Gillian Castellino - Artist Statement

By Gillian Valladares Castellino

This is the statement I will be submitting for the exhibition. It basically summarises my motivations as an artist: (Take 3 - decided to go with this one :)

Art is my friend. It is something I do to keep centred. To connect with that part of myself that does not find place or validation in the work-day world. This is my impetus for practising art: I am interested in art-making as a vehicle for connecting with spirit and as a means of empowerment.

As an artist, I am self-taught. Art was a form of ‘play’ that I loved as a child, but left behind when life intervened. Around the start of the millennium, I found myself habitually emerging from art stores with an empty wallet and stacks of books and art equipment which I hadn’t the faintest idea how to use. I cut a deal with myself - I would either use the stuff or give it away. That night I did my first canvas – an orgy of colours and shapes that would have embarrassed even my 10-year-old self. I emerged from the process feeling lighter than I had in years. A landslide of pent-up creativity had found release

I do not plan my art. I simply follow my hunches and enjoy what unfolds. This is a throwback to my beginnings in India, where life is a visual and sensual riot and plans often have to make way for chaos which has a rationale and beauty of its own. This translates into a visual smorgasbord – of fabrics, weaves and embroideries, kitsch and folk art, puppets, kites, dolls, wooden objects, paper and clay toys, village furniture, musical instruments, cooking implements, beads and bangles… an iconography I employ in my art-making. Another aspect of my Indian up-bringing, which percolates into my approach to art, is the desire to move beyond the external, past texture, colour and design and to use art as means of expressing a connection with the sacred. This idea that has come to be reinforced when travelling through the ethereal beauty of the Australian bush. Layered on top of all that are a mosaic of images relating to my current life - quilt shops and country bakeries, suburbia and footy, cafes and bookshops, deliverables and deadlines. I blog my ideas and interests, at

Realism is not a major aspect my artistic vocabulary. What really excites me, are different interpretations of ‘essence’, explicit in the style and work of Picasso, Salvador Dali, Kadinsky, Chagall, Frida Kahlo, Katsushika Hokusai, Grace Cossington-Smith, Margaret Ollie and Brett Whiteley. I believe that art is not restricted to traditional media but is also apparent in the design and layout of say - a garden intended to clean-up an abandoned industrial estate, or in mirrors and coins embroidered into the blouse of gypsy woman, or in mandalas and masks, icons and prayer flags – all the bits and bobs which help us enjoy and celebrate diversity and beauty of the world we live in…..

If you would like to contact me, please email


  1. Good luck Jill! Your exhibition WILL be a hit!! You have written straight from the heart and I hope that your artwork will appeal to all the artlovers out there. All the very best to you and your team, Love, Joan


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