Today we’d like to introduce you to Jennifer Jean Costello.
Jennifer Jean, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
A hapa who grew up in Philadelphia and has been creating art for over 15 years, I attended Syracuse University received my MFA from Boston University. Art and being an artist is therapy for me, not just physically but psychologically and spiritually. My dual Buddhist-Catholic heritage is reflected in my work in which I frequently explore the relationship of humans, nature and objects. I think of my art as an objective homage to my Eastern and Western traditions and to the raw architecture and sounds of the city.
My first memory in the Arts was being able to create a wall consisting of a large white or brown paper held by tape—my artistic and unconventional Mama would say “wow me.” I thought this was the norm in everyone’s home. Once school age, you realize it was unconventional but inspiring and outré at times. She had always been my creative inspiration, a safe and offbeat person.
Even with this freedom, my thirst for knowing more about the human mind lead me to actively pursue psychiatry. It was a visiting Commercial Artist in my junior year of high school who encouraged me to take classes at a local college, Moore College of Art and Design. He helped me apply for a scholarship, which lead me to taking painting and figure drawing classes. He knew I would never be able to put together a professional art portfolio for colleges at a high school that concentrated on math and science. Outside of school, I spent many hours exploring the 1300 Chestnut Street murals, sketching at the Rodin Museum and sitting/drawing in the Arms and Armor room at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. In addition, I sketched anyone who would let me and sometimes people I saw at a distance—I still remember the glares and fingers of unwilling subjects.
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
Growing up the child of Asian and Caucasian parents, my 2D artwork (primarily oil on canvas and wood) is a reflection of what is beautiful and sometimes misconceived in both cultures. My use of color and creative texture lend harmoniously from the natural world—having grown up with an environmental engineer parent—and my heritage influences. I derive inspiration for my paintings from a wide variety of subjects, and I try to convey a sense of motion and to evoke a wide range of emotions. Each piece and series is inspired by my own life, through language and travel experiences and by poems, e.g. Arthur Rimbaud’s prose poem “Départ” from Illuminations, “Je est un autre,” among others. Poems have a way to speak the truth, to empower and encourage the reader as 2D and 3D artworks affect the viewer. Thus adding conflict, balance, and harmony to shape a ‘my’ work’s form and energy—lending to our departure with the stations of life in search for new noise and passion.
Plus my zany personality keeps me listening to the same album when creating a piece and ultimately a series. A creature of habit! These works lend to my own ongoing dilemma—the use of my last name Costello-Okumura. I use Costello professionally and Okumura on social sites to stay true to my heritage. Yes, confusing to others, but makes sense to me.
Artists face many challenges, but what do you feel is the most pressing among them?
Finding a ‘balance’ between creative time/energy and marketing my art in the midst of everyday life. After spending the time necessary to promote my work, my creative time in the studio is shortened sadly. As long as I am able to create art, write, and experience the joys of life—a hopeful outlook—then I have achieved that balance. My life’s journey consists of always learning, experiencing, and pushing myself to reach for more, which usually comes with a monetary aspect—an ongoing painterly narrative where I hope to always be surrounded by honest critics, and people who are inspiring and stimulated in their own lives. Balance to me is laughing often, and being loved and respected by intelligent people. I want to be mind-blown and leave this world a little better.
Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
My work can be seen in the Boston area at SoWa First Fridays, SoWa Art & Design studio visits at 450 Harrison suite 202, through exhibits, the Boston Design Center, in Newburyport and beyond. Come say hi and follow my homepage ‘à venir’ and on Instagram. See you soon as a hug awaits—yes I am a hugger!
Represented by: Galerie d’Orsay at the Boston Design Center Suite 204, Paula Estey Gallery in Newburyport, Masterpiece Framing & Fine Art Gallery, and Galatea Fine Art
- Address: 450 Harrison Ave, Suite 202, Boston
- Website: www.jenniferjeanart.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @jennyjean25
Jennifer Jean Costello