Art Costa: Sounds Deep

October 14, 2023

March 9, 2024
Art Costa takes us into a world of strange, sightless creatures that inhabit the darkest depths of the ocean. Costa makes his forms from reclaimed cardboard, papier mâché, and a variety of natural materials.

Art Costa takes us into a world of strange, sightless creatures that inhabit the darkest depths of the ocean. Costa makes his forms from reclaimed cardboard, papier mâché, and a variety of natural materials. His deep-sea denizens are richly textured and colored, and their faceless forms are full of personality and humor. 

The number of species that live in the ocean is unknown. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, scientists estimate that 91% of marine species have yet to be classified and more than 80% of our ocean is “unmapped, unobserved, and unexplored.” These statistics suggest awesome possibilities, yet research also tells us that the number of species in the ocean is decreasing as ecosystem health declines and extinction rates rise. 

In Sounds Deep, Art Costa conjures a beautiful, dark world we seldom see. He encourages us to imagine with him, and to respect and treasure the lives teeming below the surface of the sea.

— Sarah Freeman, curator

During my childhood on a California dairy farm, I learned to construct things from found materials. I built toy cars from bubble containers and plastic bottles by adding cardboard wheels and parked them next to houses made of shoeboxes. By the time I discovered that this sort of activity was encouraged in art departments, my choice of methods and materials was well established. I combined cast-offs from construction sites with treasures from thrift stores and yard sales to assemble eight- to ten-foot figures. In the 1980s, these objects entered the California Funk art scene, led by ceramic sculpture luminaries such as Robert Arneson, David Gilhooly, and Clayton Bailey at the University of California, Davis. 

My current work, made in Vermont, where I moved in 1996, is inspired by Sy Montgomery’s book The Soul of an Octopus. The narrator’s description of her friendship with an eight-legged “extraterrestrial” motivated me to explore images and videos of organisms that inhabit the deepest parts of Earth’s oceans. The existence of these fantastic animal forms, which live under such extreme conditions, has given me the freedom to push my cardboard sculptures to the limits. I hope my work helps inspire a collective effort to protect Earth’s fragile environments. 

— Art Costa

Artist Details

Art Costa

artcostasculpture.com

My sculptures are the results of a lifelong passion for the re-purposing of found objects and materials. Having grown up on a California dairy farm, nothing was ever wasted. Making my own toys with whatever was available graduated to the construction of art from whatever was free, or at least cheap at yard sales, influenced heavily by the California Funk art movement in the 1970’s and ‘80’s.

My current focus is on sculptures inspired by my interest in life forms we are finding in the deepest parts of the ocean. They are made of cardboard, scavenged from the back of appliance stores, in combination with natural materials and paper mache.

Location

Brattleboro Museum and Art Center
10 Vernon Street Brattleboro VT

Current Exhibits

Brattleboro and Beyond is Brimming with Creatives!  

March 16, 2024

June 16, 2024

Brattleboro Museum & Art Center

May 18, 2024

June 30, 2024

Mitchell-Giddings Fine Arts

March 30, 2024

May 12, 2024

Mitchell-Giddings Fine Arts