Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2020-02-19
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



Aldo Castillo Gallery Marks 10 Years
by Andrew Davis

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

To say that Aldo Castillo has lived a colorful life would be an understatement.

The award-winning director of an eponymous Chicago art gallery was born in Nicaragua in the midst of a civil war. Instead of becoming embroiled in armed conflict, however, Castillo found solace in art, architecture and graphic design in Guatemala.

Castillo arrived in the United States in 1985 and studied at The School of the Art Institute in Chicago. After being granted political asylum in 1986, he worked for various companies and, in 1993, founded The Aldo Castillo Gallery, which specializes in Latin American art.

A tireless human-rights activist, Castillo has collaborated with entities such as AIDS Foundation of Chicago, the Nelson Mandela Children's Foundation and The Chicago Latino Cultural Center.

Windy City Times: You're celebrating your 10th anniversary this year. Are you where you thought you would be 10 years after starting the gallery?

Aldo Castillo: As a kid, I had dreams and knew what I wanted to accomplish. I believe that life will deliver whatever you ask for, so the answer is yes. I visualized where I wanted to be and here I am.

WCT: And where do you visualize yourself 10 years from now?

AC: That is a very good question. When you celebrate a mark, you automatically think about what is next—and this celebration is because the gallery is going through a new phase. I want to narrow things down to the business of art. I want to provide a venue and economic resources for artists. Historically, artists have struggled and, as you know, art is something we need to preserve—like an [endangered] animal.

WCT: How do you know when you see something you like or when something stirs a feeling within you?

AC: The honest answer is that everything you like is very personal, based on your experiences, development and exposure.

It's [interesting] how important art education is. Through the visual arts, I can actually measure how intelligent humans can be. When I first see a piece of art, I see how an artist can present an already exposed idea in a thoroughly new dimension; it can capture your attention and imagination. Then you look at things like technique and presentation and you realize the level of the [artist's] commitment. So I'm blown away by the quality and message of the work. I'd like to think that I'm turned on by the intellect associated with a piece of art.

WCT: Do you remember the first piece of art that blew you away?

AC: Yes. It was the Parthenon. In my art history book in elementary school, I saw a picture of it and spent weeks drawing it. I didn't know I was an artist then. I loved everything that went into the Parthenon: the architecture and the history.

As I got more involved in art, I saw the works of Gaugain and Van Gogh, the typical European artists we all know. They had new philosophies.

WCT: Do you want to talk at all about the circumstances that brought you to this country from Nicaragua?

AC: Before, it was really easy for talk about it because I was really angry, but I'm over that. It was so many years ago. The only thing I can tell you today is that I'm always suspicious of the United States government. The Nicaraguan dictatorship tortured and killed thousands of people. The revolution overthrew the dictatorship and Reagan and Bush didn't like it so they created the contra revolution. 250,000 people died. So when I see things like the Iraq situation, I'm suspicious.

WCT: Let's get back to art. Do you still have people who will go to someone's home and recommend a piece of art?

AC: Yes. It's a common service of galleries.

I originally wanted to make this a non-profit gallery, but politics [are often involved]. What I wanted to do was provide exposure for Latin American artists in a city I absolutely adore. I always consider Paris, London, New York City and Chicago to be four incredible destinations.

WCT: What do you like about Chicago?

AC: (Smiles) Well, you're gonna laugh. Chicago is full of fascinating stories, like about [gangsters]. But I love the architecture and the people are kind and gentle, like in a small town.

WCT: What does it mean to you to be able to support Latin American artists?

AC: It means a lot. This is one of the most powerful countries in the world, yet it needs a lot of work. Power and money don't give you everything. There's judgment about race. The healthcare system [is not the best].

I see how ignorant some people can be; some people actually think that 'Latino' is a race and we're not a race. It's 'Latino' because we speak Spanish. If you ask me what my race is, I honestly do not know. A lot of people are mixed; we call ourselves 'mestizos' but when we come here we have to deal with labels.

It was important [to have the gallery] because there's confusion in the world and we need to clarify things. The arts give you room to talk about any issue.

