Claudio Castillo


In my work, the worlds of painting, animation, and computer programming conspire together in a subtly subversive take on software art. The watercolor image has traditionally existed as a unique original, along with the possibilities for its reproduction. Software art has often focused on generating complex images that mirror the endless variablesmade possible by computer coding.

I have found a way to marry these opposing practices by choosing to embed software in dreamlike, poetic watercolor landscapes, creating “living paintings” whose images endlessly mutate in a nonlinear progression in which no single image will ever be precisely repeated — atleast, not for hundreds of thousands of years. I began with digitized versions of my watercolors; split the images into four layers, and then animated each one independently in multiple ways. This created the possibility of thousandsof individual versionsof the picture within the composition of each layer. I collaborated with a programmer to create a random number-generating program that would drive the playback of the layers in a sequence whose chance of repetition was 1 in 68,797,071,360,000. A viewer would have to wait 436,308.16 years if they hoped to see any particular composition duplicated.

I have now completed work on six-layer paintings, exponentially increasing the chance of repetition to a time span of once in 8 trillion years. I have also integrated natural cycles into these works, such as the moon and tides, which are represented figuratively in the paintings’ imagery, while their animated movement is controlled by real-world, real-time cycles, whose algorithms are programmed into the work. I have also just completed the incorporation of high resolution video portraits into my animated watercolors, and I am now working with internet connectivity allowing for the imagery to reflect real-time weather and stock market conditions.

I want my iconography to resonate as organic matter as well as abstract forms: Water, flowers, rain, sun, vines, grass, roots, sky, rocks are rendered schematically and move subtly toward abstraction. The introduction of multiplicity, chance, and cyclicity into a single image, and its preprogrammed control, opens the work up to a world of puzzling juxtapositions: impermanence / ceaselessness, fine art / technology, original image / duplication.