Terry Castro was a self-taught designer who began by hawking necklaces on the streets of New York. Throughout his career, he struggled with racial and other stereotypes.
How Did Terry Castro Die?
As admirers of jewellery grieve the demise of the extraordinary artist extraordinaire from the US who lived and worked in Istanbul, his colleagues honour his pleasant disposition and one-of-a-kind creations.
Terry Castro passed away on July 18 at his home in Istanbul. He was a jewellery designer with a New York base whose talent for fusing the fanciful with the elegant drove him from selling on the streets of New York to dressing superstars like Steven Tyler and Rihanna. He was 50.
According to Sir King Castro, his son, the cause was a heart attack.
Mr. Castro – creator of dreams.
Under the moniker Castro, Mr. Castro referred to himself as a “creator of dreams.” His playful yet opulent sculptures, which combined animal and human forms with mediaeval and astronomical iconography, were inspired by antique shops and thrift stores. He produced only approximately 35 pieces a year by hand, but his art was featured in the 2013 film “Out of the Furnace,” as well as on the pages of the publications Vogue Latin America, Forbes, and Hamptons.
Jewelry was more than just a fashion statement to Mr. Castro. Nghi Nguyen, a jewellery designer in Brooklyn and close friend, noted that in addition to being an independent designer, he “lived and operated as an artist.” High-art jewellery could be used to describe his creations. It is sculpture of museum-caliber that can be worn.
It occasionally had matching prices. According to Sir King Castro, a vintage bisque doll necklace that has vibrating wings and a detachable mask, as well as diamonds and other priceless gems, just sold for more than $100,000. The necklace is a part of his renowned Dollies line, made from miniature porcelain dolls.
Self-taught Black designer – Mr. Castro
Friends claimed that Mr. Castro took satisfaction in being an outlier in the world of fine jewellery as a Black designer who was primarily self-taught. According to Jules Kim, a friend and fellow jeweller, “the jewellery industry is proud of generational wealth and access to materials and resources.” “Those who are not born into it must rely on their own initiative. Castro made his own customs to support himself.
Passionate and even combative, Mr. Castro saw himself as a rebel in the business.
In a 2012 interview with the fashion site The Black Nouveau, he declared, “I do what I want; you don’t like it, don’t purchase it.” Recounting his haphazard attempts to “become commercial,” he came to the conclusion that the money was not worth the cost to his creativity.
Terry Castro Biography
He claimed, “My genuine accounts turned against me.” “I was labelled a traitor, and now I’m turning to the dark side once more. Stay the hell away from me if you lack the force.
Mr. Castro was passionate and even combative, and he saw himself as a rebel in the business.
He once told a fashion site called The Black Nouveau, “I do what I want; you don’t like it, don’t purchase it.” Recounting his sporadic attempts to “become commercial,” he came to the conclusion that the cash was not worth the price of sacrifice made in terms of creativity.
My genuine accounts turned against me, he claimed. “I was called a traitor, and I’ve returned to the evil side. Stay as far away from me as you possibly can if you lack the force.
One of the biggest diamond producers in the world, De Beers, teamed up with the Hollywood advocacy group RAD (Red Carpet Advocacy) in 2020 to highlight Mr. Castro and five other Black designers in the #BlackisBrilliant campaign. Celebrities were given jewellery from the campaign that was made with responsibly mined Botswana diamonds to wear to galas and award ceremonies.
Castro was asked to take part because Sally Morrison, the De Beers Group’s director of public relations for natural diamonds, believed he had a unique gift just from looking at a handful of his locks and doll parts.
In a show titled “Brilliant & Black: A Jewelry Renaissance” that highlighted 21 Black designers last September, Sotheby’s included Mr. Castro’s creations. According to Melanie Grant, a well-known jewellery writer who curated the exhibition, “people practically danced into the exhibition and cried” at its New York City debut. With his outgoing personality and captivating demeanour, Mr. Castro was an obvious choice to be the show’s star.
Black designers still struggle to connect with prominent collectors, according to Ms. Grant. “However, Castro was a crucial component of that, and I like to think we made a difference.”
Terry Clifford Castro Early Life
On January 26, 1972, Terry Clifford Castro was born in Toledo, Ohio, to Mary Castro, an antiques and collectibles dealer, and a father he never met. His mother wed attorney Paul Geller in 1989.
Sir King Castro claimed that Mr. Castro spent some time in jail as a young man and ended up living on the streets. He wed Belinda Castro in 1999. (her surname, coincidentally, was the same as his). The couple welcomed a baby into the world in the same year, and gave him the regal name Sir King Raymundo Castro.
Terry Castro Career
After enrolling in a weekend course, Mr. Castro developed an interest in jewellery restoration, according to Belinda Strode, his ex-wife.
He eventually founded C & C Jewelers in Toledo with the help of his wife, where he marketed other designers’ creations and conducted repairs. After a few years, according to his ex-wife, he started creating his own jewellery from scrap metal from a junkyard.
Both the marriage and the business turned out to be transient. After getting a divorce from his wife in the early 2000s, Mr. Castro relocated to Chicago and made the decision to pursue his longtime passion for fashion as a job, according to an interview with his half brother, Aaron Geller.
In his adopted city, where he cut a striking figure in the techno clubs and fashion boutiques, he briefly launched his own clothing brand. Ayana Haaruun, a close acquaintance from those times, said that “he used to wear these spurs on the back of his boots.” “He believed he was so cool. He was known to us as Lenny Kravitz.
Mr. Castro relocated to New York in 2005, when he established Castro NYC, a jewellery line that he sold on the streets of SoHo. When passing fashion stylists and editors noticed his art, he quickly expanded his business and began travelling to fashion weeks in Europe and Japan to exhibit his work.
Mr. Castro persisted in challenging racial stereotypes as he advanced in the field. In an interview with the fashion website Magnus Oculus last year, he stated, “I personally don’t think you can be Black, African, and your work doesn’t reflect some part of Africa or Africanism, because we live in this world where we have to think about so many other things that other people don’t have to think about in a day.
He also kept pushing himself, moving to Istanbul in 2016 as a result of his wanderlust and voracious curiosity.
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Mr. Castro is survived by his mother and stepfather in addition to his son and half-brother.
Although Mr. Castro’s art praised life in all its complexity and colour, he was always fascinated by the idea of death; animal and human skulls frequently appeared in his work.
He wasn’t morbidly interested, though, in the topic. In the Magnus Oculus interview, he remarked, “With the skull itself, it is in you, it is part of you, it is part of life, but it is also part of death.” Some Black folks will say, “Oh God, it’s voodoo and wicked,” when they see a skull. To which I will reply, “Well, that means you’re evil too, because you have a skull inside your head.
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