We had the good fortune of connecting with Polaris Castillo and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Polaris, can you tell us more about your background and the role it’s played in shaping who you are today?
I’m a Chicano working in Los Angeles, California. My parents came here from Mexico in the 80’s, and they’ve instilled a powerful, cultural and healing drive in me that fuels a lot of my work today. It is incredibly important to keep a strong connection with our ancestry. To remember where we come from and who we are is the only way to know where we are going. As a Mexican-American of Mexica/Yaqui descent, I pour a lot of my heritage into my art as a means of cultural identity, as a form of healing, as a way of decolonizing, and as an outlet to express the deep cosmos of my heart.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’m most proud about the steps I’ve taken in exploring who I am. What’s my heritage, my lineage, my history? How can the paths of my ancestors guide me with where I’m going next? I pride myself in being a modern day Tlahcuilo, the Nahuatl translation for someone who records the zeitgeist of the times through art. Because of this sacred duty racing through my veins, I see modern challenges as just obstacles to overcome.
I want to express the world as it affects me. The way it should be, in my eyes, and not the way it is.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I’d take them to the Museum of Jurassic Technology in Culver City for some unusual artifiacts, Quentin Tarantino’s New Beverly theater for a matinee screening of a classic film in 35mm, charcuterie boards at Mignon in DTLA, a walk through the Arts District, and picnics at the Arlington Gardens in Pasadena.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I give all the credit to my parents and all the support they’ve given me. They knew nothing of the art and film world, and I can’t imagine how terrifying it might be to have their child venture into a risky world they don’t understand. But they’ve let me run with it since I was a kid.
Portrait of Polaris Castillo shot by Chad Marshall Art work by Polaris Castillo