"My parents were masters of their art and are part of what motivates me to do the work I do."
"I'm Fernando Castro Perez. I was born in Lima, our great capital. I consider myself and a hardworking and organized man. I'm respectful with others and believe it's possible to overcome our obstacles if we put our minds to it.
"I try to find a smile in every situation, no matter how adverse. I'm passionate about my art, and each fine detail requires patience and my best efforts.
"Together with my family, I've faced some very complicated situations, especially during a period of hyperinflation when price increases were out of control, At the same time, our currency suffered a devaluation. Our home — like that of all Peruvians — was greatly affected. We bought only the most basics products and sacrificed a great deal during this economic crisis. We almost abandoned our woodcarving and walked away from everything because things were going so bad, and it was tough to sustain a situation as difficult as what we faced.
"All this was only one of the many challenges we had to face, not just in our personal and family life, but also in our woodcarving. We had to find a way to let it be seen, And our income wasn't enough to sustain our workshop. Yet, while it challenged is, it also offered an opportunity to grow as an artist and look at other possibilities in the world of art.
"My parents were my great teachers who instilled this art in me from the time I was just a boy. On my own, I learned to select the wood and, little by little, mastered all the finer details of woodcarving. Clearly, I had some talent that I'd developed since childhood when I'd spend my free time in the workshop. Together with my family, I was always focused on my goals and objectives with ingenuity, intelligence and, above all, with creativity.
"One of my greatest dreams is to set up an art school to share my skills and teach young people from low-income families — from my own community and from anywhere in the world. I want to help them be able to take up this noble art form that has brought me such happiness. To master the woodcarving art, you need a lot of patience. You need to read, to study, to train. But above all, you need to feel much love and passion for what you do. This is the only way to do things well and enjoy it along the way.
"I especially enjoy setting my imagination free, and also the challenge in making figures I've never made before. This is a challenge that inspires me to demand more of myself and it's very exciting.
"Mi inspiration comes from the beauty of my Peruvian culture in honor of our ancestors who left their artistic heritage through works of art that we can still enjoy today.
"I'm convinced that hard work, constancy and perseverance can achieve wonderful results. My parents were masters of their art and are part of what motivates me to do the work I do. Over time, I've been able to perfect it and develop a style of my own while perpetuating my family's legacy and tradition."