At some point between the shift in temperature when we start to slowly do away with coats and sweaters, and dust begins to pick up, it can seem like entering into a new altered world by which we slowly have to adjust to. Some point between this shift we made some time to visit artist, Pablo Javier Castillo Huerta in his now former studio as he was in the middle of transiting out of his studio.“Sorry for all the junk on the floor. I moved a bunch of my books out so I have less junk now than I did yesterday, but I’m just in the middle of moving out of the studio” Huerta modestly explains as we make our way into his studio. For Huerta, his studio is not just used as a working space but one for thinking through concepts that come up in his work. With roots in Guatemala, and being first generation Canadian, Huerta is conscious about movement as the ever-present constant not just in his and his family's lives but objects in a given space. Talking points that keep resurfacing in his work are these ideas of transition and change which is rather apt as he was in a middle of relocating at the time of our visit. We talk about his interest in the transitory nature of human interaction within its environment, the temporary nature of the resources we utilize in protecting ourselves, notions of poverty and immigration among other topics.
" I [am] really interested in how resourceful people are when facing poverty or any other kind of difficulties. They can be so resourceful, like using anything they find, to make something out of nothing. This is partially why I use all these cheap, thrown out, non-precious, non-threating, and approachable materials to build my shelters. It also makes for less of a barrier for people to interact with the work."
Luther Konadu: Do you spend much of your time working/or making the work in the studio?
Pablo Javier Castillo Huerta: Yeah I do, but there isn’t much room in here to make most of the work I’m making, so I also work down in the wood shop.
LK: Yeah I figured because your pieces are fairly huge.
PJCH: Yeah, I do build my initial structures in here. But a lot of my projects are temporary. I deal with temporary shelters so they are built up quickly in here and torn down just as fast. So some of the structures I’ve had to build and tear down 3 or 4 times for different showings and installation setups.
LK: Would you say the site for your installations are part of your studio space as well?
PJCH: Yeah in a way. I do site-specific installations as well. I actually have a sculpture by the river (Red River) right now. It might have been washed away when the river was a bit higher, I’m not sure. That was a shelter made mostly out of drift wood.
LK: So you use pre-existing materials in nature?
PJCH: Yeah a little bit of both; I like to use tarps in a lot in my work which is pretty readily available for most people. I also use nails and some other bought materials, but I do like to use mainly found materials.