Ako Castuera is an artist based in Los Angeles.
Ako is a painter, sculptor, writer, and knitter.
You can’t go wrong with a work that involves nature, humans, and dinosaurs.
More about the LA artist Ako Castuera.
PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF
My name is Ako Castuera. I like to paint and make things with my hands. I’m currently a storyboard artist on Adventure Time.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR WORK?
My work is colorful and I like to have the freedom to improvise and change. Lately I have been painting landscapes in watercolor. They are often about the relationship between humans and our home planet.
PLEASE SHARE WITH US YOUR WORKING PROCESS
Improvisation is a big part of the way I work, and the materials I choose are an important part of that. I try to go for tools and paints that seem to have their own life, which is sort of a willy nilly description, but it’s like a gut reaction that demands to be followed. I have to find materials that I get along with, because we will be working together, I’m not going to control everything. I try to let their characteristics influence my choices while I am working. Lately I’ve been starting with loose, abstracted layers of watercolor on paper. I work wet, and then apply glazes. Sometimes I have a very clear idea of what I’m going for, other times I am looking into the paint to find a way to an image, and either way I start loose, and work towards bringing out detail.
HOW DOES YOUR ENVIRONMENT INFLUENCE YOUR ART?
My environment is absurd. life in a developed country is an ecological disaster, and life in Southern California presents extreme examples of man made living gone wrong. The patterns made by tract housing developments seen from overhead are beautiful, but also starkly terrifying. I just think they look like death. I paint a lot of roads and houses because they represent a conflict between the dream of a cozy, stable middle class life, and the reality of being part of a food chain that on the successful end includes rapacious consumption of the riches of the earth, and on the losing end includes defaulting on home mortgages, debt slavery, and a lot of human misery.
The houses I paint are often built on dinosaurs, and I like to put them together because, number one, it is fun, and I used to think the hills by my house were dino bodies covered in earth. Dinosaurs are a reminder of extinction, and illustrate a childlike understanding of the prehistoric past, which I connect to our present times, and uncertain future. It sounds rather doomsday, but I have a lot of love for my home of Southern California. I have hopes that life here will adapt and flourish.
WHO ARE YOUR INFLUENCES?
Like most artists, I have a lot of influences. To name one or two here would leave out a hundred or more. I think people are interested in artists who are couples, so I’ll mention Rob Sato, who is an artist I admire, and have been living with and working around for 13 years.
ANY LAST WORD?
I wish more drivers would use their turn signal.