Niclas Castello

Early Life
Niclas Castello was born in East Germany in 1978 during the Cold War.The political background in which he grows up is extremely painful: the extremely coercive Soviet regime deprives him of the typical carefree life that we imagine a child could have.As he grew up, he began to cultivate a discomfort that repressed him in every aspect. Despite the fact that his dream of becoming a professional footballer stimulated him greatly, he could not give himself peace seeing the hostility of the city towards him, full of stock buildings that prevented him from dreaming of any other future than the greyness of Neuhaus am Rennweg, his home town.It was in 1989 that, with the collapse of the Berlin Wall, 11-year-old Niclas Castello felt reborn: and with the fall of the wall, the greyness inside Niclas also began to fall, a world of creativity, colours, shapes, experiences, travel opened up for him.

Berlin wall
Castello always had understanding parents, that supported him in following his dreams and aspirations. As he began to discover the reality in the west, he realised that his ambitions were far removed from the world of football: America was finally a territory where Niclas could research and experiment.Castello tries to explore the Berlin of the late 1990s, discovering German Street Art, his starting point in his artistic career.Out of a deep need to find something that would elevate him from the suffering territory in which he had grown up, at the age of 24 he decided to leave the demons of the past behind and in 2002 went to Montmartre where he found an art scene that welcomed him with open arms.The great artistic and fashion influence Salvador Dali left in Paris began to shape what would become his Symbolist artistic thinking.Meanwhile, Niclas Castello's inner world takes more and more shape, but he does not yet have the means to express it, so the following year he returns to Germany and he begins to make a name for himself in the Berlin street art scene. Niclas Castello's expectations were soon dashed due to the adolescent memories that came flooding back, preventing him from developing his artistic skills that continued to be repressed by the ghosts of the past.

Turning point
The turning point came when, a few years later, he decided to break free from the grey oppression that continued to hold him back. He moves to the Big Apple, already an emblem of dreams, aspirations and possibilities. It is in New York that he wanders around looking for accommodation and finds Arleen Schloss who will soon become more his guardian angel than his mentor.Arleen Schloss boasts the success of numerous artists including Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring and Eric Bogosian, names that will often be compared to that of Niclas Castello, both in terms of fame and artistic style and method.Arleen Schloss glimpses something in Niclas Castello that even he himself cannot understand, and finds the right key to unlock the young neo-artist's rusty mechanisms. The mentor decides to start with the artist's most ingrained strident notes, his past.Castello began by drawing and writing letter after letter for weeks on end, then moving on to elementary colour drafting until his inner, creative world is rediscovered.At the moment when true art begins to be realised, colours, figures, letters and a strong symbolism are combined, through which the young artist begins to encode all his emotions and feelings that arise from life experiences and marking events.

The debut
Over the course of a few years, Niclas perfected his technique more and more thanks to Arleen Schloss, until he became part of the Neo-Expressivist movement, which secured him his first exhibition in 2009 at the 'Amsterdam Whitney Gallery' in New York, where he was immediately met with great success and immense curiosity: he was interviewed by popular demand in the Chelsea Art Perspective and the New York Art World.His works began to circulate the world in solo and group exhibitions, alongside famous artists such as Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Robert Rauschenberg. Paris, Miami, New York, Hollywood, Hamburg, Montreux and Venice soon become the settings for Castello's art, where he appears as a guest and protagonist in numerous exhibitions.Not only does he succeed in establishing himself in the art world, but he also receives recognition from the accedemic world such as the Artsland Award (2012), Best German Artist at the GermanArtAward and the Signs Award (2017) and European Cultural Award (2022).

Artistic thinking - practicality
The background of each piece created by Castello is a true story from his life or a historical event, the art produced remains free of any judgement as it refers to mechanisms and memories within the artist. He takes his past experiences, traumas and joys and shapes them on canvas through a code that becomes accessible to all.The starting point is therefore a concrete event that is channelled through a language into a visual symbolism: by creating a language with his pictorial symbols, he transforms all the events that really happened into conceivable facts in the work and vice versa.In all works, the main elements are arranged on Fibonacci spirals. The division of the proportions of the individual symbols usually corresponds to the number of the golden ratio Phi. Castello harmoniously combines the apparent chaos of his life and puts it on canvas between symbols, colours and words.

Artistic thinking - relativity
Every story, every image, every fact can and is seen, evaluated, interpreted or told differently by every person, even by the same person at different times.The symbolism that lies beneath the work of art results in an infinite number of variants of interpretation: the observer is made responsible for being the author of the interpretation. The artist is no longer a teacher and a speaker, but a source of impulses that captures a truly experienced moment in its components, remaining neutral and not judgemental.The relationships between these symbolisms give rise to infinite keys to interpreting what is shown, yet a common denominator is always recognisable that provides the viewer with an anchor point as access to knowledge of the meta-level of the work.Just as in physics, when the theories of relativity were postulated, reality lost all certainty but opened up an infinite world of endless possibilities and interpretations, and this is the founding element of the artistic philosophy that follows the artist, his work creates intrapersonal realities of the depicted linguistic construction of a past fact.

Artistic thinking - time
Castello adopts an unusual technique in order to capture the moment from which the work arises: at the end of the realisation, the artist takes the work and compresses it to enclose it in a box.The canvas is folded and torn by the artist himself in order to seal the work he has just completed, and is then compressed into a transparent box and left there to be admired.The creative process behind this practice comes from the need to stop time, all moments are ephemeral and the memories of them only live on inside Castello, which draws on them to represent them. To close the work means to ensure that nothing can alter or change it.