We had the good fortune of connecting with Claudia Castillo and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Claudia, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Risk taking is a part of life. Things happen in life that are unexpected and take us out of our planned path. One has to take risks to move forward beyond the moment and find new opportunities to create our destiny. In my life, I have taken risks that were uncertain, but I knew they were necessary for me to pursue what I really wanted for my career and life. I changed my career as a radio and television producer and left Colombia to come to this country to expand my studies and pursue a career as a designer and artist, which was something that I had always wanted to be. Though I navigated many challenges with this life and career change, my desire to succeed guided me and helped me overcome these challenges I never gave up. The risks that I took were well worth it, as I now have my family and my studio, which was a lifelong dream that I have fulfilled.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Well, as I mentioned I pursued a drastic career change when I moved to the United States. In Colombia, I had achieved a bachelor’s degree in communications from Pontifica Universidad Javeriana and worked as a radio and television producer. When I came to the United States, I studied art in the Finishing School, NY; Frank Monaco Gallery, and the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale. This allowed me to build my current career as an artist. My art is a process of transformation that starts with an inspired idea from the emotions evoked from nature, earth and water. The outcome is instinctive and spontaneous: simply colors and forms. In my work, I draw upon emotions and feelings to create my own sense of realism which is a transformative abstraction reflecting the unique reality of continual change. I founded Claudia Castillo ART studio, a boutique art gallery in the heart of Wilton Manors that provides a unique variety of quality original artwork, gifts, jewelry, and collectables for everyone. In addition to creating my art and managing my art gallery, I am very passionate about giving back and helping my community. I serve on the City of Wilton Manor’s Wilton Drive Improvement District, the Island City Art Advisory Committee, and other non-profit organizations to expand culture and art diversity.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
First I would set them up to stay at a very nice hotel in Fort Lauderdale Beach, where they would have a full view of the water and the Intracoastal. The week long itinerary would definitely include: – Day trip to Miami to see South Beach, Wynwood, Miami Design District, Viscaya, Star Island, and definitely Calle Ocho, where we would eat at the classic Cuban restaurant, Versailles. We would order ‘lechon asado’ (Cuban pork) with white rice, black bean and Cuban plantains. Dessert would have to be ‘tres leches’ (three milks dessert), of course, and cafecito. – In Fort Lauderdale we would spend the day on Las Olas, shopping, sipping margaritas, and visiting the Bonnet House, and then at night have dinner at Lauderdale by the Sea before finishing the evening at Wilton Drive. Hopefully it would be the Halloween or Stonewall holiday and the streets would be closed in Wilton Drive, so that we can enjoy the music and festival activities. – Shopping of course would be at the Galleria Mall, Sawgrass and Aventura Malls for a full day. – One full day and night we would be at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino and book one night at the guitar hotel. One or two days would have to be dedicated fully to seeing all of the wonderful museums in South Florida, such as the NSU Art Museum, the Museum of Discovery & Science, Stonewall National Museum, Norton Museum, ICA Miami, Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science, Perez Art Museum Miami, and Miami Children’s Museum. – The last day we would travel to Worth Avenue in Palm Beach spend time at the beach, lunch at the Breakers Hotel, and end with Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My family means the world to me. They have supported me in every endeavor that I have chosen to pursue. Their encouragement, love, faith in me, and continued support and belief in my ideas has been the foundation that has given me strength. Especially this year, I can say that my faith, my family, and our health are truly the most important things I have.
– Kathi Henriksen (image with children & City of Wilton Manors Commissioners) – Photo in the Pelican Newspaper Article is credit to Gallery 21 | Wilton Manors – Remaining images were by Claudia Castillo ART studio