imaginary somewhere

imaginary somewhere

by ani castillo

I want to feel good things





It’s been around a year since I started doing my cartoon, Imaginary Friend.

At the moment, I consider it to be my little baby,  my art project and my way of expressing a handful of the never ending stream of thoughts that go through my head. My way of sharing some of the things that I experience.

I’ve always considered that never ending stream of thoughts to be a pain in the butt. (Even more because most of them are gloomy and worrisome!)

Professionals call it anxiety.

It doesn’t matter, at least for now I’ve been catching them like butterflies and pinning them down to a piece of paper so I can see them a little bit more clearly.

I guess professionals would call this therapy?






Cancion del momento: Wicked Games cover by Pipilotti Rist




I love Pipilotti Rist *_*

(I even met her in person in Guadalajara!, I was so happy)



Pupa y Lavinia #381







Paul Oceans

I was 18, had abandoned art school and started a new university program where I felt a little bit out of my element.

Then I met this guy, his name was Paul Oceans.

He wasn’t in my class, he was a couple semesters ahead of me (mature! experienced!)

He was completely bald and had the greenest biggest eyes I had ever seen (interesting! hot!)

He wore those big thick glasses that everybody wears now but at the time he was the only person I ever saw wearing them (brave! original!)


By now you probably know; I started developing a little bit of a crush on him.

But at the time my crushes weren’t the peachy dreamy kind, no.


They were more like full blown burning passions. The dramatic kind!

Where the body physically suffers from the consuming blazing flames of all those feelings!!



And although falling in love so stupidly could sound like a big waste of time, the teenager me used that kind of energy to fuel my creativity.

I wrote a lot, painted a lot, sketched a lot, took a lot of pictures, made shortfilms…

(Paul Oceans made an appearance on those pieces more times that I would like to admit!)


We used to talk about things that just got me so excited.

He knew about all independent movies and music and art and he enjoying discussing his theories about the human soul and the reason for our existence on earth (that kind of stuff I like,  fun and sexy I know!)

He used to bring hot chocolate to school and shared with me on a couple occasions.

Everything was so magical and awesome!!!


Just one little problem…


not even a problem really…


it all depends on the perspective.



He was very


very short.


Like, extremely short.

Shorter than most guys I know, actually. Maybe the shortest.

(and as I’ve mentioned in an earlier post, I’m probably the tallest Mexican girl that ever existed).

And since I lacked the confidence to imagine a future where I would take romantic walks with my tiny husband or where I would have to bend almost all the way to the level of my bellybutton in order to kiss him, well, I just ignored my feelings and kept doing my thing.

* I know there are happy couples on earth with a short guy and a tall girl but at the time I was so self conscious and uncomfortable with the basics of being me, that I just wasn’t ready to add another layer of mundane discomfort to my daily existence *

One day after a long break from school, I saw him walking towards me, first thing in the morning, he seemed all fresh and happy. My heart started racing and my ears got really hot.

He told me he had something for me and took my hand with his little hand.

He dropped some tiny circles, they looked like translucent paper.

At first I had no idea what they were.

Then he told me he had been playing his bass (musician!) a lot during the break so he developed blisters on all his fingers.






Then, the blisters fell off and he let them dry out.



for me.

Words (or drawings) would never be able to explain the feelings going through my body on that chilly morning.

I felt this obsessive infatuation with the guy and here he was, giving me actual pieces of his little body!!!

I didn’t know how to react, should I put them in my pocket? should I just eat them and then we would be together forever???  FOREVER???!!!!!

Then I looked at him, didn’t want to look like I loved him or anything. I gave them back and said “eeeeww!”

Weakness. Betrayal to one’s self, sometimes it happens!





I didn’t see too much of him after that. Some weeks later I went out with my friend Elsa.

She’s cool and brave and awesome!