To me, there's no such thing as African art and Latin art—it's just art.

WCT: Let's talk about technology. How has it helped your business?

AC: Well, technology is key in my business. It allows for my connections all over the world with the media. I can broadcast everything about the gallery (like the history and inventory) over the Internet. It's easy to [conduct transactions] with the computer. The most important things are that I'm able to display more than 500 pages on my Web site and that I can communicate with thousands of people around the world.

[Strangely,] Chicago is where I have faced the most opposition. Like Art Chicago has rejected me eight times in a year [regarding participating in the Art Fair]; they said they didn't have enough space. [Also,] Alan Artner, the main art critic from the Chicago Tribune, has refused, in 10 years, to review any Latin artists at the gallery—but he did come once to review an artist from South Africa. [Through technology] I can highlight all areas. I want to integrate, not separate.

WCT: Do you have a favorite art form?

AC: No, I don't have a favorite thing. I'm so glad you ask me questions like that. My main thing is doing sculptures but I appreciate what other people do. [For example,] dance is amazing. I look at the Joffrey Ballet, River North Dance Company and the Joel Hall Dance Company and they take my breath away.

However, I'm very tactile. I like art forms that involve touching. Even with my lovers, I explain to them that they're going to be touched a lot and it drives them crazy.

You can view the fine works of art at The Aldo Castillo Gallery at 233 W. Huron St. in Chicago or you can check out . Tickets to the 10th anniversary celebration May 31, with guest speaker Ald. Tom Tunney, are $75 per person, $125 per couple and $35 for Aldo Castillo Art Club members.

This article also appeared in the May 14 Windy City Times Business & Technology series, sponsored by IBM.

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

MUSIC Pink Avalanche; Waldo Fest Forever; Alice Merton 2019-04-30 - April had more than a few surprises for music fans and a whiff of what springtime in Chicago could be. First up was ...

Gay News

LGBTQI-inclusive initiatives at Urban Prairie Waldorf School 2018-05-18 - Urban Prairie Waldorf School on Chicago's Southwest Side began more than a decade ago with the goal of educating students from early childhood ...

Gay News

Council approves LGBT-friendly Pennycuff-Castillo residences, plaza 2016-12-14 - The Chicago City Council, on Dec. 14, approved borrowing of $16 million for LGBT-residences in Logan Square. The complex, located at 2033 ...

Gay News

Castillo speaks on progress of LGBT residences 2016-12-07 - According to activist Robert Castillo, having the new LGBT-friendly residential development that carries both his name, and the name of his late husband, ...

Gay News

Castillo-Pennycuff project meeting Nov. 29 2016-11-22 - A community meeting on the Castillo-Pennycuff housing project will take place Tuesday, Nov. 29, at Concord Music Hall, 2047 N. Milwaukee Ave., at ...

Gay News

Castillo-Pennycuff project meeting Nov. 15 2016-10-30 - A community meeting on the Castillo-Pennycuff housing project will take place Tuesday, Nov. 15, at Concord Music Hall, 2047 N. Milwaukee Ave., at ...

Gay News

Mama, Mi'Jo, and Me: Ana Castillo explains herself in memoir 'Black Dove' 2016-04-27 - Celebrated Latina author and feminist Ana Castillo is a woman of many identities—some acknowledged and lauded, some unspoken. "I'm not really sure ...

Gay News

NUNN ON ONE: THEATER Raul Castillo: From 'Lampshade' to 'Looking' 2015-04-29 - Teatro Vista is bringing a new production to life with the help of actor/writer Raul Castillo. Set in a trailer home, Between You, ...

Gay News

Dining news: Waldorf's new chef; Jane's for sale; Indiana pizzeria 2015-04-14 - —The Waldorf Astoria Chicago announced that Michael Vaughn will lead the culinary team as executive chef. Vaughn, a Chicago native, will oversee all ...

Gay News

Raul Castillo's 'Maiden' voyage 2014-07-08 - Raul Castillo latest endeavor brings him to Chicago, starring in Death and the Maiden, in which he plays Gerardo Escobar. The co-star of ...


Copyright © 2020 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.







About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.