One of the things we love about Kuyate is having the opportunities to work with awesome Filipino American creatives and artists. We are really excited to launch the Kuyate Creative Network which is a platform to uplift Filipina/x/o creatives and share their stories. Our first feature is our friend and cousin (Alyssa’s cousin on her dad’s side!), Mark Kristoffer Castillo. Mark Kristoffer has been the photographer behind our recent collections, and has been so awesome to work with. We asked him some questions about his craft and being Filipino.
1. How did you get started with photography?
I started in high school, and really picked up a camera because I saw a DSLR from my high school photography class for the first time and thought it was the coolest looking thing ever. Only really viewed it as a cool item, then once I started to learn how to use the camera, I got hooked on it. I would shoot anything and everything. Fast forward to the present it’s given me some amazing opportunities.
2. What’s a memorable gig/job you had?
Most memorable ones I’ve had this year had to be any ones that I’ve had out of state. For it being my first full year, it’s just insane to me that something I genuinely enjoy with a camera and photos, has given me an opportunity to get flown out and work. I’ve had amazing gigs locally, but I couldn’t imagine myself this early on “traveling” because of a camera.
3. What/Who inspires you to be creative?
I would say the creativity aspect comes from working with anyone who’s interested in working with me. No one person I’ve worked with is exactly the same, every end result has been different, and every walk of life I experience with other personalities is another person I get to collaborate my work with and create something new for myself and them.
4. What’s your favorite thing about Filipino culture?
Off the top of my head, aside from food, the family aspect. I was blessed with a pretty big family and just the countless memories I’ve had from birthday parties, christmases, holidays, celebrations, and sadly/funny even funerals (because filipinos still find a reason to party hardy whenever people get together, haha.) I am who I am because of my family, and I relate with so many other filipinos because our culture in that aspect is so close. I know other cultures are pretty similar, but the little nuances of how filipino family parties and gatherings are, sit close to the heart with me.
5. Favorite Filipino food?
⁃ Top 5 because that’s what came into mind: Bistek, Corned Beef, Palabok, Lumpia, and Mom’s machado. I can make 4 of the 5 which is why they’re my favorites, lol.
6. Filipina/x/o creators or artists you recommend following?
Its a mix of filipino owned small biz/ or people I’ve worked with or alongside before, some I might know.
⁃ IMADRI (@firstname.lastname@example.org) manufacturing/retail biz.
⁃ FIL-AM NATION SELECT (@filamnationselect) Sports program supporting filipino athletes.
⁃ Joseph Baura (@j.baura) photographer.
⁃ Epicycle Studio (@epicyclestudio) Local cycling studio.
⁃ And if you aren’t already following the people behind Kuyate: Aj (AJrafael), Alyssa (@alyssugh) & Justine (@justineyweeny) for this platform, I’m not a part of this without them.
7. Where can we find your work?