This article appeared in the Fall 2008 issue of Texoma Living!.
by Andrea Crowl
Even as a child,” said Jodi Castelli, “I saw the potential of discarded goods. I often rescued empty cereal boxes and other items doomed to the trashcan.” Today, the artist has graduated from the trashcan and instead combs antique shops to find vintage postcards, advertising, photographs, buttons, even game pieces, to serve as focal points in the visual stories she creates.
Castelli’s technique is assemblage, which refers to a three-dimensional composition formed from mixed objects. It differs from collage in that it is never two-dimensional or flat. Her finished works are complex but lighthearted. Castelli builds her story in several layers, carefully matching the scale of objects. A button might become a beach ball or a change purse a boat. “The stories that result are not blueprinted, but evolve in the process,” she said. “They surprise me.”
A native of Pottsboro, Castelli attended Southeastern Oklahoma State University in Durant. After completing a Studio Art degree, she opened The Lost Art Studio and Gallery on FM 120, near Lake Texoma. She worked in several mediums: pottery, sculpture, stained glass, jewelry. She enjoyed people dropping by her studio and worked to build a larger following with weekend sales events.
When Castelli learned she was pregnant, she closed the studio to focus attention on her newest creation, Adam. He is now three years old and works with play dough alongside mom in the home studio. Children forever change the families they join, and, in this case, Castelli’s interaction with Adam and exposure to his books and toys spurred an interest in vintage items. “I am attracted to the innocence. We seem to paint the past as rosy.”
“This past year I have added a new process to my artwork. I no longer consider myself strictly a maker of three-dimensional objects,” said Castelli. Under the watchful eye of Barbara Elam of 416 West Gallery in Denison, Castelli has been learning the process of hand printing, or monotype. Her one-of-a-kind prints involve meticulous use of Plexiglas plates, ink, and a press. Every layer of color requires covering the plate with ink and cleaning areas to produce a pattern. The pattern transfers to paper in the press, and the process starts again for the next color. Castelli’s prints are displayed at 416 West Gallery. You can also find them, along with images of her assemblages and other works, in her virtual gallery, www.castelli.etsy.com.
Jodi Castelli has been a prolific artist from the day she could pick up a crayon and admits she might have as many as six pieces in progress simultaneously. She has an undying commitment to art as a life and a livelihood. “I realized at one point,” she said, “that I had never considered anything else.”
Jodi Castelli’s work is on display at the 416 West Gallery, 416 W. Main St., Denison, TX 75020 (903) 463-0416 visit online at www.416westgallery.com. Jodi’s personal website with gallery is www.castelli.etsy.com and you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.