With the beautiful weather and lackluster spirit for celebrating the 4th of July this summer because of the Coronavirus, many people are finding creative ways to commemorate the holiday. Among them is an international artist, Xavier Castellanos.
In the morning hours, he sent out emails to his patrons and clients wishing them a Happy 4th of July with a portfolio of his colorful paintings for sale. Each of his works featured in the email spotlight a San Francisco in happier times, especially on Independence Day.
Even though as most San Franciscans know July is the foggiest month of the year, celebrations go on just the same. And when San Francisco celebrates Independence Day it does so on many levels, reflecting all the diversity of its people.
Castellanos’ offering is a recollection of the spirit of not just San Francisco, but of the United States at an ideal best – bright and hopeful. Eclectic by nature, Castellanos has been painting since age 4. He had his first solo exhibit at age 16.
After a series of successful exhibits, he won public acclaim and admission into the Mexican art circles. His works are held in some museums and in numerous private and corporate collections.
Described by some as a “unique blend” Castellanos has always been a citizen of the world. Swiss born and raised, French educated, much of what he paints is Mexican in design and thought. Contrary to what has been depicted in the media and mainstream American culture, Mexico is a diverse and complex culture, this especially so when visiting Mexico City. This is something that Castellanos treasures about Mexican culture and society.
The complexity of Mexico is something that the Consulate General of Mexico in San Francisco has been working very dedicatedly at to convey to the public. Through art installations as well as well-collaborated festivals; like the Mex I am Festival.
Castellanos was among the many artists featured from time to time along the walls of the interior offices of the consulate, when he was living in San Francisco more than seven years ago. Yet like any very gifted artist, he is not confined to anyone place or structure.
He lived five years in New York City, and over half of his life in San Francisco, California. He lives now between Mexico and in Europe (in the Fall) where he paints and exhibits. Of course, since the ‘Secure In Place’ protocol, Castellanos has had lots of time and opportunity in sequestered moments to attend to his artistic endeavors in new ways, like so many people are doing.
Being multilingual, Castellanos has had the opportunity to display his works in a variety of cultural venues, sometimes having a display at a French-speaking venue and then at a Spanish-speaking venue, simultaneously.
His talent has received recognition from masters such as Jose Luis Cuevas and Raul Anguiano. Since 1989 he has done more than 70 one-artist shows in the United States, Mexico and Europe, and has participated in more than 70 group exhibitions in various places the world.
Taking a moment to reflect on his career thus far, especially of his time in San Francisco he noted. “I love SF but it hurts me to remember all the good times I had there.”
Over seven years ago back in 2012-13 Castellanos was very busy displaying his art in places like the Alliance Francaise and in the City’s Mission District. Like many artists and performers, the rising costs of living and real estate made galleries and venues less affordable to most artists.
This did not deter Castellanos who managed to get his work shown, even in places outside of San Francisco like at the Center for Latin American Studies at the University of California at Berkeley. His multicultural eclecticism certainly helped. But even with those connections delicately established with the City’s French and Latino communities, he had to do most of the promoting and coordinating himself.
This is perhaps why Castellano is unabashed at reaching out to patrons, clients and associates directly to stir up interest in his art. In his greetings this morning he said both in Spanish and then in English.
“Deseandoles lo mejor por estos tiempos de prueba, con carino -Wishing you the best in these trying (hard) times.”
His greetings perhaps could not arrive at a more appropriate time, during a summer of unrest, offering a glimpse of his happy memories through his art, a San Francisco that shines. To learn more about the artist Xavier Castallanos and his landscape paintings visit his web site.