Teresa Castaneda


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Abstract painting.

A white-formed painting by Teresa Castaneda, photographed at noon to reflect the light at that time of day. Photo courtesy of artist

I was born an artist and will remain an artist no matter the struggle. In 1990, I graduated from Metropolitan State University with a BA. My last semester of college I was given the opportunity to teach jewelry college courses for a professor on sabbatical, my printmaking was carried by Denver’s top publisher, and I worked as a photographer for the Denver Art Museum, all by the age of 19! My parents were not as excited about my independence pushing me into homelessness for a year. I extended my education, receiving certification as a trade jeweler from the Revere Academy. With that I became a contract laborer (repairing and designing) for Denver jewelers. I also supplemented my art career as a photographer in tabletop/portfolio, weddings, journalism, and events for the federal government. My photography has won awards and has been published. Simultaneously I invented a unique process in printmaking I called “Crinkleism”—selling 600 prints, 100 exhibitions, and honored with your NEA grant in 2000. With it I purchased a beautiful double steel drum, 500-lb etching press! THANK YOU!

My current invention is my favorite. White-formed paintings. The concept is to make a painting without paint. I cut and concave a canvas. I build a second frame for support. I cut hundreds of tapering shapes and place one after the other until the final depth and height reaches six inches. The texture is intensified with coarse strokes of molding paste, sealed with gesso, then layered with white acrylic. Its shape, repetitive lines, and depth combined with the time of day paint the painting. At noon, the painting is black, white, and gray. Sunset it becomes blue and orange. Ambient light paints it with shades of taupe and browns.

I enjoy my blessing, communicating fluidly in every medium. Reaching all ages within my own community. I lecture at CU Denver about what it takes to be a living artist. I donate my time to a low-income daycare I began years ago and continue every a year. There I deliver Starbucks to parents who stood in line overnight, building reclaimed clubhouses, feed kids from donations, and share toys. It is important to me to cut down waste through creative resourcefulness, playing and laughing no matter how painful the struggle, sharing what was shared with me, and inventing!

"ReArranging Denver." Video by Kevin J Beaty