. Today, he resides in the Hudson Valley- in Newburgh, NY. As a contemporary Afro-Puerto Rican artist, his work illustrates the multiplicity of the Afro-Caribbean experience by addressing issues of colonization, Queer history, ritual performance cultures, and gender.
A Personal Journey to Art: The Unexpected Avenue
Gerardo Castro's encounter with art came through an unexpected avenue - social media. When he was contacted by SMB Daily News via Instagram, a new chapter in his artistic journey began. He believes that social media has significantly broadened the doors to his audience and collectors, opening up opportunities for connection and interaction that were previously inaccessible.
Finding Inspiration in the Unexpected
Inspiration for Castro is intuitive and accidental. His art is inspired by anything that gives him goosebumps. He sees humans as antennas and transistors to the unseen, believing that what we see is only the surface reality. He refers to this as being "open to the experience", suggesting that those who are more open to inspiration are more likely to experience it. This view allows him to find inspiration in a variety of places, making his work diverse and multifaceted.
Artistic Style and Medium: A Constellation of Elaborate Imagery
Gerardo Castro's unique artistic style creates constellations of elaborate, glittery, figurative paintings that are spiritually charged and mystical. His works are in a sense icons or doorways to the sacred, intended to make viewers aware that they are in the presence of something sacred. His work reflects his cultural, social, and political reality, with Afro-Cuban practices of Santeria and Afro-Latinx queer religiosity influencing his imagery and symbolism. He primarily works with mixed media, providing a rich and diverse palette for his creations.
Future Goals and Overcoming Challenges
As an artist, Castro has faced challenges, the most significant being the pressure to conform to someone else's idea of what he should be creating. However, he believes that rejection removes roadblocks, leading him to his true path. His future plan is to continue celebrating the visual textures of his Afro-Descendant culture, affirming that his Afro-Caribbean identity is a means of empowerment. He plans to keep his antennas up and listen to the signs from the universe, following his intuition to what's next.
A Spotlight on “Conjuring the Past”
The piece titled “Conjuring the Past” (Conjurado el Pasado) holds a special place in Castro's collection. This piece is his personal response to history, particularly the colonization of Puerto Rico. While colonization is not the only piece of Puerto Rico's history, it’s a major contributor. Currently, this piece is being exhibited at Museum of History, Anthropology, and Art at the University of San Juan, Puerto Rico, showcasing the depth and meaning behind Castro's art to a wider audience.
The Personal Impact of Gerardo Castro’s Art
Castro’s art, while personal in its creation, has a universal impact. His pieces often have a deeper meaning than most people realize, serving as a reflection of his cultural, social, and political reality. His works, filled with imagery and symbolism influenced by Afro-Cuban practices of Santeria and Afro-Latinx queer religiosity, serve as a testament to his unique artistic voice in the industry.