Castilaw's artwork featured at ECMS

Published 3:58 pm Thursday, October 13, 2005

By By Janet Little Cooper
Artist Chris Castilaw gets his inspiration from Vincent Van Gogh, his favorite artist. The ECMS seventh grader is impressed with Van Gogh's unique style of art.
Castilaw has been selected as a featured artist at the middle school showcasing his sketches along with his biography in the school's main building.
Castilaw is taking his first art class this year under the instruction of ECMS art teacher, Mrs. Renee McNeil where he is not only given the opportunity to express his talent, but is able to learn the history of art and the lives of famous artists.
Castilaw's earliest recollection of drawing began at the early age of three.
" I remember looking at my Hot Wheels cars." Castilaw said, "I would draw a picture of them and give it to my papa." Castilaw's papa was probably one of the first people to realize the artistic abilities of the young boy. His papa began asking Castilaw to draw specific things for him.
A teacher recognized Castilaw's talent last year in the fifth grade and suggested that he make contact with the art teacher. He was attending Perdido Elem/Middle School at the time. The art teacher spent time with Castilaw explaining the craft and helping him explore his options as far as college and a career in art.
Castilaw's goal is to attend Texas A&M. He wants to be an architect. He was born in Texas and moved to Atmore four years ago.
"I've just always liked Texas A&M." Castilaw said, "That is where I grew up and that is all I've ever known. I hope that I will be able to go to college there when I graduate."
ECMS art teacher, McNeil foresees no problem with Castilaw being able to obtain an art scholarship from the college of his choice.
"If Chris really wants to go to college," McNeil said, "art is the vehicle to get him there. You don't see that talent at this young age too often. He is well rounded and is a good role model for the other students."
Castilaw loves drawing. He spends every chance he gets to complete pencil sketches that are typically of people and cars.
"I don't get to draw a lot at home during the week." Castilaw said, "I don't have much time after going to football practice, doing my chores, and eating at night. I spend most of my weekend in my room drawing though."
Castilaw has a lot of patience when it comes to his art. He spent a week and a half on one piece. He was quick to point out that he doesn't have that same quality on the football field however.
Castilaw is a typical 13-year-old boy that enjoys playing football for the middle school as well as skateboarding. He is a defensive end for the ECMS football team. This is his first year to play football and he already loves the game so much that he would like to play college football one day.
According to Castilaw, he does his best work when he is alone and he prefers pencil sketches to anything else. He says that paint is too messy and takes too long to mix, not to mention that he can never get the colors right.
"I like my work to be very detailed." Castilaw said, "I have to be in a certain mood to draw. I do my best when I am alone and especially when I am bored. I can't do it when I am hyper."
Since Castilaw was featured in the schools hallway, the student body has a new admiration for him frequently asking him to draw things for them. He has even been asked to sign his autograph for an underclassman.
When asked about what he thought about the attention he was receiving from his peers, Castilaw said that he would wear earplugs to school if he could, but decided that would be too rude. The attention is difficult for him since he likes being alone and does his best work when he is by himself.
Castilaw is the son of Warren and Shannan French. He has two sisters and a baby brother. The family moved to Atmore from Texas to be closer to his grandparents who are residents of Perdido.

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