Julio Castilla: “I don’t consider myself an artist, but an art worker”

Soraya Fernández · Photos: Fran Montes

Julio Castilla, Artist from La Línea Interview

Painter, baritone, fencing referee… Julio Castilla is full of surprises, a restless spirit who shuns the limelight and gives his all to everything he does.

Julio Castilla Arocha is one of those artists who prefers to go unnoticed, he is one of those talents who always surprises people and puts his passion into everything he does.

The La Línea-born artist splits his time between work and his two greatest passions: the plastic arts and music. And based on his creations and artistic works, it seems that he has found an enviable balance.

A balance that he is well aware of: “You have to know how to divide life between the things you’re really passionate about, and the things you need to do to survive. My greatest love is art. I balance my work with artistic activity, which has been my ‘poison’ since I was little.”

Julio Castilla La Linea Artist

He started painting when he was a young boy. A lot of self analysis has gone into his evolution as an artist, added to which has been an eagerness to learn from others.

“As a boy, I hung around craftsmen and their workshops – carpentries, woodwork shops, and sculpting studios. I also went to a technical college in León where I did ironwork. I wanted to learn the techniques and study the material before giving free rein to my creativity.”

His work is colourful,striking and always makes an impact. “I combine a lot of techniques and materials, and the resulting compositions are very difficult to define and very particular. In terms of colour, I consider myself an optimistic and vital person,” he explains.

La Linea Art

Another facet of his personality – or ‘poisons’, as he calls them – is his love for music. In fact, he is a baritone singer. His family environment had a lot to do with this: “In my house there was always music and instruments, there was always a great sensibility for music. It is another one of my addictions .”

He learned piano, saxophone and guitar, though he insists on not wanting to talk about it because he doesn’t want to come across as snobbish. He only has praise for his music professor in Gibraltar, Hector Cortés.

“We had a great bond and he taught me things that you don’t learn from books. He was a great musician, you can’t even imagine. He had great ability. Unfortunately, he died some years ago,” he laments. His passion for music saw him participate in the Choir of the Jerez Villamarta Theatre, which brought him on to the stage and where, according to him, he learned the trade.

Following a break from singing, but not music, he took up his passion once again when he joined La Bohemia de Algeciras music association which, he assures us, “is doing a wonderful job. The director, Rafael Álvarez, is my current professor.

Julio Castilla

He invited me to join his project and with patience and dedication, he brought me back into orbit. Last year, I performed in Rafael Millán Picazo’s operetta, ‘La Dogaresa’, and Donizetti’s opera, ‘The Elixir of Love’”, he tells us.

He has another surprise up his sleeve: he’s a fencing instructor. “It’s a sport I always wanted to practice and continue to practice today.”

His restless spirit and eagerness to learn lead him to continue studying. He is currently studying Art History at UNED (The National University for Distance Learning) and anything else that sparks any interest in terms of plastic arts and music.

He confesses that applause is as gratifying as someone who is dazzled by some of his paintings. “What fulfils me is people enjoying the humble work I can create and my goal is to do it the best way I can,” he concludes.

Julio Castilla, Artist from La Línea Interview

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