Born in the cosmopolitan city of Mexico, Joe Castillo was strongly influenced by his artistic family and the international art community. His mother taught painting. His father owned a graphic design and display company. By age five, he was enrolled in his mom’s art class for the neighborhood children. By eight, his father was teaching him to hand letter brush script. Then, at fourteen, he attended an artist’s chalk talk at a Christian youth camp in Mexico. He was so moved by the drawing and the powerful message that he accepted Christ that night. For the next forty years his love of art and his passion for God would inspire and guide his life.
Joe and his wife Cindy have four grown children, six grandchildren and call Atlanta Georgia home. 
After his father’s death in 1963, the Castillo family moved back to the United States. Joe finished high school, studied at the Ringling School of Art in Sarasota and enrolled at Florida Bible College. At FBC he received a Bachelor’s degree in Bible. As an avid reader Joe developed a love for writing, teaching and using his artwork for telling stories. Using what he called WordStory®, Joe became a regular speaker at youth camps and churches.
During his twenty years in advertising, Joe kept his love for Art Stories alive by becoming an accomplished motivational performer/speaker in both English and Spanish. Joe has entertained and captivated thousands of audiences over a period of thirty-two years stories that inspire, motivate and touch the heart. His art has been sold worldwide. After eighteen years in advertising and the loss of his wife of twenty-six years to breast cancer, he sold his ad agency, went back to school and graduated from Asbury Seminary. His profound love of teaching the scriptures inspired him to illustrate what he was learning in a new way. These illustrations attempted to present the Bible in an intricate story-form that grew out of the Biblical passages. The ArtStories involved doing a four foot by eight foot mural while telling a Biblical story. The combination of using the eyes as well as the ears created a double impact more effectively reaching this visual generation. Using stories and hidden art Joe developed his unique ArtStory® messages.
His latest adventure in Story telling is something Joe calls SandStory®. Drawing in sand on a light table, he is able to create powerful, fluid illustrations for large audiences with an overhead video camera projected on a large screen. His presentations have been seen by thousands of people leaving them with a sense of awe. He has created performances for CBS, NBC, BBC, TED, over thirty Fortune Five hundred companies, Kings, presidents and dignitaries in more than 18 countries around the globe. 1
Joe Castillo's audition in Episode 707 consisted of moving sand on a projector to project an artistic story of two people joining the American war effort on a screen to "Proud to Be an American." Howard Stern, Sharon Osbourne, and Howie Mandel all voted "Yes," sending the act to the Vegas Round.
Joe Castillo was one of the Judges' Favorites in the Vegas Round. He was sorted into the "Novelty Acts" category. His performance in Episode 711 consisted of portraying through moving sand with his hands the story of people in chains, to the song "Feeling Good." His audition was strong enough for the judges to send him to the Quarterfinals in Episode 712 along with All Beef Patty, Aurora Light Painters, and Light Wire Theater.
Joe Castillo's Quarterfinals performance in Episode 720 consisted of portraying through moving sand different animals such as a bear, a lion, and an elephant, as well as a "map of the world" and a teary eye (Castillo had identified it as God's eye). He received enough votes to be sent to the Semifinals in Episode 721 instead of Eric & Olivia and Horse.
Joe Castillo's Semifinals performance in Episode 726 consisted of portraying through his sand art display set to "Get Together" by The Youngbloods with arranging the grains to form images of a birds on a musical scale, two hands holding each other, and a young boy embracing Jesus. Joe received enough votes to be revealed as one of the Top 4 of the first Semifinal round instead of The Scott Brothers and Turf. He was later revealed to have finished in either third or fourth place in America's Vote. In the Judges' Choice, although Howard Stern did not vote for him, Sharon Osbourne and Howie Mandel did, sending him to the Finals in Episode 727 instead of Todd Oliver.
For the finale in Episode 731, Joe Castillo drew with sand art a story about the world's children as PS22 Chorus sang "Edge of Glory" in a duet. Joe was revealed to have finished in fifth place in the competition that night, in front of The Untouchables, but behind Olate Dogs, Tom Cotter, William Close, and David Garibaldi and His CMYK's.