by Kelly Chase
On the cover of our first issue of Cape Cod and the Islands, local artist Hans de Castellane painted a beloved Provincetown scene. de Castellane is a painter, muralist, and owner of de Castellane Gallery in Dennis Port. His work often captures scenes from the peninsula he grew up on. We sat down with him to learn more about his art, career, and the painting on the cover.
When did you know you wanted to pursue art as a career?
Truthfully, my first choice was to be a Formula 1 race car driver, but that didn’t work out! I had markers in my hand for my entire childhood and just never really stopped making art. My grandmother signed me up for painting lessons when I was six and always made me feel like I was good at art, which helped. She got me a job at a t-shirt shop, designing logos when I was in high school, so I decided to pursue graphic design, which led me to Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and a degree in communication design. I came home from school and did a couple of murals and painting commissions. In 2012, I opened de Castellane Gallery in downtown Dennis Port.
Who have been your greatest influences as an artist?
As far as painters, I love how Edward Hopper paints light and shadow, how James Michalopoulos warps things and uses such bold colors, and I have always loved Vincent van Gogh’s work and his story—if he only knew!
What are you trying to express through your work?
I have a few different styles I like to play around with—sometimes my work is edgy and expressive, and sometimes it is more illustrative and detailed. The Cape Cod scenes I do are definitely painted the way I see the Cape. I may embellish a few elements and not include something that’s there—almost the way one’s memory of a scene tends to make edits.
In what ways has the Cape influenced your work?
I was the first person in my family to be born here, so I am technically the only local in a family of “washashores.” It is interesting to grow up in a place that has such a fluctuation of population from the off season to summer. I am not a fan of the cold and things do get quiet around here, but there are also less distractions, so I get more work done.
Thank you for painting our cover! Tell us about it.
I came across this house years ago while walking around Provincetown, and I always wanted to do a painting of it. It’s tucked in with the brick patio, and there are colorful flowers and that huge American flag. I would love to do a whole series of Provincetown architecture someday; there are so many amazing little places.