Victor Castillo - profile

Victor Castillo

Chile 1973

Pop Surrealism

Victor Castillo
Victor Castillo
November 3, 2015
Aya received her MA in English Language and Literature in 2012. She likes dancing, traveling, cycling and spending time with her pets.

Victor Castillo is a Chilean painter, born in 1973 in Santiago. He is known for his eerie artworks inspired by animation, vintage comics and popular media. His works depict greed and corruption of the contemporary society.

Early Life and Career

Castillo’s interest in drawing started when he was five years old. He was inspired by television, science fiction movies, and the covers of albums his family listened to, such as The Wall by Pink Floyd. Victor went to art school, was disillusioned with his studies, so after leaving school he joined an independent experimental art group in his hometown of Santiago, and spent the time making video installations and mixed media sculpture works.

In 2004, he moved to Barcelona in Spain, and established his signature style of paintings. He went to Madrid and visited the Prado Museum, where he saw Francisco de Goya’s Black Paintings, which had an important influence on his painting and resulted in incorporation of classical painting aspects into his work. He also started working with Igaupop Gallery in Barcelona, and exhibiting internationally.

Monstrous Characters

Victor castillo - we are the champions. 2010
Victor Castillo – We Are the Champions. 2010


Castillo’s strange and sometimes disturbing, pop-surrealistic works are full of dark humor and political narratives, and seem simultaneously contemporary and old fashioned. The artist does not only use the narrative tools that can be found both in painting and comics. Frequent themes include chaos, abuse of power, destruction, consumerism, consumption, greed and violence. He depicts ignorance by depicting children with blank eyes, enslaved to money and power. Sometimes they wear masks like clowns, but their eyes are strangely absent. His characters are insincere and corrupt, even when they smile. The images resemble nightmares in which monstrous, vile children live without any supervision. Seemingly innocent, children display ferocity and savagery which can be found in everyday life, through overindulgence, vanity and power games. The painter claims, that although his art seems dark, alienating and grotesque, he is not a dark person. The artist’s main influences include the art of Francisco de Goya, pop surrealists like Mary Ryden, Manuel Ocampo and Gary Baseman; cartoons such as The Simpsons and Ren and Stimpy.

The dark and socially-engaged art of Victor Castillo

2009 2011 2015
Victor Castillo – Hell Yes


Jungle, the series exhibited at Jonathan Levine Gallery in New York in 2012, is inspired by the scenes of global protests and violence, and living in the world where the “law of the jungle” is in effect. It depicts the chaotic world where all structures have lost its power. His acrylic paintings on canvas and drawings on paper present the social and economic crisis, where cartoon-like figures, dramatic lightning and classical landscapes explore the theme of corrupted innocence. The images with spooky, hollow-eyed and masked children represent survival, vanity and greed.

The series Pure Pleasure is a departure from the boldy-colored paintings

2009 2011 2015
Victor Castillo – Sorry For Laughing, 2014


Victor Castillo has exhibited his works locally and internationally in numerous galleries. The countries where he had exhibitions include Spain, the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Denmark, France, Italy, China, Belgium, Argentina, China, Colombia, Brazil and of course, his home country. His large scale indoor murals adorn the walls of the Museum of Modern Art in Chile, the National Museum of Fine Arts in Chile, and the Center for Contemporary Culture Barcelona in Spain.
His art has been featured in many newspapers, publications and magazines.

Gallery Representation

Castillo is represented by Jonathan Levine Gallery in New York, United States; Merry Karnowsky in Los Angeles, United States; and Helium Cowboy in Hamburg, Germany.

Victor Castillo lives and works in Los Angeles, California.

