SPOTlight 2013 – Reina Castellanos
This week we’re shining our SPOTlight on Reina Castellanos. She completed our 2013 Mentorship Program and did a fantastic job. Learn a bit more about her experience  in the program and what inspires and drives her craft.

VIDEO of Reina Castellanos at SPOT 2013

“Hello! I am Reina, a Venezuelan print-maker and illustrator. I recently graduated from the Savannah College of Art and Design, where I obtained a BFA in Illustration with a minor in Printmaking. Six months ago, I relocated back in Orlando to begin the Emerging Media MFA in Studio Art and the Computer at UCF in the fall. I like ink, patterned socks, and fortune cookies.

In the past few years, I have developed a deep love for printmaking—particularly screen printing and lithography. These processes highly inform the way I work. I usually begin developing any ideas by asking myself, “how will this image be reproduced?” I’ve been fortunate to have learned from amazing printmakers, both at school and with the saucy dudes at Mama’s Sauce. Through experimentation and a process of trial and error, I’ve come a long way from the first time I exposed a screen in my grandmother’s closet back in 2008. I have now begun to use hand painted screen printing as one of my main media.

My mentor in the program was Victor Davila—amazing illustrator and comic book nerd. Once the mentor/mentee pairs were assigned, I had no idea who he was, aside from an initial Google search of his awesome portfolio, but quickly realized we were a good pairing. Working with him felt natural because we are both super laid back and share a silly sense of humor. Humor plays an enormous part in my work. Victor has a hawk’s eye and would catch anything that might be wrong or missing in my illustrations. Being an illustrator can get very lonesome at times, but Victor is well-connected in the industry in the city and he’s introduced me to so many talented local illustrators.

The experience in the mentorship program was great and having so many events and opportunities to meet new people was amazing. There is such a big and enthusiastic group of designers and artists in Orlando, that it’s hard not to be inspired by them. For me, the experience also served as a reintroduction into the Orlando design community and has definitely shed a positive light on my return to the city.

When I first learned about the mentorship program, the theme of self promotion seemed like something worth exploring at this stage in my career. My process for the project began with an exploration of what was it that I wanted to communicate to others about myself as a person and an artist. I knew from the beginning I was not going to focus on literal self promotion items like business cards, websites, etc., but on how I could efficiently showcase my personality and sense of humor through my work. Immediately I started developing ideas based on one of my greatest sources of inspiration: puns. From there, everything started developing naturally and expanding from ideas for posters, to giveaways and arguably what most people liked, buttons. Conceptually, I like to explore the possibilities of uniting two conflicting ideas and find the humor in every day objects or situations. Hopefully, by carefully studying contradictions and depicting them in iconic ways, I am able to reach people and make them smile or think,  laugh or connect, or wonder, or all of the above.

In all honesty, I had a blast illustrating and printing the pieces for the SPOT showcase and could not help myself from sharing bits and pieces throughout the process. My biggest reward were the people who came up to me showing off the cool puns and inside jokes they created with the buttons I made, and finding different meanings and adding their personal interpretations to my posters. The pieces I produced for this showcase were truly inspired by my desire to share with others my point of view, my humor, personality, and what goes in my brain. Happily, I reached more people and connected with them in ways I would have never imagined.

Thanks to everyone who got involved in the mentorship program and made it such a memorable experience. Thanks to everyone who came to the SPOT showcase in support of the young local talent. Special thanks and high fives to Victor, my family, and friends who put up with me cracking up at my own jokes for four months.”

Congratulate Reina when you meet her as she won our annual SPOT Showcase Award!

Follow Reina on Twitter. Check out her website.

Check back next Saturday for another SPOTlight artist from our 2013 Mentorship Program.

By aigaorlando
Published June 15, 2013