We were at a street music festival in Chapultepec. That was my favorite night of the year! they were bands playing all kinds of music genres on one of the nicest streets in Guadalajara, there were thousands of people everywhere. We were drinking some beer out of styrofoam cups so nobody would notice. Mwahahaha. (legal age to start drinking in Mexico is 18. Which I think is a terrible idea!)

It was the first or second time I had beer so I was pretty out of sorts. But feeling spunky!

I suddenly saw Paul Oceans and decided I should declare my love. I’ll blame it on the beer.

I don’t remember what my words were, it was all pretty blurry but I remember he responded by saying something like I was too tall….




Me!? Too Tall!!?? Sorry Paul Oceans!  my bad!

I looked down and noticed that something about that statement was true.

He was standing on top of a step on top of the sidewalk just so we could have straight eye contact.

It totally made sense.


I was standing there trying to savor the scorching pain of rejection but couldn’t feel too much.

I blamed it on the beer…

Elsa and I walked away into the crowd and the darkness where I met the guy who would become my first serious boyfriend for the next couple of years, although I didn’t know that at the time.

Then we called my dad and faked being sober when he came to pick us up.

The next morning I tried to feel sad in my room, I really gave it a go!

I was numb and didn’t have the beer to blame anymore, I listened to sad songs and everything, they didn’t work!

It was impossible to feel bad about anything. I found the whole situation kind of ridiculous and funny and nothing made me overly emotional about the outcome of this experiment.

In the next couple of days I developed this theory:


Maybe I wasn’t so into Paul Oceans?

Although I couldn’t deny I enjoyed living through his chapter in the book of my life…


(Or maybe I was already daydreaming about the next chapter!)












A hypothetical darker past

I just painted my fingernails black…


I listen to the Cure now, it HAD  to be done.



I’ve been wondering how my life would have been if I became one of those goth kids I saw hanging out outside of old buildings in Guadalajara. Maybe I would have made a good one!

I wonder if joining them back then would have made my teenage years a little better?

When I took a photography class in school I took pictures of some of them. They used to get together outside of the music school. They also used to scare me to be honest.




One thing is, most of us are not caucasian over there. We tend to be a little bit more of the colour of a beautiful piece of wood instead of the pale blank canvas that you seem to need in order to get the goth look. I remember seeing lots and lots and lots of make up. (that’s the problem with adopting stuff from another countries, you never know what things you won’t be able to apply in yours!)



I also remember seeing them in huge leather jackets and coats. But my city  is hot like 90% of the time! No amount of dark thoughts could dim the burning sun of Guadalajara in May.

So for those who were really committed to keep the look, they had to walk around all covered up in a colour that most of us avoid because of it’s heat absorbing properties.


Maybe I could have joined the punks instead! after all I was a vegetarian for 5 years (at the time, punks were the only vegetarians in my city)


but then, I don’t really like super loud music…

and they scared me too.

oh well…


Luckily, one day I did join one of those micro niches that people build around specific interests.


It was a very (very) different kind.


But I’ll leave that for another day, for today I’ll keep fantasizing about alternative pasts!



Dissintegrating and stuff





I grew up listening to Mexican pop music.

I LOVED it. I sang it and enjoyed and lived it and shared it with everyone in my beloved hometown. My memories are all bright and happy when I remember singing cumbias with my dad, Molotov  with my brothers and Jose Jose with my mom. I reveled with Gloria Trevi and felt all romantic with Luis Miguel.

Then in middle school, when everything turned dark, dramatic and lonely and tragic because I didn’t happen to ‘fit in’ (I’m a handful of inches taller than most any mexican girl), a sweet boy named Carlos introduced me to Nirvana. I remember all my anger and loneliness didn’t feel as terrible when I stayed curled up all afternoon listening to Nevermind on my walkman, deep inside the lower level of my bunk bed. I felt like my emotions were shared or understood or something. It all felt more manageable while the play button was pressed down.

