Our monthly Artist Spotlight series feature for September is Allison Castillo. We have been huge fans of Allison's work since Shauna started this whole adventure and well, we think she is definitely someone worth getting to know.
SGD: Can you briefly walk us through your story? How did you get started and how did you get to where you are today
AC: I come from a long line of artists and grew up in Fort Worth, TX. After formal design and art education at Stephen F. Austin University and University of North Texas, I began a career as a graphic designer in the corporate world, transitioning to digital and mixed media as my family grew. I returned to painting again seriously about 4 years ago and haven’t slowed down! Large scale abstracts are my current fav and I love to work closely with families and designers who are looking for something to liven up their space. I also have a line of bold and colorful scarves that are sold all over the state of Texas (www.spiritsnob.com)
SGD: Has it been a smooth road? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
AC: Ha! Is it ever a smooth road? My marriage of 17 years ended almost 2 years ago and naturally has been a huge adjustment to my myself and our three children. Doors have opened up for me across the board that I never would’ve imagined and I have seen the Lord’s hand all over it. I fully believe he has not set me up for failure.
SGD: What are you most proud of and what sets you apart from other artist?
AC: Like most moms I am proudest of my children- and the fact that I have an orchid green thumb ;) I have a few that are a 4-5 years old. ( kids are 6, 8 and 15)
I never imagined that I would be an entrepreneur single-mom at 44 !
I think the one thing that currently sets me apart is that I continue to explore many different styles, techniques and color combinations. Basically if I get an idea in my head it has to come out! I struggled at first because I don’t have a certain constant “look” like a lot of abstract artists, but I realize it’s ok because it keeps my motivation to create flowing and I have many repeat clients because they can have 3 of my pieces in their home and each one is unique.
SGD: What advice would you give to someone at the start of his or her career?
AC: Do something creative everyday. Find someone who has the job you want , take them to lunch and ask them what they did. Network and use social media to it’s full advantage. It’s hard to be vulnerable as an artist but it gets easier the more you do it. Surround yourself with other like minded people and pick their brains. It’s ok to not know what you are doing! I didn’t really start my current “career” until I was 40 but I am not afraid to ask for help - people respond to authenticity.
SGD: What artists do YOU admire and why?
AC: That’s such a hard question. Currently obsessed with Ashley Longshore out of New Orleans, she has a killer work ethic and is blazing a huge trail for women and artists alike. A lot of people can paint or draw incredible things, but to create a brand around yourself and sell your art - now THAT is the challenge. She’s the best.
SGD: If you weren’t an artist, what would you be?
AC: A spelunker. Or and an Egyptologist :)
You can find Allison online here: