If Joe Castillo is the man telling a good story, expect music, a light table and sand to take center stage. The Sand Art of Joe Castillo is considered one of the most gifted sand animation artists in the world, Castillo discovered his talent for on-the-spot creativity when he accidentally bought sand instead of mulch at a hardware store. Now, the national storyteller uses the art form to convey corporate messages for clients.
Amazing Sand Art of Joe Castillo
When Joe Castillo is working live before an audience, he strategically sprinkles, scatters and etches in the sand to create evolving images using sand animation. Onlookers see faces, landscapes, buildings and other structures come to life through sand art as they are projected onto a big screen. Perhaps one of the most fascinating aspects in the Sand Art of Joe Castillo is the way he uses his hands. In order to disperse the sand across the light table, he gathers the granules into his fists. Then he uses both the gaps between his fingers or either open end of his fist as an organic funnel to control the release of sand. This technique helps to layer the evolving picture with texture.
Heavily sanded areas become a thick surface for him to carve, and thinly sprinkled sand seems strewn at just the right angles to suggest the small details that bring the pictures to life. Joe Castillo is very skilled with standing his palm vertically against the lit glass and cupping his fingertips to use his hands as a wide chisel. He scrapes his nails against the table to make tombstones, the Statue of Liberty, servicemen and servicewomen in battle hats with guns, the U.S. flag or the dark waves in a woman’s hair. Audiences are tense anticipating the next turn of the picture unfolding before them, and they do not hesitate to spring to their feet for a standing ovation when the work if finally done.
The Sand Art of Joe Castillo is a unique approach to storytelling has earned praises from clients like Toshiba, TED, Apple, Lucent Technologies, the BBC, DirectTV, Pfizer, ExxonMobil, Lexmake, NBC, Million Dollar Round Table and Walt Disney. His talent even earned him a finalist spot on the television show America’s Got Talent. He currently has three categories of presentations: ArtStory, WordStory and SandStory. In addition to the work he does on a light table, Joe Castillo is a frequent keynote speaker.
Castillo has credited his father as the source of his love for storytelling. Castillo’s father died when he was 15, but he spent his last moments encouraging young Castillo to pursue a life in art. However, before taking on the journey of motivational performance art, Castillo used his father’s words to build a career in commercial art and advertising. He has admitted that he believes this was a cop-out that consumed more than 20 years of his life. His New Mexico bilingual upbringing makes it easy for him to give presentations in both Spanish and English. So far, the uniqueness of his work has enabled him to perform in more than 14 countries around the world. This work enables him to leave people in his audiences a little bit better than he found them.