Robert Castillo is an upright and electric bassist, composer and arranger, music producer, visual artist, meditation instructor, community organizer, has the Quest point cape, and can varial kickflip. Robert is a first-generation American born to a Mayan-speaking father from a small village in the Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico, and a Dominican mother who dance bachata all night long. This Kansas City native creates as a matter of necessity, producing art of whatever medium in order to convey his experience of Life.
After graduating from North Kansas City High School in 2010, Robert attended North Central College in Naperville IL, majoring in Jazz Studies and minoring in Environmental Studies. Shortly after, he moved to the West Coast where accepted a position with AmeriCorps as the K-8 Music Teacher at Fossil Elementary School in Fossil, OR (pop. 473). Along with developing his own curriculum, he taught lessons on various instruments including piano, drums, bass, violin, cello, and guitar. Castillo found himself with ample free time in the central Oregon high desert, during which he further developed his meditation practice, composed and arranged music, and created visual art.
Following his time in Fossil, Robert moved to Portland, OR where he founded the groove jazz ensemble The Sextet. Consisting of three horns and three piece rhythm section, The Sextet plays music to move to and be moved by. Much of the music written in Fossil can be heard on their first album “In a Natural State.” When Robert moved back to Kansas City in the Fall of 2016, he reformed the group and released a second album “Blob Castle” in 2017. The Sextet released their third album “Among Friends” in September 2019. The album was well received, garnering recognition from National Public Radio. Aside from The Sextet, Robert has performed all over the United States collaborating with musicians of any genre. One of these groups, The Standard vocal jazz ensemble, has been presented seven times with the Downbeat Music Award.
In March 2018 Robert was challenged to create enough visual art to host a solo show. He has since shown his work several times, selling many of his paintings. As with music, his style is varied. His subjects include Post-Classic Mayan imagery, geometric abstraction akin to Kandinsky, and at times incorporates Van Gogh-like impressionistic backgrounds. Robert uses include oil, acrylic, watercolor, gouache, colored pencil, spray paint, paint pens, and whatever else he can get his hands on. Visual art has become a passion deeper than he could have ever imagined.
Robert works part-time at the Apple Genius Bar, where he is also the Volunteer coordinator He also volunteers with the Art as Mentorship youth music program. Robert can also be found volunteering with Cross-Lines Community Outreach, where he serves on the Young Professionals Board.
Robert has been married to his high-school sweetheart since the summer of 2015.