During the fall, the storefront window of Vardiman Eyewear on 34-18 Broadway is decorated with a hanging pair of glasses, surrounded by forest creatures in beds of red and yellow leaves.
Shortly after Thanksgiving, white and blue papier-mâché Christmas trees dangle from the ceiling and on Valentine’s Day, the glass is covered with paper hearts.
“He touches something and he turns it into something unbelievable,” Janet Arcila, the owner and manager of Vardiman Eyewear, said of 28-year-old Onesis Castillo. “I don’t where he get these ideas.”
Castillo, her Dominican-born neighbor, has been creating seasonal pieces of art for the store for the past five years, which have caught a lot of eyes from patients and passersby alike.
According to Castillo and to Arcila, what makes the installation even more special is that recycled materials made up 80 percent of the project.
“I’ll use things that I find on the ground, even,” said Castillo, who didn’t let the fact that he has no formal art education hold him back.
Castillo started his artistic career by observing the former window decorator in 2009. He then created a Halloween installation five years ago that wowed Arcila so much that she kept inviting him back to create more work.
Castillo hopes that he can inspire others who might be afraid to pursue their passions.
“You only need to want to do something in order to do it,” said Castillo.