Mónica Castillo was born in 1960 in Mexico City, where she later studied painting under Guillermo Meza. She continued her studies from 1978-79 at the Sculoa Germanica in Rome, from 1979-80 at the Freie Kunstschule in Stuttgart, and from 1979-85 at the academy there under Rudolf Naegele, receiving a grant from the German government from 1983-85. From 1986-91 she belonged, together with Francisco Fernández (Taca), Claudia Hernández, Ruben Ortiz, Héctor and Nestor Quiñones as well as Diego Toledo to the art-group La Quiñonera, which worked in Coyoacán in the south of Mexico City in La Candelaria, a villa formerly housing the Quiñones brothers. In 1987 she designed the set for the ballet "Instrumentos" for the Compañía Nacional de Danza in the Auditorio Nacional in Mexico City. In 1990 and 1995, she received grants for young artists from the Fondo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes. From 1991-92 she lived in Santiago de Chile. In 1993 she took part in the Visiting Artists Program of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and was Mexico´s representative for a fresco-project at the international airport O´Hare in Chicago. In 1994-96 she taught visual art and art history at the Centro Nacional de las Artes and from 1997-99 at the Escuela Nacional de Artes Plásticas La Esmeralda, both in Mexico City. In 1996 she taught at the San Antonio Museum of Art in San Antonio in Texas and at the Escuela de Bellas Artes in Cali. From 2000-03 she is a member of the Sistema Nacional de Creadores des Fondo Nacional and from 2001-04 a tutor for alternative media. In 2002 she took part in the Visiting Artists Program at the University of Montclaire, Upper Montclaire in New Jersey. Mónica Castillo lives and works in Mexico City.
Mónica belongs to the 1980s´ generation known as neo-Mexican. The term denotes more an attitude than a style and refers to artists who, like members of the post-revolutionary Mexican school (Julio Castellanos, Miguel Covarrubias, Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera and so on), turn critically to typical Mexican themes and everyday myths. Symbols of family, social and religious institutions appear in her pictures in the guise of classical European art, religious art, folk art and modern pop art and are ironically queried or presented in the form of parody, often with caustic humour. In her early paintings, resembling verbal puzzles, Mónica Castillo used poster-colours and strong contrasts, played with features of kitsch and sometimes incorporated real objects. Painting was an act of analysis with eschatological and fantastic features.