I met Kieran Castaño seven years ago at a noise show where we talked about local art organizing while I ran the door, taking cash for the touring bands. In the years since, we've never stopped talking about art. I've had the joy of witnessing many of Kieran's milestones of his professional art career--his first solo show at the House on Royal Palm, his retrospective, 'A Certain Kind of Light' at Mills Gallery, his contributions to the Crealdé School of Art's celebration of artists with disabilities, As I Am, and his onboarding as the official cartoonist of Ripley's Believe It Or Not!, to name a few. We've crammed, annually, to prepare our work for festivals and shows, always collaborating and advocating for each other, and plan to continue building each other up every chance we get.
That's is why it's been such a pleasure to witness Kieran's development as a muralist as he's undergone a special project for Theo Hollerbach to represent John Wooden's 'Pyramid of Success' in celebration of the family business's 20th year.
Having the opportunity to commission Kieran for mural work at Hollerbach's has been extraordinarily gratifying. Not only have I gotten to see him more frequently, watching the mural evolve week by week, but the project has a unique significance to both artist and to patrons.
For years, Kieran worked as a cook at Hollerbach's German Restaurant while balancing his growing artistic career. In 2021, Kieran became a full time artist, stepping out of food service and taking on the role of lead cartoonist for Ripley's Believe it or Not!, drawing six days per week to produce daily comics and special 'Sundays'. Throughout the past year, Kieran has been also undertaking more and more weekend gigs as a muralist, rounding out his art-work-week to an even seven days.
For Kieran, this mural work was an opportunity to hang out at his old stomping grounds, catching up with years-long co-workers and friends while practicing his career passion. As a representation of the mural's theme, Kieran chose to paint a biergarten celebration among Hollerbach's staff, from cooks to servers, bartenders, and managers, all enjoying the fruits of the community they've crafted together.