A self-portrait of Josie Delcastillo features the artist standing boldly against a blood orange sky. Given the tears in her eyes and the cactus spines sprouting from her silhouette, she appropriately named her award-winning piece, “Don’t Touch Me, I am Sensitive.”
Her ability to paint her deep understanding of herself and her culture has landed Delcastillo as one of 40 finalists in the AXA Art Prize, a prestigious student art exhibition that travels nationwide.
“My work is inspired by my Mexican American culture, understanding my mental health and learning to appreciate my body,” said Delcastillo, currently a UTRGV MFA student. “As I make art, I am learning to appreciate my roots, the struggles of having anxiety and insecurities and hoping to overcome body issues.”
The first- and second-prize winners will be announced at the closing reception on Nov. 21 at the New York Academy of Art in New York City. The first-prize winner will get $10,000; second place is $5,000.
Delcastillo said opportunities like this don’t come easy for young, emerging artists.