Capturing the Aesthetics of the Urban Past with Tomas Castano

Capturing the Aesthetics of the Urban Past with Tomas Castano

February 07, 2019

Tomas Castano's work is characterized by a serene and poetic realism, which translates the delight of the artist in the expression of streets, buildings and facades with character. His paintings capture the magic of the aesthetics of the old, and transmit all the warmth and humanization of environments not transformed by current life.

To view Tomas's full collection click - The Online Art Gallery of Tomas Castano

He has shown his work in group exhibitions in several countries such as Germany, Holland, USA, France, Sweden, Portugal, Romania, Ireland, England, Argentina, Japan, Italy, Korea, Taiwan and numerous solo and group exhibitions in Spanish territory. He has represented Cantabria in the Biennial of Florence in the 2005 edition. His work is recognized by the peculiar style and atmosphere that he creates in the finishing of his series of old taverns.

Spanish artist, Tomas Castano


What initially drew you towards becoming an artist?

Since I was a child I liked drawing and at 16 I started working with wax paint and from that age I have not stopped painting.

How would you describe your own personal style?

My style is of the purest realism, with a particular technique to create atmospheres that give life to my urban landscapes, according to some art critics.

What pushed you in that direction and how can you see your work evolving in the future?

My first exhibition in Madrid about the urban landscape determined the direction to follow, since it led to great sales and critical success and made me specialize in this subject.

"Barber Shop, 1930's New York", Tomas Castano, Oil on Canvas. 2018 


What inspires you in your work, is there a driving factor that draws you to the easel?

The ancient architecture that is preserved in some cities, shops, bars and other shops of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Are there particular individuals who have encouraged / inspired you along the way, friends, family, teachers, maybe even other artists?

I have always had the support of the family and criticisms and comments about my exhibitions have contributed to continue this activity.

When it comes to creating your work, do you have a preferred medium, certain types of brushes or tools you love to use?

I usually work on canvas and as tools use different brushes, especially the spatula to which I give great importance in the finishing of my works.

"Cranes at Sunset", Tomas Castano, Oil on Canvas, 30cm x 60cm, 2015 


When it comes to the subject matter of your work, what draws you to those themes?

As I mentioned earlier, the facades of old shops is the theme that most attracts me. I intend that my work serves to show the new generations the way of life of our ancestors.

Could you describe the process behind your art? How do you get from concept to execution?

For my style of painting, the process is very simple, it's just about painting what we all see and as we see it, giving it a personal touch.

Could you describe your normal day as an artist? Have you set routines and rituals or is a more a case of when the moment is right you work?

I do not have a defined routine or a schedule to work, usually I paint in the afternoon.

"Blue Car, Old Havana", Tomas Castaño, Oil on Canvas, 81cm x 65cm, 2018


When you work, do you focus on one piece at a time until completion or are you working on multiple pieces at the same time?

Normally I work two works at the same time, alternating depending on the drying time.

How has your art evolved to be where it is today?

My art has not had a great evolution, I simply limit myself to maintain a quality in the execution of the works and apply the experience acquired during so many years.

Which of your artworks are you most proud off?

My work entitled "Brave Bull" is the one that has given me the most satisfaction, I was finalist in Art Revolution Taipei 2016, Cover of a book published in Holland, soon it will also be cover of an album of a legendary rock band from Chicago and painting It was bought by a Boston collector.

Tomas Castano's "Brave Bull" - cover of 'De Grond Onder Onze Voeten


Is there a fellow artist alive today that you admire? If so, why?

Antonio López, creator of the current pictorial "New realism Madrid" with which I identify.

If you could travel back in time, is there a particular artistic period / era that you would like to have been involved in?

End of the 19th century in France, the time of the birth of impressionism.

What challenges do you feel the 21st century artist has to overcome?

The global crisis has put a brake on the future of artists, since the disappearance of the middle class in much of the world has caused a significant drop in sales and without sales there is no future.

What advice would you give to a young aspiring artist currently studying art?

Learn to draw, since it is the base of a good painting and today in art schools they give more value to creation and the imagination, rather than to good formation that comes from the drawing.

"Red Smoke", Tomas Castano, Oil on Canvas, 50cm x 50cm, 2015


Despite having developed your own distinctive style, is there another style of art that you are immediately drawn towards and admire? Why?

I'm not attracted to another style, I've done some works within abstraction, but I'm not comfortable.

We have all heard of the unfinished masterpiece, even Da Vinci laboured away at the Mona Lisa for years and years, have you works that are in a continual process of evolution? When working on an artwork do you find it hard to let go? Knowing when enough is enough?

It is true and more when it comes to realistic painting, you never find the time to end it. I have some works that with the passage of time I have reformed to find defects that I did not see initially.

Many people see artists as storytellers or advocates for a cause, do you believe that it is an artist’s responsibility to shine a light on a particular subject / theme, or do you create purely for the sake of expression your creative nature?

In my works I defend the defense and conservation of the old architectures, which unfortunately the political leaders do nothing to prevent their disappearance.

"Bazar Jose Pardo Avila, Spain", Tomas Castano, Oil on Canvas, 2004


What are you working on at the moment?

In a series dedicated to the internationally recognized poet GARCIA LORCA, these are illustrations for the next reissue of the book "Lorca poet in New York".

Have you ever been part of an artistic group / movement? How did your work benefit from that experience?

Several years ago I was part of a group called "Friends of Realism", but it did not bring me any benefit.

When is your next exhibition? Is it a solo or group exhibition? Could you tell us a little about the exhibition, when and where it is?

My next exhibition is collective, it is a sample of the finalist works of ART REVOLUTION TAIPEI 2019 (Taiwan) from April 26 to 29, date in which the winner will be announced.


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