Interview: Joe Castro

1. Please, introduce yourself, tell us a little bit about you.

My name is Joe Castro and I’m a collage artist, musician, oil painter and graphic designer.  I live in the United States, just outside the city of Philadelphia.

2. Recent, current or future projects you are involved in that you would like to share with us?

I was super stoked to be included in The Age of Collage Book (Gestalten)  – there is some amazing work littered between those pages. And I’m looking forward to the Weird Show coming up in Brooklyn this April.  Other than that, I’m also taking part in a group show in the UK later this summer, that centers around the influence of Jack Kerouac on modern art, which I’m very excited about. More info on that another time.

3. What kind of things do influence your work?

Mainly the materials I collect – that’s the biggest influence, obviously.  You can’t escape the fact that collage is basically a collaboration between the people who created the source materials (photographers, artists, printers, etc) and the person who’s holding the knife. Destroy and rebuild.

4. How is your normal process of collaging? (idea or commission, where do you get your materials or find your images, which is your cutting technique, best way you have found to paste, where do you work and how, and very important: what do you do with your scraps)

I always work on the floor in my studio, which is in the attic of an old Victorian house. It usually starts with a cup of coffee, some music, a background piece of paper and a couple of elements that kind of vibe together. Then I start to pull in/search out additional pieces from magazines, menus, junk mail, etc. I continue to slide the pieces around while the collage and I argue. – eventually we reach a fair and just compromise. Sometimes it takes weeks.

Everything is hand cut with a switchblade. (not true).  I use Goldens Matte Gel Medium as an adhesive.  I find most of my materials in dark and dusty book stores, garage sales, flea markets, black markets. Some scraps are saved and placed in a flat file for later use, others are headed for the recycling bin. Such is destiny.

5a:Which is your latest discovery in the collage world? 

Honestly – that there even is a collage world. For a long time I just worked on my own and never really took notice of whatever else was going on out there, other than skateboard graphics, gigposters, street art, etc.. It’s only been about a year or so since I realized there was this whole collage art “scene” out there.

5b: What advice can you give to a collage beginner?

Don’t look too much at other collage artists – experiment, have fun with it and let your own style come out. Don’t eat stuff of the sidewalk (RIP LUX).

6a: What do say your friends/family about your collage work? 

Thankfully, my family are incredibly supportive of my work (chalk that up to unconditional love).  My friends generally dig it – not sure they understand it though.

6b:And, what do you do when you are not working on art?

I play/write music with my band, The Lift Up.  We just released our debut record Without Dreams, We Are Only Sleeping this past September. Other than that, I spend time with my family. Read books. Watch movies – I’m slowly trying work my way through the Criterion Collection. Skateboard when I can.

7. Would you like to ask anything to John Baldessari? Shoot.

Have I ever crossed your mind?


More Stories
Interview: Carolina Simonelli