THE GIRL BEHIND THE GRAFFITI | INTERVIEW WITH AUBRIE COSTELLO
If you're from Philly, you know that street art is a part of the city's culture. In fact, Philadelphia has more murals than ANY other city in the world. Seriously! Whether it's a commissioned mural, art installation, roadside sculpture or a mosaic covered building we pretty much see it all living here. Maybe it's my connection to fabric (previously a fabric buyer), or my love for shiny, luxurious things.. either way, one of my favorite local artists is Aubrie Costello who is known for pioneering the art of silk graffiti.
There's something so romantic about the hand feel of silk, or a bold fiery red hue. It's so bold yet understated, which is an uncommon way of describing anything in Philly... except for Aubrie's work. Aubrie has been named one of the top local artist's to watch, and beyond that, has installed pieces throughout the USA as far as Los Angeles. I like to feature women relevant to sticks+stones, and people I find inspirational on my blog. So I sat down with Aubrie Costello..
LF: So Aubrie, you’ve been named one of the best street artists, as well as artists to watch in Philly! That’s super exciting.. what do you feel has contributed to your success in the Philly art scene?
AC: Firstly, damn, thank you - you're making me blush! I've been making art in Philly for over a decade. I consider myself like a fly on the wall. Over the years I've taken the time to observe my peers in the art scene from afar and learn from them any chance that I could. That has given me so much in terms of knowledge and has helped me set foot on this personal artistic journey. It's taken me a while to make my mark, but I'm happy that I put the time in to hone my craft. I feel that when I made the decision to leave the gallery wall and create street art in the public space, people noticed my work more and paid more attention to what I was doing. I owe a lot of my success to Conrad Benner of Streets Dept for taking a chance on me and highlighting my work the way that he did.
LF: Do you think it’s harder for a female to be prevalent in the street art world? When I think of all of the bigger names, unfortunately they're all male. Are there ladies I’m not aware of?
AC: I think it's harder in general for women, yes. There are a lot of hurdles that we have to jump over to be seen and heard, especially in the creative space. And we experience a lot of scrutiny, which can be difficult. BUT with that being said, here are a couple of badass lady street artists that are killing it and everybody should know - Miss Van, SWOON, GILF, Amberella, Ishknits, Blur, Tatyana Fazlalizadeh.
LF: Your installations are sometimes hard to reach.. have you ever gotten hurt?
AC: Ha! Not yet but knock on wood. I've definitely poked myself with pins and needles and braved heights to hang the work. And thankfully, I have some loving, crazy creative friends who've assisted me with the more complicated installations. But time will tell. I'd love to hang my work in even higher, riskier spots next, and make the work tripled in size if possible...so stay tuned!
LF: What is your favorite piece so far?
AC: I'd say "Farewell" which I installed in California on a road trip.
LF: Ok so now on to fashion.. you’re pretty much a designer favorite in this city… what do you think is going to be hot for fall this year?
AC: Why thank you girl. I LOVE local, handmade, unique fashion and I feel that buying less, but more special pieces from local boutiques is where it's at. I invest in timeless, unusual pieces when I can b/c I know they will be cherished favorites and I'll wear them for life. When I'm not making art, I'm helping buy for BUS STOP Boutique, so I'll start with what I know (and love the most), shoes. Shoes are like pieces of art to me. For fall, I'm loving chunky menswear-inspired shoes & boots, as well as sexy, feminine retro boots with pointed toes and black heels. I'm really into artful embellishments like velvet, hardware, and fur on shoes right now. Not much has changed for my personal uniform -it's still all about strong jewelry, bangin' shoes, and a quality bag. The rest is easy, it's black everything. I love men's-inspired overcoats paired with some high-waisted pants, and a simple crop top. But I'm excited to incorporate more lingerie pieces into my looks this season, & channel those high school punk rock days.
LF: What’s your personal style? Does street art = street style?
AC: I think street art is all about standing out, creating your own unique style, and being recognizable in a sea of other artists. I love walking down a street and being like, "Oh snap, there's a Kid Hazo, there's an Ephemeroh, there's an Amberella". And it's pretty cool that people have been reacting to my work this way when they run into it in the streets. While I feel it's important to make your mark and have a style, you still gotta keep 'em guessing. I apply that to my personal style - like my street art, it's direct, not overly fussy, it's in a way very simple. But there's always a little bit of an off-ness, or a twist that keeps it fresh.
LF: Are there any brands or products that you can see yourself collaborating on? I feel like I can see you killing it in the graphics scene.
AC: I would love to work with a company to create a custom silk graffiti font. I'm on the hunt for a cool fashion brand to work with to make custom dresses, unisex jackets and even shoes. My ultimate dream is to create a GIANT silk mural for an installment of Pow Wow Worldwide: https://www.facebook.com/
LF: Ok so now that we know all about you, what’s the deal with the "Show me what you want me to see" event? Tell me about it.
AC: I am having my largest Silk Graffiti exhibition to date, as part of the Philly Fringe Festival '17, called SHOW ME WHAT YOU WANT ME TO SEE. The 2-night only performance is happening on Sept 22nd + 23rd from 8-10 pm. The exhibition and performance itself is extremely Philly-centric, with an impressive roster of Philly multidisciplinary creatives participating. Inspired by the 2015 Fringe Festival performance "Sit Down. Stand Up." created by dancers Jessica Noel and Leslie Davidson, SMWYWMTS expands on their performance by intimately exploring all the peculiar stages of love, from its dawning, to it’s dimming, to its inevitable darkness through dance, film, fiber art, poetry, and an original score. I adorned the interior of a South Philly apartment with layers of silken words, setting the scene for a story about the complexities and nuances of love, loss, and human connection. Filmmaker Lendl Tellington pieces together two love stories- that of Davidson and Noel, + that of Fatima Adamu.
The film follows Davidson and Noel from the height of their passion, through the building of their bond, to the unraveling of their love story and the intensity of their fall, and examines the mystery of what remains after all the dust settles. Adamu’s story of a love lost is portrayed through the individual lens. We move with her as she encounters the dynamic journey of inward reflection while mourning a private loss in solitude. The silk messages throughout feature lines from a late-night freewrite by myself and Victoria Prizzia. We pulled together personal accounts and histories of heartbreak, reflection, and healing from our old journals. The film unfolds to a soundtrack by music producer Josh Hey.
An intimate live performance + art installation will accompany the film screening during the 2017 Philadelphia Fringe Festival. Harpist Jesse Sparhawk accompanies Adamu's movement and vocalizations while dancers Noel and Davidson perform a luscious, powerful, dynamic duet. GET TICKETS HERE: http://fringe.phillypack.org/.
I'll be supporting Aubrie, and I hope you will too! Whether you're in Philly, or some far off land, someone new to follow is always exciting!