My friend Will recently called me asking me if I wanted to interview a young, fierce artist that he knows. He told me she would be exhibiting her work at the Young Artist Initiative event featuring some of Miami’s trendiest and trail blazing creative minds. He assured me that I would love her work. Curious to know more and always willing to meet new people, I agreed. Pulling up to the Edition Hotel, I made my way to Basement, Miami’s newest it lounge and a popular choice among the University of Miami scene -my alma mater. I saw much of what I expected – designer clad Millennials sipping on cocktails enjoying the artwork and the feeling that for the next few hours, their lives were their very own filtered work of art.
This brings me to Beca Castel, dressed in a head-to-toe glimmering gold romper. Immediately as I entered the room, my eyes set on her and the textured canvases she had on display. Here we all were in this bubble of glamour and here was Beca Castel’s artwork reflecting one of society’s greatest vices -the obsession with material and wealth. Now, I am not one to say wealth is wrong, but there is something to be said about how we treat wealth and how we allow it to change us, even consume us.
Everything about Beca was bold, from her paintings to her confidence, so I was surprised by her gentle voice and warm demeanor. She smiled and welcomed conversation with anyone who walked up to her. After speaking with her, I stepped back and stared at this one painting – an image of golden tears weeping across a once bare canvas. For a few seconds, the noise around me was tuned out as I stared -the way a writer often stereotypically does when life imitates art. I looked around the room. Much like her paintings, everyone around me looked absolutely beautiful, but all I could think about was the way the gold both stained and colored the once blank canvas -the way wealth touches our world.
Thank you to the amazing Beca Castel for the interview and for letting me peek inside your mind.
First off, I have to say congrats! Art Basel, The Miami New Times, The Young Artist Initiative…how are you feeling nowadays with all your success?
I am both blessed and humbled by all of this! Each accomplishment has been a stepping stone to reach my ultimate goal. It’s more than wanting to be famous; it’s about being a role model for others. As an artist you have the power to impact people’s perspectives. Let it be a positive one.
If you had to describe your artwork in one word, what word would you choose that best defines your style?
When did you decide you wanted to become an artist? Was there a time in which you doubted pursuing this path?
You don’t really choose to become an Artist. It chooses you. It’s more than a skill; it’s a way of being. About five years ago was when I decided that I wanted to make it more of a profession. You will always have doubts when pursuing your dreams. That is all part of the process. What is important is that you never lose sight of your purpose. Without art in my life, I feel empty. Being in that constant state of creativity fulfills me.
What do you think of the concept of fear? What role does it play in your life? What would you say scares you the most?
Fear is a part of the process of growth. It can either hinder or propel you to the next level. What scares me the most is not being prepared. I’ve learned in life that things are constantly changing and never going by plan. It’s losing that sense of control and trusting God that things will work themselves out.
Your artwork is in many ways a reflection of our millennial generation -the obsession with wealth, materialism, consumerism. One could say these factors have been flaws long rooted in humanity. What do you think makes our generation so different? How do you think your artwork reflects that?
It’s very apparent that technology has greatly impacted our generation. Social media is used as a platform to showcase our “material status.” We create and feed our alter ego through these things. Human behavior hasn’t changed. Gold was man’s first material obsession. I wanted to take it back to the beginning.
I have always found the most powerful art to have risen from some seed of pain or challenge. As an artist, what drives your creative impulse?
Life experiences drive my creative impulses. It’s a gateway to a person’s life and how they are either escaping or overcoming obstacles. Art is a reflection of a person’s soul.
In your bio, I loved your response to the person who asked you why you wanted to become an artist: ''The art scene has always been male dominated… I believe it’s time for an iconic female artist to lead the world and take the 21st century by storm..."
How would you define what it means to be an empowered woman? Has there been a woman who has inspired you and/or been a figure you look up to?
To be an empowered person is to obtain a relative degree of influence on others, your community and the world. Its about making decisions and acting effectively in order to obtain those goals. This shapes the person’s character and influences the degree in which they will be able to be an effective leader. The woman that gave me life has always inspired me. She is a fighter and has always persevered through every obstacle in her life. I look up to her as not just my mother but as my role model.
Our generation seems to be a paradox between the bold and the banal -the need to find freedom in innovation and creation vs. the need to seek credibility and please long established structures. As a new age artist, have you ever experienced this? If so, how do you think your artwork has been affected by the need to express and the pressure to please?
I toil with that concept on a daily basis. I have come to realize that you need to have a balance. If you want to be a financially successful artist, then you have to see your artwork as more than just a way to express yourself. Your artwork is a product. If you don’t want to live like a starving artist, you have to view it like this. A business or marketing degree will do you more justice, than an art degree will ever do. However during this process don’t lose yourself, stay consistent with your style and have fun!
For more information on Beca Castel and her work: