Whim turns artist into a winner

At the last minute, Pam Castaño decided to sell her work in the Winter ArtFest, sponsored by The Devils’ Workshop. It was a fortuitous move, since she was selected as winner of the $200 scholarship given each year to a participating artist.

Castaño will use her funds to buy supplies for her newly emerging jewelry designs.

When Castaño graduated from ASU 20 or so years ago, with a bachelor’s degree in art in hand, she started making hooked tapestries. Then, she was asked to design a metal sculpture to hang in the lobby of a hospital.

That led to a whole new career creating large metal sculptures for corporations and civic entities such as American Express, IBM, Intel Corp., Children’s Memorial Hospital in Omaha, PNC Financial Services Group in Pittsburgh and American Girl Place, Chicago. She also has designed banners for the Olympics.

Then came Sept. 11, 2001, and the economic slowdown. All took a toll on her business. “Corporate art doesn’t exist that much anymore,” said Castaño, who grew up in Minnetonka, Minn.

Also taking a toll was her divorce from her husband, who had been her business manager.

As her large-scale work slowed, Castaño turned to a project that had been simmering in her mind for the past 10 years: a book about imagination, titled “Imagination, the Tao of today: the feminine Way.” She said, “I took my passions – art, writing and spirituality – and put them into my book.”

The message of her book is, in a nutshell, that the “soul” of creation, whom Castaño has named Grace, has been tuned out and “our spirits are malnourished but ego is well fed and leaves no room for silence to enter into our lives,” and that everyone has contributed to the “bandit-like, collective ego” that has plundered the Earth.

After the book is finished, she will return to working on her new line of spare, industrial-looking jewelry, and continue to pursue commissions for public art.

She says about her art, “I aspire to cultivate the essence of joy and to make my work sing.”

For more information about Castaño’s work, visit www.castanoart.com.