Abstract Portraits by Andrea Castro
We are faced with people every day, from the moment we wake up to the moment we go to sleep. Faces form a part of our lives, but sometimes we forget to look deeper. This is the sentiment Andrea Castro wants to highlight in her work. The Spanish artist creates incredibly vibrant portraits that capture the realness of people but with an abstract edge.
“I paint that piece of blurry memory of a hot summer night,” she says, going on to add that she imbues each piece with a “cascade of emotions”, showing the spirit behind people’s eyes.
Andrea Castro’s works are executed using oil paints, a medium which she claims is her microphone. Art, for Castro, is more than creating pretty pictures. It is something that helps her translate emotions and make sense of the world in the form of a visual diary, where each piece boasts its own narrative lurking beneath its colourful surface.
Castro got into art at school after being inspired by a girl in her class who drew manga characters. Over time, she developed a technique that sits on the crux between realism and abstract. “As I was learning how to draw and paint I ended up being very meticulous,” says Castro, a skill that’s easily identifiable in her highly-detailed pieces. But she wanted to move away from simply recreating lifelike images and strived to add something deeper to every piece: “At some point I realized I had the ability to copy practically any image I saw, but I wasn’t expressing anything.”
This led to her experimenting with colours and shapes to add layers of meaning to each painting. It is the faces that dominate Andrea Castro’s work, though; faces that are familiar yet alien; faces of people we don’t know but who we can relate to and resonate with. “I like painting people I don’t know because I use them to create a personal character and a story,” she says. For inspiration, Castro looks to artists that have informed her practice: Sally Hewett for her embroidery and stitch work, and Winston Chmielinski for his use of colour and vivid brushstrokes.
To create each piece, Castro begins by collecting anecdotes from around her. These might be stories people share or a conversation she’s overheard. She then experiments with visualising these stories by splashing them onto the canvas.
From there, Andrea Castro might add some finer detailing, like embroidery to bring out specific points or pencils to go deeper into a section. It is always about experimentation, where every piece evolves into a more abstract version of its former self. “It’s still a work in progress,” she says.
Castro claims it is only when the painting is finished that its true meaning is revealed to her. At this point, she can see whether the narrative used brings out joy, sorrow, or courage to the viewer. It is the heavy use of emotion that makes Castro’s work so eye-catching. It is not just a collection of simple portrait pieces. Instead, it is a collection of stories, ideas, and feelings.
Enjoy the Track “Dreaming Airport” by Ivy Meadows while viewing the additional works below
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