Pablo Picasso, the world renowned Spanish artist, was the first to start pasting foreign materials to his Synthetic Cubism paintings. “Still Life with Chair Caning” from 1912 is the first such work in which he utilizes paper and rope as part of the work. One of the meanings of the Spanish word cola is glue and the word for glue in French is colle. Collage is derived from colle.
Since these early beginnings, the collage technique has been used by many artists. This idea of juxtaposing different materials, textures, and images together actually paved the way for the development of the Photomontage, which became one of Surrealism’s favorite mediums. In our contemporary world, photomontage, has become a standard approach to image making, especially now with digital imaging.
In Mario Castillo’s approach to collage making, he uses all kinds of materials. One of the qualities present in some of these collages is that he makes use of as many different types of media used in the Arts & Communications field for storing and recording data. One of the objectives here is to make reference to the “Now”, the Information Age, and the stimuli overload we get immersed in every day. To address this issue, some of the collage elements Mario Castillo has used for his work in the past are: video tape, audio tape, phonograph records, slides, photographs, movie film, photo copies, newspapers, magazines, prints, written letters, letters from the alphabet, paintings, and drawings. Keeping true to his Body Art influence, on some of these works he incorporates his own DNA, the physical ancestral bits of information which contains the ultimate image making capabilities. If he were to do this now, he would also incorporate CD’s, DVD’s, Memory Cards, and any new medium for the storage of data.
Another important aspect of most of these collages is the fact that Mario Castillo creates a direct relationship to his Instant Art period from the late 1960’s in which he used colored tape. For many of these he uses different types of tape and labels with adhesive backs to avoid using glue and thus make the process more instantaneous. One of the qualities about his Instant Art is that it is not supposed to last for posterity. So his use of non archival adhesive tapes and Avery labels stay true to the idea that everything eventually disintegrates. The deterioration process is built into the materials used.
Some of these collages tend to make use of symbolism while getting away from simply conveying emotions or moods. They start to acquire religious and mythological overtones. They begin to delve into the science of archeology while others become portraits. Mario Castillo’s Chupicuaro “Windows to the Mind” collage-painting was featured on national Spanish network TV in a Coca Cola commercial titled “El Sabor de America” from 1989 through 1991.