WORDS AND PHOTOS BY SARA GOMACH
I was at Monona Terrace this spring for Isthmus Green Day when a woman approached me and started telling me, with great excitement, about a Madison artist she had recently discovered. "Do you know what a Tetra Pak is?" she asked me. I admitted I didn’t. "It's the packaging organic soup or rice milk comes in,” she said. “You know, the ones with the silver lining on the inside." I made a mental note to Google the artist, who uses Tetra Pak containers to create art, when I got home.
A few minutes later, the woman hurried back to me—"tetraPAKMAN" was here at Isthmus Green Day. We made our way over for introductions. He and a few kids were building a tower of cottage cheese containers, which was just about ready to be gleefully knocked down.
This is how I imagine most people come to hear of Victor Castro, a.k.a. tetraPAKMAN. Committed to both environmental and social change, Castro’s unique, large-scale artwork is popping up all over the community. He exhibited recycled sculpture in collaboration with the Bubbler at Madison’s Central Library, where he was the artist-in-residence earlier this year. His work was also recently displayed at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery. His upcycled pieces played elegantly with golden light as it spilled from the magnificent building's second story windows.
Originally from Mexico, Castro studied art and education in both Spain and Peru before establishing roots in Madison, where he has lived for the past two years. His thought-provoking pieces, which Castro creates under his non-profit organization, USgathering, facilitate his vision of art and people-powered change.