Then my first boyfriend introduced me to Radiohead, Portishead and Frente. So I played that a lot. When we broke up I started researching music, national and international, and it turned out to be quite a big deal for me. Music propelled the next couple of chapters in my life, it inspired me to do things and meet people. It made me dream of a bigger world, it seriously made me feel better and brought me back to life! Thank you music thank you thank you thank you.

My cousins had cable TV so they got to know lots of north american stuff. I remember them talking a lot about The Cure but I never got to listen to them.

Until now!

I’ve been loving them so deeply. I’m so happy to finally have them hanging around with me in my living room. Their music changes the feeling of reality, I’m in so much love. If I was someone else who loved the Cure from before, I would be jealous of me hehe, discovering then right now has been just so awesome!!



Pupa & Lavinia #376 (to be published next friday)







Pupa & Lavinia #374 (Published in January, 2013)

Pupa & Lavinia #360 (Published in October, 2012)





Canción del momento, Bennington by John Maus




OH CAUTION for the squirmish, He swears a little.


* But it’s romantic swearing aaaaaawwww *


Pupa & Lavinia #354 (Published on august 2012)


Sweet potato from the sky

I had a dream last night about an enormous explosion in the sky. Something big happened, like the sun crashed with the moon and there was this awful super loud sound that made us all crazy terrified. I remember the sensation of my chest burning with that feeling of deadly danger.

Then from the sky they fell some huge chunks of sweet potato.

They fell on everyone’s roof. Big pieces of warm sweet potato, all nice and roasted from their contact with the sun.

We all ate it pretty happily and had some relieved nervous laughs. When we couldn’t eat more we brought some home to put in the fridge, relaxed a bit and were so glad that the explosion in the sky wasn’t “something more serious”

We’ve lived without a TV for the past 5 years, I don’t read the newspaper. I wonder where those worries about the end of the world keep coming from.

A Wolf and a Friend





I always thought that you get to the age when you understand what’s important in life (things like: people, nature, love, experiences and relationships)

I assumed we all get to the same conclusions because, wouldn’t that be so easy and wonderful? we would all become such good friends, all of us, members of the human specie…

But I think I got to the age when I finally understood that we are all walking very different paths, and that maybe if I get very lucky, I’ll find a couple people whose paths intersect with mine at points significant enough that we can form an important connection. I also learned that some paths just aren’t meant to intersect, and that’s not as terrible as it may have seemed when I was in middle school!

I had my birthday last week and this time I  feel like a different person, like if I just began appreciating life and all its contents. Like if I just began appreciating MY life.

I’ve always been so scared of getting old, but I absolutely take pleasure in those bits of serenity and wisdom I feel now in my ripe old age haha





That kind of loneliness




Sometimes I’m convinced that all of us humans share certain kind of perpetual loneliness.

The kind that stays inside even when we are in the middle of a crowd. The kind that never goes away, despite receiving copious doses of love, company or admiration. The one that follows us to every corner of the world.

But sometimes I think that this kind of loneliness is not as much as a hole or as an absence, as it sounds. Maybe it is just a room reserved to be full of one’s self… and some rooms are bigger than others.

Or maybe it’s just a gap that we’re supposed to feel and get the urge to fill up with each other.

And I believe it’s then, while opening and trying, that we end up having the most meaningful moments of our lives, almost by accident…




Gardening outfit

Sometimes I have the feeling that this gardening thing is reserved for the toughest among us…

Ani + Joe



Last year I did some months worth of work for Joe Fresh doing illustration for pijama sets (For toddler girl! Couldn’t be more perfect since I can see my own little girls wearing my creations!)

I can honestly say it was one of my favorite experiences so far as a freelance illustrator. I worked with such a sweet and professional group of people, I had lots of fun and got to learn so much from them.

The collections of clothing have to be done many months in advance so the designs I made last year have been released month after month up until now. Every time I went to the store they had released another handful of the designs I made and I would get so excited to finally see them! I get butterflies in my belly every time I stumble upon a little girl in a photo on flickr or facebook wearing one of them (like this one or this one)


These two are some of my favorites:






And this one is still available at the stores and it’s the last design I submitted, I feel like it’s the end of an era!



