Anton del Castillo is renowned for his iconic use of playful art objects and distinctive paintings imbued with modern iconography. Much of his Byzantine aesthetics are a product of his extensive training in gold leaf and gilding techniques from the National Museum of the Philippines. He merges the mythical and the modern, with imagery and titles inspired by old religious and mythical tales, reminiscent of the past that simultaneously parallels and contrasts with aspects of the present. As explained by del Castillo, “My work as an artist comes from my personal experiences in childhood until my recent undertakings in life. It is an unrelenting attempt to relive the past and bring it to the present – an effort to linger in the past and portray to society how simple life was yesterday, how happy and carefree things were, and how evidently that is no longer found in present times.”
Entitlement explores the innate obsession of man to associate even the most innocuous aspect of life with privilege. In this body of works, the viewers are immersed into a field of gold – in the gold leaf panels and gilded frames – that represents the privilege afforded mostly by financial prowess in today’s increasingly capitalistic and materialistic society. Entitlement is considered the artist’s personal understanding of man’s relationship and struggle with privilege; man may preach about equality and righteousness, yet he cannot seem to free himself from the blind obsession to dominate one another.
Del Castillo’s works often deal with the wicked nature of man, exploring themes from war to religion but at its core is the recurring theme of privilege. Throughout history, much of the unthinkable and institutionalised horrors find their roots in man’s obsession and assertion of privilege. The artist appropriates the symbol of the gas masks to draw parallels in war, indicating both protection and comfort for the possessor of privilege, and destruction and devastation to his family and surrounding lives caused by the perpetrator’s greed for dominion. The works come together to prompt viewers to reflect on life’s real purpose and exposes the world of conflict that we live in, corrupted by the superficial purpose of attaining privilege.
Anton Del Castillo – Entitlement