5 Epic Ways to Embrace Live Sand Art

joe castillo

Written by Tim Grable

March 10, 2017

5 Epic Ways to Embrace Live Sand Art A mesmerizing story-teller, Joe Castillo brings an unforgettable, one-of-a-kind live sand art performance to every possible venue on earth. Combining a message with on-the-spot creativity, He will challenge, amaze and surprise an audience.

Five Top Live Sand Art Performances

5) Helping Make-A-Wish grant wishes for 7000 brave kids!

Miles a 5-year-old boy with Leukemia wanted to be BatKid and save the city of Gotham from the evil Joker. Make a Wish America gave me the chance to tell the story of his wish and help to raise millions of dollars to grant the wishes of thousands of other brave kids with serious illnesses. The live Sand Art I put together was more fun than any single story I have ever told, but I have to admit, I got teary-eyed a couple of times during the performance. I had to keep it together because It is almost impossible to draw with wet sand.

4) Celebrate a Country’s 50th Anniversary of Freedom

I created a video for the wedding for Susan, the Coca-Cola Africa Foundation and Evans, the sugar baron of Kenya. Logical partnership. When Evans was elected Mayor of Nairobi, the capital city of Kenya, President Kinyata called upon he and his wife to plan a banquet. I was invited to tell the story of Kenya in the sand and celebrate the countries 50th anniversary. The huge challenge was to include the history of Kenya, liberation, the 2013 Westgate mall terrorist attack, and conclude with a message of faith and the hope for a peaceful future. I wanted to send them a video. The committee sent a message. Joe must come to Kenya and perform live. During the event of over 1000 Kenyan dignitaries, laughter, tears and cheers culminated in a standing ovation.

3) Million Dollar Round Table

Not everyone gets to speak to the roughly 10,000 delegates of the worlds most prestigious organization of financial services professionals. It was an enormous honor to be invited to close the three-day session. The challenge was to sum up each day with a live Sand Art presentation of each speaker and topic. I had the privilege of sharing the inspiring story of singing sensation, Emmanuel Kelly, X Prize CEO, Peter Diamandis, Author and founder of ‘Free the Children’ Craig Kielburger and burn survivor and top motivational speaker, Alison Massari and many others. The real challenge was listening backstage as they changed the topics of their talks and adjusting my SandStory ‘on-the-fly.”


A very select group of TD bank executives gathered in Savannah GA for an annual appreciation banquet. My job was to draw cartoons live, that were captured to thumb drives and taken home as a memento of the memorable event. Most gifts given at conventions are dropped in the trash on the way to the airport or abandoned in some drawer at home and forgotten. However, people stood in line for hours at my table to get a SandStory selfie, and dozens were then posted on social media with some going viral. At the end of almost four hours of drawing, I was exhausted but thrilled at the incredible response to the unique gift.

1) Governors School of the Arts

Tough audiences exist in all shapes and sizes. Any performer get’s a little damp in the armpits at the thought of being in front of teenagers. If they are not captivated in the length of time it takes to open a YouTube video; you are doomed. 1000 teens from the Tennessee Governors school of the Arts racketed into the auditorium. Most were texting, talking or taking their time, with that I am bored already look on their face. Backstage the event planner whispered to me in hushed tones, hardly necessary considering the din on the other side of the curtain. “Look, Mr. Castillo, these are good kids, but you have to remember that they are kids and do have short attention spans, so just go out, do your best, and don’t take it personally.” I was not worried. He was. As soon as my music started the place went silent. For a full 50 minutes, the audience was hot riveted to my presentation. In the end, the standing ovation was finally dwindling, I waved my way into the wings and winked at the event planner who said in a voice much louder than a whisper, “How. Did. You. Do. That!”

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