Ako Castuera is a multidisciplinary artist whose work is deeply informed by the diverse cultural and environmental features of Southern California, where she was born and is currently based. The shapes and surfaces in her work recall plants, animals, and the broad miscellany of a world shaped by humans and natural phenomena. Her recent body of work, ‘Temple of Worms’ incorporates compost and living worms into an offering of thanks to the soil from which clay, a primary material in Ako’s work, is drawn. The temple and its dressings reconsider the Mexica myth of Metzli, the “lowly” God/Goddess of worms, through the imagined point of view of the worms themselves, and is a celebration of the literal and metaphoric regenerative power of soil and darkness.
Ako’s practice includes teaching workshops on storytelling, local clay and compost, giving presentations and volunteering with community groups. Her work has been exhibited in galleries and museums throughout the United States. She maintains a concurrent career in animation, and is directing on a new netflix show exploring historic communities of Los Angeles in the midst of rapid change. She is also known for her work as a writer/storyboard artist on the television show Adventure Time.