Nicolas Castell

Born 1988, Argentina
Lives in: Granada, Spain
Describe your art in 3 words: Dreamer, curious, hard-working

“I like to explore the limits of the imagination; there is a nice sense of travel and freedom in this way of creating. I would like to offer a little journey to the spectator with my work. Where he can relax, imagine and feel free.”

What themes does your work involve?
I enjoy telling stories with my work, with one picture or several, depends of the format, a single illustration, a series, children book or a comic book. On these stories I enjoy mixing fantasy with history, creating action in a special atmosphere. I love to learn from different cultures and times, usually I take elements of cultures I love and mix them in a particular scene. I specially love the japanese culture, I've worked with many projects using elements from Japan. For this particular piece I took inspiration from the work of Hiroshige, specially his picture of the Sugatami Bridge.
Describe your creative process.
It all begins with a session of studying the themes related to the scene I want to create. If I want to portray a kabuki scene I would spend some time researching kabuki costumes and actors, the poses, the old ukiyo e pictures that depicted them in old times, etc. Research and documentation is important in my process, because assures me that I'm creating something from knowledge, even if later I will add fantasy to the scene. Later the process is drawing on pencil (digital or paper), ink the picture on clip studio and adding colors on Photoshop.
What influences your work? What inspires you? Why do you make art?
An influence is connected to what insterest you, what do you want to learn from it. It could be a culture in particular, or a special feeling, like feeling free, or feeling as a child, like Alexander Calder or Picasso wanted to explore. In my case it depends of the moment, but usually I enjoy adventure in different contexts, could be exploring the old Edo times, the forests from the ancient incas in Peru or the literature of Jorge Luis Borges. I make art to help the reader in that process of dreaming, to enjoy a journey with his imagination. I like to think that, not sure if I can provide always that service. Let's hope so!
What is good art? What makes a piece of art great?
Good art is honest art, a direct connection to the within of the author, where he expresses human experience, his own personal experience. A master piece happens when the final piece within the framework and objectives the creator challenged to himself to achieve are so well executed that one can't add or substrain a single detail. All works in harmony, helping the message travel with the most powerful way to the reader.
What is the role of the artist today?
I believe that art is as important as medicine, specially in today's society. Without stories, pictures, movies and music, we become insane, we can't connect with other people, but even more important, we can't connect with ourselves. In these times of lockdowns and governments using us just as consumers entities, we only have art to feel again as humans, as living creatures. A book, a picture, is presented to you how the author wanted, not through an algorythm. That's something to think about.

Nicolas accepts his 2nd Place Award in the CFA Artist of the Month Contest (August/Sept 2021)


This interview was published by Circle Foundation of the Arts. © CFA Press ∙ Images are courtesy of the artist