Before doing this work for Joe Fresh I didn’t even know how to use Adobe Illustrator hehe, I found it as abstract and complicated as trying to fly a plane, but I’m convinced we can learn super fast when we’re excited about a project!

This Textile Design thing ignited a passion inside me I didn’t know I had, it’s so fun and awesome… Ah! The possibilities!!




Pupa & Lavinia #292 (Published in 2011)







Potentially a Tree

One day I was watching one of those blind dating reality shows and I thought… if I was one of those girls, I would ask the guy what did he think about trees? If he loved them, I would start liking him a little… If he showed any lukewarm feelings about them I would probably kick him and throw a glass of wine on his face and run out of the fancy restaurant (and no, he wouldn’t be allowed to a second date with me… the nerve!). I feel such a passion for trees, for many years I’ve been proclaiming them my favorite thing in the world. They are just so full of goodness and sweetness. They do nothing but give and protect us. They also happen to be so incredibly beautiful.

When I was little I thought I was so special for feeling this way, but as the world changes I find that a lot of people have those thoughts about trees and nature. My theory is that those kind of feelings weren’t nurtured or even validated at some point in this civilization, but all our ancestors had such a good rapport with the natural world, they used it like medicine and they called it mother and treated it like a friend, not just a source of money or a pesky enemy to progress…

Every year around this time, some trees release lots of  little seeds all over the place. There are gazillions of them!


Eventually a bunch of them sprout everywhere they can, on people’s garden’s, on the sidewalks, inside little planters…

There are so many of them that they have to be weeded out, the poor guys. They are so delicate too, once I tried to re-plant a handful of them that I found on the sidewalk and they just died on me… I found it so strange, there are some weeds that nobody likes that are way more resilient than that!

But if we left those little and numerous seedlings grow up, they would all turn into something like this:


And somehow this process makes me so happy inside. I get the feeling that once we leave nature follow it’s course it’s really gonna heal itself from all the crap we’ve put it through.

Sometimes I wonder if I’ll live enough to see nature’s renaissance. But even if I don’t, I’m happy for you nature, good for you! And remember that lots of us love you with a passion!!

Amigo Mollete



5 years ago when I came to live up North, many people were still thinking that Taco Bell was real Mexican food. (It’s not!)

But happily, things have changed so much since then. Now every time I read a cooking book or magazine, there is at least a couple recipes based in authentic Mexican dishes and ingredients. They talk about mole and chipotle and tomatillos and tamales and pozole and enchiladas. It is very exciting for me because that is making Mexican ingredients way more available for those times when I feel like having a little taste of my homeland. It’s also making people’s minds more open and adventurous to try what I think is THE BEST FOOD IN THE WHOLE UNIVERSE!!!! * I know some folks are weirded out by it *

I thought I would share one of those “beginner” recipes we make when we are young and learning to cook in Mexico, they are called Molletes. They are simple and so very delicious (and vegetarian too! in case you, dear anonymous reader, care for such thing). We don’t use a lot of measurements over there, whatever tastes good is the right amount! haha.

There is a secret in the making of the Salsa my mom taught me that will impress your friends: When you chop the onion,  cover it with lime juice and a little bit of salt, it gets kind of pickled after an hour or so!. Once it has lost that harsh bite, it’s ready to be mixed with the rest of the salsa ingredients.





Then you just have to butter some slices of bread (I think any crusty bread will work, I’ve used mostly halved pieces of whole wheat baguette), spread a layer of refried or mashed beans and cover them with cheese. Bake them in the oven until the cheese melts, the beans get hot and the bread gets nice and crunchy. After that you take them out and each person can put some salsa on their mollete. Es usted increiblemente delicioso, Amigo Mollete.