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What I'm most proud of is my humility. -- Edge

Rene Castro & the Love Town '89 Sets

Propaganda, Issue 11
Traditionally U2 stages have been very minimal, modernist and monochrome. For the Love Comes to Town Tour however, the band wanted to give the stage a new, more colourful look and employed Chilean mural artist Rene Castro to design backdrops and paint the stage itself.

Rene first met U2 on the 1986 Amnesty International tour, after Bono visited one of his larger mural works: San Francisco's Balmy Alley. On the Joshua Tree tour, Rene and his team actually painted a backdrop for U2 during a show at the Oakland Coliseum. For this tour Rene had somewhat longer to finish the job and a quieter environment in which to work. The whole stage was set up in Birmingham, England where Rene set to work, aided by Christine Goodchild, Derek Hawkins and Linda Farrow. Between them they painted three huge backdrops, plus various parts of the stage, the crash barrier and even some banners to hang in the lobby areas of the venues.

Rene Castro's uniquely Latin American perspective has blended with other cultural influences to create political art which has been exhibited all over the world. After the 1973 military coup in Chile, Castro spent two years in a concentration camp after which he was exiled for supporting socialist revolution. The sources for his work include El Salvador, Nicaragua, Chile and, most recently, the occupied Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. He says: "I take risks going to zones where people are oppressed and abused and I denounce this in my work."

Since 1980 he has been living and working in San Francisco, where he founded the leading silkscreen and design workshop, Mission Grafica. In addition to his poster work, Rene also teaches print in San Francisco. His paintings for the Love Comes to Town Tour are bold and simple, with multiple images used in different ways. A guitar, hawkmoon, candle, snakes, dollar signs, stars and stripes are all interrelated. These images also appear on posters, tickets and shirts linked to the tour.

© Propaganda, 1989. All rights reserved.