All images copyright © the artist

YearExhibition TitleGallery/VenueSolo/Group
2012THE JUNGLEJonathan Levine Gallery, New York, USASolo
2011MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSEHelium Cowboy Gallery, Hamburg, GermanySolo
2011REBELS WITH A CAUSEMerry Karnowsky Gallery, Los Angeles, USASolo
2011LES ENFANTS TERRIBLESLe Plateau, Résonance Biennale de Lyon, Lyon, FrancenGroup
2011TAETRUM ET DULCE SHOWMondo Pop Gallery, Rome, ItalyGroup
2011MARTA COOPER: REMIXCarmichael Gallery, Los Angeles, USAGroup
2011POP SURREALISM BIG BANG!Mondo Pop Gallery, Rome, ItalyGroup
2011THE LOWBROW SHOWGalerie Brugier-Rigail, Paris, FranceGroup
2011LUCID DREAMSNoel-Baza Fine Art Gallery, San Diego, USAGroup
2011HI FRUCTOSE GROUP SHOWRoq La Rue Gallery, Seattle, USAGroup
2010STRANGE FRUITMerry Karnowsky Gallery, Los Angeles, USASolo
2010VICTOR CASTILLOLondon Miles Gallery, London, UKSolo
2010MOUNTAIN TO SURFHelium Cowboy Gallery, Hamburg, GermanyGroup
2010HI-FRUCTOSE MAGAZINECopro Gallery, Los Angeles, USAGroup
2010HUNT AND GATHERThinkspace Gallery, Los Angeles, USAGroup
2010SWAB ART FAIRIguapop Gallery, Barcelona, SpainGroup
2010TOO COOL FOR SCHOOLIguapop Gallery, Barcelona, SpainGroup
2010GROUP SHOWGHP Gallery, Toulouse, FranceGroup
2010RELATIONSHIPSGalleri Christoffer Egelund, Copenhagen, DenmarkGroup
20102 ANOS, 2 DIBUJOS, 20 ARTISTASGalería Moro, Santiago, ChilenGroup
2009GAMELANDMerry Karnowsky Gallery, Los Angeles, USASolo
2009RESTLESS AND WILDHelium Cowboy Gallery, Hamburg, GermanySolo
2009APOCALYPSE WOWMuseo de Arte Moderno de Roma, Rome, ItalyGroup
2009ARTEBA ART FAIRGalería Moro, Buenos Aires, ArgentinanGroup
2009FESTIVAL URBAN ARTBuenos Aires, ArgentinaGroup
2009OCHO, MI MUNDO PRIVADOGalería MORO, Santiago, ChilenGroup
2008BEFORE OPEN SKYRoq La Rue Gallery, Seattle, USASolo
2008EXPLICIT LYRICSGalería MORO, Santiago, ChilenSolo
2008CANTO NEGRO & BRUJERIAS (with Miss Van)Merry Karnowsky Gallery, Berlin, GermanyGroup
20085 YEARS ANNIVERSARYHelium Cowboy Gallery, Hamburg, GermanyGroup
2008SCOPE NEW YORKIguapop Gallery, New York, USAGroup
2008SCOPE LONDONIguapop Gallery, London, EnglandGroup
2008SEWN AND IN/OUTEast Asia Contemporary Museum, Shanghai, ChinaGroup
2008SWAB ART FAIRIguapop Gallery, Barcelona, SpainGroup
2008NOMADAS DEL SIGLO XXIConvent San Agusti, Barcelona, SpainGroup
2008BIENAL DEL MUSEO DE BELLAS ARTESMuseo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Santiago, ChileGroup
2008XX SUMMER MAM EXHIBITIONMuseum of Modern Art Chiloé, Chiloe, ChilenGroup
2007EXPLICIT LYRICIguapop Gallery, Barcelona, SpainSolo
2007WHAT EVER, Cinismo Colorista al borde del discursoOFF Limits Art Space, Madrid, SpainGroup
2007BAC! 07 BABYLONCCCB Centro de Cultura Contemporánea, Barcelona, SpainnGroup
2007IGUAPOPHelium Cowboy Art Space, Hamburg, GermanyGroup
2007MODART AT THE BMX MASTERJugenpark, Cologne, GermanyGroup
2007LE JARDIN DES DELICES (with DIVA)Desig, Barcelona, SpainGroup
2007ANIMAL PROFANE PLUTONICNo New Enemies Gallery, Brussels, BelgiumGroup
2007INOXIDABLEGalería Santa Fe, Bogota, ColombianGroup
2007INOXIDABLEIguapop Gallery, Barcelona, SpainGroup
2006UN MUNDO FELIZGalería Marita Segovia, Madrid, SpainnSolo
2006PAN Y CIRCOGalería H10, Valparaíso, ChilenSolo
2006WE MAKE MONEY, NO ARTIguapop Gallery, Barcelona, SpainGroup
2006WHAT EVER, Cinismo Colorista al borde del discursoSala Muncunill, Terrasa, SpainGroup
2006BOSQUE DESENCANTADOBread and Butter, La Santa. Barcelona, SpainGroup
2006CARTOON GENERATIONEspace Off Ample, Barcelona, SpainGroup
2005TABU Y EXILIOIguapop Gallery, Barcelona, SpainSolo
2005CHILDREN OFF REVOLUTIONGalería OFF Ample, Barcelona, SpainnSolo
2004POSTIZOGalería Balmaceda 1215, Santiago, ChilenSolo
2003MASACRECentro Cultural de Espana, Santiago, ChileSolo
1996SACRO PAGANOSala Negra, Instituto Chileno-Norteamericano de Cultura, Santiago, ChileSolo