José Castiella

In his work, José Castiella (Pamplona, 1987) explores, through a constant speculation with his materials, the possibility of new life forms after collapse. This ongoing research reflects and expresses his own concerns regarding the unknown. He proposes the generation of a new world, as a way of mirroring the current one.

The artist's characters arise as a result of accident and chance in an entropic process in which poured paint and mark-making are transferred to the linen canvas on the floor of his studio. Once dried, and with the canvas on the wall, characters start to appear. This leads to a form of narration through representation. The paint itself suggesting life and content.

Castiella’s practice is rich in references to art history and popular culture alike. Each composition's population of paint-characters connects  conversely with Hieronymus Bosch and isometric RPG videogame aesthetics.  Likewise, the tragic-comic appearance of the work seems to undergo some of the cosmic terror of H.P Lovecraft, melted into the influence of Yōkai, Moebius, and Studio Ghibli anime.

This is a world with the appearance of sci-fi, that seems to tell us about our hidden impulses, an inner journey, or the fear of the unknown.


José Castiella studied Fine Arts at the University of the Basque Country and then completed his Masters in Fine Arts at Goldsmiths College in London. He currently lives and works between Madrid and Pamplona.

He has participated in individual and collective exhibitions in Spain, the UK and Mexico at Salón Acme (México 2019) Injuve Projects 2017 (2018), Galería libertad (México), Patio Herreriano de Valladolid (2014), Goldsmiths MFA Fine Art Degree (London, UK, 2014), Zona Arte Joven (Baluarte, Pamplona, 2013), Encuentros Navarra 2011 (Huarte Contemporary art centre), and Bedscapes (Guggenheim Bilbao, 2009). His work has been seen in international contemporary art fairs, such as London Art Fair (UK), Material (México DF), or Casa Leibniz (Madrid).