Unique Performance Art of Joe Castillo, Sand Art America’s Got Talent

joe castillo

Written by Tim Grable

February 27, 2017

sand art america's got talentAmerica’s Got Talent introduced the world to the sand art of Joe Castillo, a unique performance artist who works in sand on a light table. With his bare hands, he shapes sand and negative space into a backlit display of imagery. However, he does not only draw an art piece in the sand while you watch and leave it at that. Instead, he draws something and then seemingly magically; he changes it into something else entirely and then does it again.

The series of transformations often has a theme and can sometimes tell a story without words. Each performance is accompanied by music chosen to enhance the visual part of his work. If you have not seen this kind of performance art before, it is hard to convey how captivating and moving it can be. So, here are five videos of some of his public performances. Watch them and experience his live performance art for yourself.

Joe Castillo and Sand Art America’s Got Talent

Amazing Sand Art Captivates America’s Got Talent

In his first appearance on AGT, he is asked “What is your name?” and “What do you do?” He answers “My name is Joe Castillo.” and “I use light and sand, and I tell stories.” His first story told in this unusual medium blows away both judges and audience alike.

The Sandman Cometh for Howard Stern

At its core, art is about communicating something in new and compelling ways. The artist uses creative vision, and unique media to convey his message to the audience. Sand, light, and music are the media Joe Castillo uses to tell his stories. His unusual talent has enabled him to perform in over eighteen countries, allowed him to appear in the 2011 TEDActive! Conference, and taken him all the way to the finals of the reality show competition America’s Got Talent in September 2012.

Joe Castillo Impresses Judges  — Sand Art America’s Got Talent

This is a short piece that takes the audience through a series of emotional ups and downs. It ultimately ends on a happy note.


Animals in Sand Art on America’s Got Talent

This performance is astonishing for its ability to transform one animal figure to another smoothly. Each animal image emerges from the previous image as if by magic. It is mesmerizing to watch the transformation of one thing turn into another.

Castillo is adept at using his sand artistry to communicate cultural, civic, religious, or corporate messages. He also entertains. He performs his SandStory, ArtStory, and WordStory presentations in both English and Spanish. During a live performance, he captivates audiences with both the novelty of his medium and his fast-paced and innovative creations.

This video highlights Castillo’s skill as he uses sand to create a fully recognizable caricature of Howard Stern. It seems almost magical to watch as he transforms the pile of sand into an image of Stern’s face. The background music as Castillo spreads and smooths adds to the anticipation and wonder as the portrait appears. Castillo’s trademark beret perched on Stern’s head provides the final touch to the picture.

Art reaches humans on an emotional level and using visual arts to educate, entertain, or persuade nothing new. Doing so in a unique and memorable manner is the key. Indeed a medium as uncommon as sand and light communicates a message in a way that ensures it will be remembered. Utilizing that great medium with as much skill and creativity as Joe Castillo means the viewer will not only enjoy the performance but will be inspired by the message.

Joe Castillo performs Live: Sand Art America’s Got Talent

Joe Castillo’s performance of  Sand Art uses the dynamic interplay of light and sand in motion to weave visual stories before mesmerized audiences of NBC’s America’s Got Talent 2012. Deftly moving through preliminary and advanced rounds of competition, Castillo, a native of Mexico City, family man, and international artist, has been a favorite with show judges Howard Stern, Sharon Osbourne and Howie Mandel.

This performance art piece is particularly uplifting. Its themes allude to symbolism. Art and music are two of the ways to achieve the sublime. Here, they are both combined to great effect.  Castillo narrates a sandy slideshow revolving around the themes of love and solidarity to the music of the The Youngbloods’ “Get Together.” His performance as featured above has earned him a spot among the Finalists for Season 7 of the British-born global entertainment sensation.

Joe Castillo and PS 22: The Edge of Glory  “Sand Art America’s Got Talent”

In this performance art piece by Joe Castillo, the musical portion gets more emphasis. The usual canned music is replaced. Instead of a recording, the musical accompaniment is provided live by a children’s group. They surround him on stage and, while he works; they sing “The Edge of Glory.”

As you can see, Joe’s live sand art performances on America’s Got Talent was inspirational. The audiences were enthralled, and the judges have been blown away. The combination of inspirational music and evolving imagery has a surprisingly strong emotional impact. This is particularly the case when a particular piece touches a chord like patriotism or peace and unity.

You May Also Like…

AGT Recap: Simon’s Favorite Golden Buzzer Moments

AGT Recap: Simon’s Favorite Golden Buzzer Moments

The first season of America's Got Talent was broadcast on NBC in 2006. But it was only in 2014 that the now famous buzzer was incorporated into the show. Since then, there have been many memorable Golden Buzzer moments that were featured on the show. Recently, judge...

read more
The Best Virtual Team Building Activities (1)
The Best Travel, Food and Wine Virtual Experiences
Hire the Best Virtual Magic Show
The Best Virtual Experiences for Corporate Events and Remote Teams
Hire the Best Virtual Hosts for your Online Event
The Best Virtual Comedy Show (1)
Hire the Best Virtual Mentalist Show
Hire the Best Virtual Opener for Your Online Conference
Best Virtual Awards Ceremony
Hire the Best Musicians for a Virtual Concert
Hire the Best Corporate Virtual Event Ideas (Under $3500)
Book the Best Interactive Virtual Magic Show (under $7500)
The Best Virtual Entertainment (under $7500)
Hire the Best Celebrity Chef
Hire the Best Virtual Entertainers from America's Got Talent
Hire the Best Virtual Dance Party
Hire the Best Online Entertainment Ideas for Your Virtual Break
Hire the Best Virtual Keynote Speakers
Hire the Best Team Building Activities and Virtual Game
Hire the Best Ventriloquist virtual event
Hire the Best Virtual Wellness Activities for Work
Hire the Best Virtual Visual Art
Hire the Best Sommelier and Mixologist for your Virtual Beverage Making
Hire the Best Virtual Christmas Party Entertainment
The Best Virtual Comedy Show

A virtual comedy show merges the best comedians with technology to create an entertaining presentation for employee events to nonprofit fundraisers.

Hire the Best Virtual Christmas Party Entertainment

Planning a virtual holiday party?   We have put together a list of the best virtual entertainment.

Hire the Best Virtual Magic Show

Planning a virtual holiday party?   We have put together a list of the best virtual entertainment.

Hire the Best Virtual Mentalist Show

virtual mentalism show is highly interactive and includes virtual magic. The virtual mentalist engages the audience individually and as a group.

Celebrate The New Year with a Post-Holiday Celebration to Kick Off 2021

Planning a virtual post-holiday eventOnline Holiday parties were new in 2020, we have put together a list of the best post-holiday entertainment for your remote teams to celebrate the New Year.

Best Interactive Virtual Magic Show under $5000 b

Looking for the best virtual magic for your online event? Online magic shows merge interactive virtual magic with technology to create a captivating presentation that forces audiences to re-examine what’s possible in today’s digital world.

The Grable Group
Malcare WordPress Security