Richard Castaneda: Artistic Genius in the Making

Richard titled this piece of work “Attack,” and used water color.

California-born Richard Castaneda has been drawing for as far back as he can remember. “Growing up, I didn’t have much to do,” Richard recalls, “so I’d spend hours in my room just drawing.” And draw he did. House hold items, toys, and even made up characters were popular illustrations that can be found from his childhood.

At the age of five, Richard submitted an original design for a contest to determine a fresh print for a bag. Winning the contest was simply one of the many accomplishments Richard has had.

However, his style didn’t quite evolve until he entered middle school and was introduced to the Gorillaz. “I thought it was the most amazing idea ever!” Richard exclaims as he describes how the Gorillaz has influenced his style. “I love how they incorporate both art and music for the fans to experience.” Richard idolizes the Gorillaz and uses them as inspiration to generate his own characters.

Richard draws only with a mechanical pencil. Once a drawing is complete, water coloring his medium of choice. “I like how it looks smooth and light. Acrylic is too messy for me.” When he chooses not to paint, he will scan a drawing onto the computer and color it in Photoshop.

In high school, he spent the majority of his time drawing in class. “It wasn’t uncommon for me to use my paintbrushes and watercolor while my teachers would babble on. They admired my work.”

This drawing is tiled titled “Dance of the Dead,” and was colored on Photoshop.

Not only were teachers picking up on his talent, but also peers respected his drawings. Some would even pay him to decorate items such as backpacks and notebooks.

Prior to high school, Richard had never taken an art class seriously. “In middle school, art class was required,” he grunts, “the art program was poor, and I learned absolutely nothing.”

Upon entering high school, Richard decided to take classes to appreciate and better understand art. The classes trained him to become more open-minded when dealing with different artistic styles.

Voted “most artistic” his senior year, Richard is often referred to as “The Artist,” but beyond drawing and painting, he is also known for his music.

Owning a Dynamic Phrase Synthesizer, Richard can create his own beats. “I am in the early stages of my music career,” he optimistically shares, “I haven’t really committed to a style yet because I’m still experimenting; I’m just barely dipping my feet into the music world.”

He does not consider his art a business, but he is always looking for gigs to help him reach his goals. Richard encourages you to e-mail him if you are interested in hiring him for an art project at

“I have big dreams,” Richard admits with a smile, “I want to be famous for both my art and music, be offered a label, produce my art and music as one, and tour around the world and meet different people.”