Behind the Scenes with Edward James Olmos

YoloArts and Gallery 625 present:
Behind the Scenes with Edward James Olmos

Forty years of work and friendship between artist photographer John Castillo and actor Edward James Olmos is captured in a series of photographic images in a fascinating exhibition opening soon. This special show offers an intimate look behind the scenes of the film work of Edward James Olmos and opens Friday October 6 at Gallery 625 in Woodland.

The series of fine art photographs represents thirteen films, forty years of work and fifty years of friendship. Castillo and Olmos met in 1975 and realized they had a lot in common, both having been raised by single mothers and “growing up poor in the barrio.” At that time both artists were at the beginning of their careers and Olmos would ask permission for Castillo to photograph him during filming, giving him access to all the “behind the scenes” images.

Based in Northern California, John Castillo is an independent photographer. His career began as an apprentice to Hollywood glamour photographer Douglas Kirkland. Specializing in the performing arts, Castillo’s work includes television, motion pictures, theatre, music and celebrity portraiture. John was the project manager, photo editor and photographer on Americanos, a multimedia project sponsored by Time Warner and the Smithsonian, documenting Latino life in the United States. His celebrity portraitures include Muhammad Ali, Carlos Santana, President Barack Obama, Hilary Clinton, Robert Kennedy Jr, Shemar Moore, Charlize Theron, Delores Huerta, Andy Garcia, Lou Diamond Philips, Rita Moreno, Jose Feliciano, Raquel Welch and Cheech Marin. He has served on the Board of Directors for the Dream Project, which funds art and education projects for underprivileged children in his community, and also serves as a mentor.

Castillo is the executive producer and still photographer on his most recent project, A Song for Cesar, a tribute to Cesar Chavez and the farmworker movement. The documentary is about the musicians and artists who dedicated their time, creativity and even reputations to peacefully advance Cesar Chavez’s farmworker movement. It airs nationally on PBS American Masters September 29.

In a recent statement Castillo said, “Over these many years, I’ve watched Ed’s career blossom to include acting, directing and producing. He’s also an activist, working to improve working conditions for farm workers. And as early as 1972, he began motivational speaking, discussing gang violence and its corrosive effects on the community. I feel it’s important to show this body of work at this time, because I believe he is such an inspiring role model to young Latinos.”

Behind the Scenes with Edward James Olmos coincides with National Hispanic Heritage Month which honors the cultures and contributions of both Hispanic and Latino Americans.

This show came about after Richard Falcón, a community organizer for United Latinos and the founder and CEO of Teatro Nagual, approached YoloArts inquiring about ways to collaborate.
“When Richard contacted us and then connected us with John Castillo, I thought this exhibition would be a great fit for Gallery 625, because the show is a behind the scenes glimpse of the moviemaking process and furthers our mission of building productive partnerships in the region,” said Janice Purnell, YoloArts creative director.

The artist, John Castillo, will be attending the opening reception, 5:30-8 p.m. Friday October 6, coinciding with the downtown Woodland First Friday event. Music will be offered by Tom Eifler classical guitar and vocals. Light refreshments, including Yolo County wine, will be available.

The artwork can also be viewed online at

Behind the Scenes with Edward James Olmos continues at Gallery 625 through November 28, 2023.

Gallery 625 hosts exhibitions and receptions every other month. New exhibitions typically open on the first Fridays of February, April, June, August, October, and December.

Gallery 625 is located at 625 Court Street in Woodland, in Yolo County’s Erwin Meier Administration building and is open Monday – Friday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. For more information, contact YoloArts at 530-309-6464.

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