“I’d be writing my name on the walls, getting in trouble in school, and little by little I got into the graffiti culture because I started to meet a lot of guys who did the same thing,” she says.
Castillo — who’s known for painting strong, warrior-like images of women — was born in Ibarra, Ecuador but her family migrated to New York when she was 8 years old.
She recently moved back to her native country where she’s a full-time artist, graphic designer, and producer of arts and culture events. She splits her time between Quito and New York curating pop-up shows.
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“Over here in Ecuador — and Latin America in general — there’s a huge machismo energy. The women are still striving to make themselves more prominent in work spaces,” she adds. “I come from a world where women are strong, we get together and we organize and we don’t need the guys to help us. I just have that mentality and here there’s not enough of that.”
Unfortunately, many young girls who dream of becoming artists don’t see it as a career possibility because it’s a profession that’s looked down upon. As she says, women are still striving to make themselves more prominent in work spaces and in Ecuador they’re still ten years behind; that’s exactly why Castillo wants to expose women to the idea that being an artist is an acceptable career.
“We have to show them that yes this girl wants to paint graffiti, she wants to become a graphic designer, she can become a muralist, she can become a speaker about the culture and social issues that occur in her community and this young woman could become a voice of the culture and so being an artist shouldn’t be looked down upon.”
“You have to connect these girls in some way and bring them together,” she says, “Because they’re gonna inspire each other or they’re gonna feel like their work was really worth it."