Jazmin Castaneda – Why Family and Color are a Driving Creative Force

Jasmine Castaneda

Muralist Jazmin Castaneda was caught off guard by multiple challenges in 2020. In the midst of adapting to COVID isolation, and being swept up in political events, she lost her father to cancer. As a means of coping, she immersed herself in painting. Using color to express the emotions she was unable to articulate in words, Castaneda turned to her immediate family to create narrative Fauvist-inspired works.

Not Real Art Artist Of The Day Series

A third-generation Mexican-American, who grew up in Southern California and studied at California State University, Long Beach, Castaneda works as an instructor at a charter school. She has been obsessed with the emotive qualities of color since she was a child. Her dream of becoming a muralist was interrupted by the pandemic, but she used that time to create collaged paintings of family and friends. By becoming attuned to the burdens of those around her and cultivating empathy, Castaneda hoped to learn to cope with her own loss.

Despite going through an intense period of grieving, she created canvases full of energy and life. Portraits of her aunt, and two young girls playing in a brightly colored interior with family photographs behind them, radiate energy and light. A painting of her grandmother’s house with a woman taking a selfie in front of it, and unidentified figures on the lawn, are enhanced by the warmth of her palette. The blocky house and tree have a saturated expressionism with hints of Franz Marc. A more somber tableau, Jaz’s Place, combines words and symbols with a ghostly male figure to make a statement about egotism and loss. After creating several large murals before the pandemic started, Castaneda hopes to follow her destiny and take her tools and paint on the road. But the hours she spent in her studio while recovering from personal trauma, and the attention she paid to her family and her surroundings, have been well-spent.

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Jazmin Castaneda — Artist Statement

Jazmin Castaneda
Jazmin Castaneda

Color has been the biggest component to my artwork since I was in daycare and middle school. Through my color I like to express a similar motive that fauvism was trying to express which is the fact that color can represent emotion rather than representation. Through my work I enjoy using block-like brushstrokes and figures such as people and movement. I enjoy using non-realistic forms to capture a figure because I find it more fascinating to search for the object rather than be given the answer immediately. My objective through my work is to change the perspective of people and color that others may have. My goal is to use color as a therapeutic tool to enlighten a brighter mood.

Jazmin Castaneda – Grant Submission Works

Jazmin Castaneda. Jaz's 2020
Jaz's, 2020
Gouche, oil paint, collage, oil pastel
Jazmin Castaneda. Long Distance
Long Distance
Gouache, collage
Jazmin Castaneda. Grandma's House
Grandma's House
Oil on canvas with collage
Jazmin Castaneda. Tia Joannie
Tia Joannie
Gouache, collage

Jazmin Castaneda – Bio

My name is Jazmin but you can call me Jazzy, Jazz, or Jazzjizzle. I am from Whittier, CA but was born in Long Beach. I am a third generation Mexican American Woman and work as an instructor and guide for students at a charter school called KIPP SoCal. My goal in life is to become a muralist and travel with my tools and paint to be able to share my large scale artwork in states and/or countries across the world. So far I have been able to work on 2 murals and each time that I was there I felt that I was following the path that I have dreamt for.

If I were to describe myself in three words, it would be curious, maternal, and understanding. I remind myself daily that everyone is carrying something heavy on their shoulders, which reminds me to continue to forgive and communicate. I have recently experienced the loss of my father due to cancer which has given me a different lens on how I view others and how I view how others cope with pain. I like to listen to others and how they feel, because we all need someone to talk to. I try to express this love, pain, and hope in my work.

Jazmin on the Web And Social Media

Here is where to find out more about Jazmin on the web and social media:

About the Artist of the Day Series

All artworks have been published with permission of the artist. Our "Artist of the Day" series is a regular feature highlighting artworks from the 100's of grant applications we receive. The "Not Real Art Grant" is an annual award designed to empower the careers of contemporary artists, and this is one way we honor all entries we receive. Find out more about the grant program here.


California artists, color, contemporary art, family portrait, latina artists, Mexican-American artist, mural, muralist, painter, painting, street art, women artists

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