Meet the Artist
Every year, the School of Undergraduate Studies commissions artwork for its annual Reading Round-Up program. This year’s art was created by Antonio Castro.
Tell us a little bit about your career as a designer. How did you get started in the field?
I have been practicing graphic design and illustration for the last 26 years but considering that my father is also an illustrator and a visual artist, I have been in the field of design and illustration for as long as I can remember. My father’s studio was my playground, so I grew up playing with art supplies. I graduated from The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), with a BFA degree with a major in graphic design and a minor in printmaking. After graduating, I interviewed all over the place including several design studios in Austin and San Antonio to no avail.
After obtaining my MFA, I moved to San Francisco to work at a small boutique graphic design firm, from which I was fired if I might add, but right away I was hired by Parham Santana Inc. in New York City. There I learned everything I now know about branding design. After almost three years of working at Parham Santana, I was offered the opportunity to apply for a tenure-track position at my alma mater (UTEP), and I was fortunate to be granted the position and have been teaching there for the last 20 years.
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Josh Liu Reading, Butler School of Music
Josh Liu is a first-year student in the School of Music, pursuing a Bachelor of Music degree in violin performance. He is also one of more than 900 students who participated in the Reading Round- Up this past August, the day before the start of the fall semester. When asked about his ultimate career goal, Josh credited the influence of the Reading Round-Up: “Based on the book I read, my dream is to change people’s lives through music.”
Josh chose Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance solely because it was available at his local library; he had no idea that the experience would change his mindset and guide his future. “It’s a book about the difference between hard work and talent,” he explained, “and the whole point is to prove that hard work counts twice as much.” Josh described his long-term struggles with procrastination and time management, and said he was regularly spending hours a day playing video games. The book and the professor he discussed it with at the Reading Round-Up helped him realize he wanted to change his habits and priorities. “It taught me you have to finish what you start,” Josh explained. “In a way, it made my passions stronger, because although I knew I could play the violin, I was never truly into practicing and all of it. With my new mindset, I’ve started to be like: OK, I’ve started this journey, I’ve been doing it for many years, let’s make sure I do it well.”
Since the Reading Round-Up, Josh has attended UGS workshops on time-management to continue making progress as he learns to consistently apply the strategies he’s using to override old habits. When asked about how the Reading Round-Up helped prepare him for an ideal start to college, Josh summarized: “It made me realize that I can learn from the people around me and push myself to become a better me the next day. It doesn’t have to be a fast change but I can change gradually, day by day, with each choice that I make.”