A METEORIC RISE
In 1964, a European Swiss jewelry designer store owner Levy Hermanos, of Estrella del Norte (a Philippine-based shop whose main branches were in Paris and New York) invited a young juvenile delinquent to design jewellery on the spot. In twenty minutes, the young man finished seven designs in full color. The European was astounded by the output, signed the young man in to work at his shop with the instruction to create anything he wanted and never to follow the trend.
This fateful meeting began the career of one of Asia’s most progressive and original sculptors, Eduardo Castrillo. One instant, he was a youth unsure of what to do with himself; the next, he was a celebrated sculptor. In 1966, Castrillo broke into the contemporary art scene in an exhibition that caused a stir as critics had difficulty categorizing the range of his works. That year also marked the beginning of the trail of collectors to his atelier and international opportunities. Five years later, at the age of twenty-nine he would receive the city’s highest art awards, The Araw ng Maynila Centennial Award, the Jaycees Ten Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) Award, and the outstanding Makati Resident Award as well as the nation’s top award, the Republic Cultural Heritage Award bestowed on artists of national prominence. From his entry into art through the metier of the intricacies of jewellery design, Castrillo moved from strength to strength, becoming the forerunner in all-metal (bronze and brass) sculpture mixed with non-traditional media such as plexiglass, neon lights, ivory and wood, in both the abstract and figurative expressionist styles.
BEYOND THE SHORES
Foreign governments like Japan, Australia, the United States, India and Germany were quick to invite Castrillo for cultural visits and lectures. It was exposure to India and other parts of Southeast Asia that Castrillo was infused with the cultural skeleton of an ancient Asian culture which became his foundation upon which to challenge the pervasive influences of western art.
STRENGTHENING THE ROOTS
Despite major offers in the United States, Castrillo decided to go back to the Philippines at a time when political turmoil of Martial Law existed in his country. Castrillo’s vision is to celebrate the greatness of his race, as a reflection of the best that humanity can aspire to. Castrillo felt he had to heed an inner calling to bring hope and awareness back to his people. He did this by proliferating the country with monuments of heroes that reflected the spirit of valour and national pride. To date, the sculptor has created more than 30 historical cultural heritage monuments all over the Philippines.
"Life is actually art. Since we were born, we were engrossed in the drama of life and our relationship with each other. So art expresses life and vice-versa. Many people do not realize this. They think material things and power are the most important things...these - they cannot carry to their grave."
- Eduardo Castrillo