Artists take a road less traveled, and Constance Castillo of @artwithconstance on Instagram isn’t any different. Her journey has brought her all the way to the walls of the Goggle Campus in California.
As an abstract artist, as an abstract artist, Constance has had to figure out where her work fits in with traditional art sales, and discovered that it really doesn’t. So she’s created her own path to success. Constance told us she believes that there’s a place in the art-world for every artist, and all you have to do to be successful is find the right way to promote yourself.
What’s inspired you to pursue a career as an artist?
I studied Visual Arts at Columbia University, and it was there that I got to experiment with different styles of painting and take courses in Art History. Back then, I had a very distinct style, and I would plan paintings that took months to create.
One day, my mentor told me ‘paint what you want to paint, not what you think you should paint.’ From then on, I began painting in an immediate process, working with palette knives, in an abstract language.
My paintings are not realistic or conceptual, which makes it difficult for some people to realize the work that goes into them, but abstract art is about sensations, rather than physical alignments. Things like emotion and color have remained prominent as I evolve as an artist.
You’re actively promoting yourself on social media. Tell us some of the challenges you’ve faced along the way.
Staying authentic has been my biggest challenge on social media. As an artist, my message is about positivity, and I communicate that message visually, so I’ve had to turn down opportunities to work with companies that don’t quite fit my brand.
Responsibility in any visual media, whether it’s movies, TV, or social media, is important, and I try to promote the possibility that art can be impactful and also positive.
Anyone who posts on social media can be considered an influencer, because we all have an audience. For me that means keeping in mind that every post I make has a visual message, so I keep the same standards with brands on my social media as I would for a film – creating images of positivity. When I choose a brand to work with, it’s not only a product I love, but also a product that I can visually work into my content. I’ve resolved that staying authentic on social media is more important than taking every brand deal, because social media really is a part of my art.
How would you describe you social media strategy?
I initially used social media as a behind the scenes look at my process, and posted photos of my art. Now, I share anything from photos of my lifestyle, to experimental videos. I always try to inspire with whatever I post, but it’s not always art anymore.
Working with photographers has been some of the best opportunities I’ve had thanks to social media. I love to location scout and style photoshoots with them because it’s a lot like making a film, and I love that I can share those photos immediately and tell a story online.
Art is a powerful tool for communication. How do you want your art to be perceived?
I am an artist that uses traditional mediums of painting and my style of abstract art is very much influenced by art history and contemporary art. While artists working in more traditional mediums have found great success in the industry, more abstract artists, like myself, still struggle with isolation from the art community. I want other abstract artists like me to know that we do make valuable art, even if it’s not embraced so much in the traditional market.
My audience is full of people who are creatively expressing themselves, and I celebrate their work and the work of all abstract artists because it is often misunderstood.
My most important message is that an artist’s time, art, genius, health, well-being, and contributions do matter, even if their work is ‘avante-garde’ or controversial.
With social media evolving so quickly, how do you keep up?
I identify as a creator and I work in social media, so I’m always following trends relating to new platforms, or ways to grow my audience. There are so many apps out there that creators are building large fan bases on.
I read a news source called Tubefilter to keep up on changes to existing apps and emerging platforms. I also follow trends on YouTube and what creators are doing there, because once a trend starts to grow on YouTube, it’s probably already been around for a while in a some form of subculture. I’m starting to focus more on YouTube, because I see a lot of opportunity there. And it’s fun creating videos for my channel!
Who has most inspired your work?
Leonardo da Vinci, Pablo Picasso, and Claude Monet are artists whose work serves as an important influence to my own. Willem de Kooning is an abstract artist whose work also really inspires me. James Turrell makes contemporary art that I love. I also like to visit the Gagosian Gallery for inspiration.
Tell us about you work with Google.
It’s really nice being recognized by a large contemporary company. In today’s society, technology has such a huge role in both social media and innovation, so having their endorsement is a big deal.
Working with Google is an example of how important brands are to my art career, as brands have been one of the biggest supporters of my work.
Social media offers artists a new outlet to work with brands, and I think that brands’ roles in supporting not just artists but social media content creators as well is a big step forward for supporting creativity in our society. Featuring my paintings at Google’s Campus in Mountain View was really surreal because, come on, it’s Google. I thought, this may not be a gallery or museum but when you say Google to anyone you meet on the street, they know what you’re talking about.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever revieved?
Focus on your strengths.
A friend told me this a couple of years ago, and that’s when I really started to pay more attention to what I was doing on social media. I think that it’s easy to give motivation to others, and sometimes that’s very helpful, but when someone helps you realize that there is value in a hobby or passion of yours – that’s really life-changing.
I don’t know if I would have ever began to pursue social media as a part of my career if I didn’t realize that it was more than just a fun thing to do. It’s taken me on an amazing journey so far, with lots of new experiences, friends, and memories, so I’m excited for what’s to come!