I must admit that it was a relief to complete this piece. It stands as the most complicated piece I done to date. What made it complicated? Shit where do I begin? First off it's a recycled drawing of mine from my undergrad days at Stephen F. Austin State University. If my memory serves me correct, it's from 2002. The only color/shape remaining from the original is in the upper middle. It's so small that it's almost insignificant. I'll have you know that I keep most everything I've created since then. To save money I will often paint and draw on top of existing art I have. There are a lot of layers on this piece. I would say between six and ten. My art these days incorporates some transparencies from the layers underneath. Although this does complicate the composition, the end result is an image I couldn't of conceived of in a pre-sketch. This process does lengthen the creation process three fold but again the end justifies the means.
It's hard to define what exactly this piece means to me. The definition is multi-layered just as the piece itself. When I start a piece I work randomly until I see a shape to bring out. It's a very subjective and emotional process. What I see can change from day to day. I've learned that each piece is like a puzzle. You work with the shapes and colors you project on to the image. It requires a lot of trust and patience; trust in the process and patience regarding it's completion. An elder once told me that ,"It will take as long as it needs to". I heard this in reference to a native ceremony and it applies to making art as well. Little by little the image takes place and one shape/color will lead to another. The heart only came about towards the end of creating the piece. At the time I had a flash idea of having everything emanate from the heart. Of course the idea of it sounds better than the application. My initial thought was ,"how the hell am I going to incorporate red into into an already color saturated composition?". In those moments of doubt you have to trust that it's the right thing to do. It's very similar to life in general; something in us heeds us to listen and follow our intuition even if it makes no logical sense in that specific moment. To compensate for the application of red, I spread the color in both subtle and overt ways through out the image to help balance the color. The same goes for the orange, purple, and blue. Accretion is the cosmic process through which planets and other phenomenon form in space. It's the gradual coming together of matter whereby heavier elements attract other elements. It's how our planet formed. I use this analogy for my piece because most all of my work is a record of my spiritual development. I believe that within the universe there is a field of energy that responds to our intention, our thoughts, and our beliefs. The shapes around the figure in the piece represent the ether which in turn responds to the vibration of the heart. If you look at all of the angles in the piece, including the horizon line, they all come from or direct the eye towards the heart. Normally I shy away from center heavy imagery, but for this piece I took a chance and it worked out. This reinforces my trust in the process but also to ALL of the subtle intuitions that come while making art.
I use the deer as a motif in my work to represent my masculinity as well as my spiritual beliefs. I'm on what is called, "The Red Road". It's what we natives call the spiritual path to the Creator of the Universe. In my culture the deer is a healing animal. It is both gentle and fierce. Much of life can be described as a gradual healing of the self. As far what that healing is, it depends on the person asking and what their experiences are. Being self employed gives me a lot time to think. I realize now that most of my life has been a series of distractions from what my real work on Earth is; which in my opinion is to mend and heal the connections between myself and the Creator. As I create more work I'll post more on this subject. I'm only mentioning it because I've been asked many times why I use the deer in my art. All forms of expression are ways of putting yourself out there. If you're honest with yourself, it makes what you create that much more powerful.
While making this piece I took photos of each stage of development. You can see the piece develop from beginning to end right here. Enjoy! Castillo Out