My first and last names are Jose Castro but my closest friends in college would not call me either by my first, last or nickname; instead they blended my first and last together into one single sound: "josecastro". In retrospect, I found it endearing and creative and it is why I decided to use it as my pen name in my art.
I call my paintings on small format paper "side dishes". They got their name because often when I am painting a large piece, (the main course ..... if you would indulge me), I always create a smaller piece on the side with the paint I am using. In the process, I simultaneously create these new small-scale images which are completely extemporaneous and emotional.
One of my favorite espresso coffee drinks in Cuban Miami are "cortaditos," a blend of strong espresso with a small amount of frothy milk. The word loosely translates to "cut-ups" in English. Works in my "cortaditos" series consist of paper or canvas that I paint, cut up into strips and then reassemble into a new construction. In essence, I deconstruct and then reconstruct. I have been experimenting with this technique on and off.
This is the title I gave a small canvas piece that can be seen on this website. The day after I finished painting it I found a recipe for pumpkin soup in a magazine that called for Kabocha pumpkins. A puzzled produce attendant at my local supermarket was not familiar with these pumpkins and could not lead me to them. Persisting, I found them myself on the very bottom shelf in a remote section of the department. When I brought them home, to my amazement, I noticed that the skin on these Kabocha pumpkins had the same coloration and texture of my painting. Serendipity .... and hence the title.
It also reminds me that when one does what one loves, one is synchronized with the universe.