After more than a year of waiting to see a live performance worthy of my time and attention, I finally struck gold with Joe Castillo on Friday, May 3, 2013 at the Maxwell C. King Center for the Performing Arts in Melbourne. Brought to the forefront of public attention after his success on America’s Got Talent, Joe Castillo has become known as the “sand artist.” And for good reason. His ability to tell a story using sand on a lighted horizontal easel translated well to a live television audience during his run on American’s Got Talent, but to see Joe Castillo perform live, exemplified his unique artistic talents to a theater audience comprised of young and old.
Sponsored in part by the Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church, the King Center’s evening with Joe Castillo featured God’s Love Story as told through the hands of a preeminent artist. Set to music the audience could identify with, Joe opened with several sand murals, created in real time behind a camera-mounted light table, which projected his sand art on a giant monitor. Viewable from every seat in the house, the images sprung to life as Joe channeled his imagination to transform the powered sand into original works of art. Landscapes, faces, and historic monuments emerged from a minced tapestry as if the image themselves had been fossilized beforehand and merely uncovered for all to see.
Between performances, Joe shared snippets of his life from his early studies at the Ringling School of Art, through his calling to the Florida Bible College, and finally, how he came to appear on live television. A man of humble beginnings, Joe reminded me of the late Bob Ross from the old PBS television show, The Joy of Painting. A man who spoke of his admiration for da Vinci and Michelangelo, Joe Castillo may one day find his name among those he reveres with his effortless ability to transform ordinary sand into something extraordinary. I found his performance inspirational and entertaining. In my book, that’s what great art is all about.