Artist Diana Castro is a multi-hyphenate. Under the name Pana Li, the Mexican designer, art director and musician explores the use of design, technology and music for self-transformation. Her design work spans a variety of mediums; she creates visual identities for musical projects and album covers, as well as interactive installations for festivals, DJ performances and sonic experiments. But across these many mediums, her practice shares a common thread: a focus on healing and spirituality, and a desire to help people connect with their higher selves.
By Remezcla Estaff
With her design label Ser Paraíso, Castro has created a collection of mindful accessories, including notebooks, art prints, greeting cards, notepads and DIY objects. In the form of these metaphysical accessories and modern talismans, she hopes to help people manifest positive intentions.
We caught up with Castro to learn more about the inspiration behind Ser Paraíso, and what it takes to get a spiritual business off the ground.
When did you realize you wanted to be an artist? Did you grow up in a creative home?
I did, my mother is always making beautiful art and my father is a great singer. My sister is a lighting designer for architecture. I realized I wanted to make art (professionally) when I started making sound design and music for art installations in Mexico City (before moving to NY, around 2012). I was also a full-time DJ at that time.
What was your path to becoming a designer? And how did this work connect to your work in the music space?
In high school, I was always in charge of making the projects look pretty and bringing the music to house parties. So I just knew I had to pursue those paths. Years later, and by the time I left my full-time job in CDMX, I committed to myself to work only on design projects related to music. So I started designing album covers, parties (I believe making parties is definitely designing a music experience). Later on, that evolved to music-making apps, my own textile synthesizers, my own music, making mixtapes and playlists, because again, they are music experiences too — personal parties. And recently designing “Sound Altars” (interactive art installations).