Each year Visible Ink offer opportunities for young and emerging artists to have space, resources and mentoring to develop their practice. The Developing Artist in Residence (DAIR) works closely with VI staff to curate exhibitions, facilitate workshops for other young people and produce their own works, showcasing them at various venues across Brisbane. With that in mind, we’d love to introduce you to Skyler Castillo: artist, dabbler, and Visible Ink’s DAIR for 2018.
Just 20 years old, into sketching, film and aesthetics, Skyler Castillo has become a regular fixture around Visible Ink, starting out as a volunteer at Brisbane Youth Week and going on to co-found a monthly creatives meet-up, KISVIS. Her passion for creation, motivation to learn, and open, friendly approach to collaboration make working alongside Skyler a lot of fun and we love having her around the space.
So how did you first hear about Visible Ink?
I first found Visible Ink through my school. We were just having a day trip around the city and from the second I was introduced to the space I fell in love with the chill atmosphere. They [Visible Ink] haven’t been able to get rid of me since. I use the space mostly just to develop my skills as an artist by hopefully working on bigger and bigger projects as well as collaborating with other artists.
What does developing your skills mean for you project-wise and how does that relate to being an artist?
Well currently I’m working on building up my portfolio of work. I’m hoping to work in the Art and Graphics industries in Melbourne at some point, although really I’m kind of just winging it. I’m an artist at heart. I’m just your stereotypical struggling paint nerd and I wouldn’t have it any other way. There’s a saying “What’s bad for your heart, is good for your art.” and I think finding ways to get around a barrier or block is what makes artworks so good. Plus let’s be real, drawing a pretty picture is pretty dang cool.
What would you say led you to where you are today? How was it that you got started?
Probably growing up in an uneasy neighbourhood with little-to-no money, yet I always found a way to do art. I’d borrow friends colouring pencils overnight and ask the teachers for printer paper to make my own sketchbooks. I’ve just always enjoyed being creative so I’ve never let anything get in the way of that. I think this has also incorporated it’s way into my work as far as subject matter goes, I’ve been inspired by almost anything that nobody else sees. Trying to explain things to people can only go so far – and I’ve never been great at describing things – so to me it’s more meaningful to create the visual representation of the warm rays of the sun through leaves or the black abyss, then to merely say it in words which would just sound off and cringe.
If you’re passionate, you’ll find a way. Just keep at it. There’s advice people just don’t give you about starting out or deciding on a direction. So in the end practice makes all the difference, even if it’s just doodling every other day. If it’s finding time do draw, paint, create on the bus or train, while talking to people, while drinking coffee, there’s always five minutes you can doodle on a piece of paper. And if it’s materials holding you back, there’s heaps of free ways to get what you need. Volunteering at events or finding youth spaces like Visible Ink – almost all are equipped with art supplies – even at your school, ask your teachers if they can help by making it a part of your school work somehow. There are plenty of opportunities to volunteer and do a project for free to gain experience and see where that leads you. Brisbane is surprisingly filled with opportunities.
Other than hanging out at Vis Ink, what else do you get up to?
Most of my hobbies are creative as well. I do film projects here and there. Recently I have been dabbling into photography, which started just as a reference platform for my art but I fell in love with it after learning from photographers like Peter McKinnon and Mango Street. I’m also a terrible drummer but it’s fun and hot damn, it lets off steam!
You can find me on instagram @kitten_phlegm.
If you’re in and around Visible Ink feel free to say hi to Skyler, and we’ll keep you posted with not only her story but any events, exhibitions or workshops run by DAIR.