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Joe Castro is an accomplished Philadelphia-based collage artist, musician (The Lift Up), oil painter and graphic designer. His paintings and collages have been shown in galleries and art spaces across the United States, Canada, and Europe. They have been described as “a controlled explosion, aggressive and pensive (Kolaj Magazine)”.
He is a signature member of the National Collage Society (USA).
Born in New York, he spent his formative years in Delaware where he was the guitar player in several bands including the critically acclaimed The Situation. Formed in 2001, The Situation signed with Elephant Stone records in 2004, releasing The Reece Nasty EP, followed by their self-titled full length in 2006, both garnered critical praise from Pitchfork, The Big Takeover, Skyscraper and Magnet. The band toured the states and opened for bands such as The Strokes, The Libertines, Ash, Nada Surf, Brian Jonestown Massacre and Arthur Lee & Love. Their music has been featured on shows for both MTV and Fuel TV. The group disbanded in 2006.
Taking a keen interest in the visual representation of the band, he was responsible for most of the group’s flyers and album graphics and soon found he was receiving as much notice for his art and t-shirt designs as for his guitar playing and, in 2006, he began to show his artwork in local galleries.
To The Mighty Joe Castro, it’s the stark, graphic nature of collage art that attracts him. He has always been interested in graphic design, especially design from the 1950s and 1960s and many of his pieces use images taken from that era. He also thinks the whole process is playful – cutting up magazines and glueing them down. It’s very child-like in a way.
Joe thinks collage art is much more cerebral and calculated than other art forms. Photography is instantaneous – you capture the moment. With painting, you’re creating something from nothing, it’s more expressive – the pressure of the brush stroke can wield a great influence. With my collage art, I’m constantly moving pieces of paper around, trying to find images that work with or against each other. It’s a slower process which is very analytical.
Joe Castros artwork has been featured in the books The Age of Collage: Contemporary Collage in Modern Art (Gestalten), Z2A: A Collage Alphabet (Benzene Editions) 50/50 (Collage Collective Co./Hanker Magazine), Kolaj Magazine (issue 8), GQ Style (Germany), Glamour (Germany), FABA Collage Art Mag (issue 2), The Artist Catalogue (cover artist – Fall 2013), Color Magazine (Canada).
He has also designed gig posters for bands such as The Districts, She & Him, Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Delta Spirit, Sturgill Simpson, Echo and the Bunnymen, Death Cab for Cutie and Pavement.
Castro’s interview with Kids of Dada magazine