Painting for me is an emotional response to a direct visual experience – Exclusive interview with Boston based painter Michael Costello.
Could we start with some background information about you?
My studio for the past 30 years is in Boston. I have drawn from my earliest memories and I started painting at the age of 12.
What is the background story behind the series “Dancer at the bar, Dancers with a clown”?
The Dancers were part of my series “Boxers and Ballerinas” which is a suite of drawings inspired by the graphic noval culture. In each drawing one model takes on a series of poses where he or she plays off of themselves. The “Dancers at the Bar” portion of the series is a tongue in cheek homage to the drawings of Degas.
How about the clowns? What is your relationship with them?
The clowns for me represent “The Lone Poet” in society . Traditionaly we are amused by the painful life situations clowns find themselves in. Everything from cuckoldry to prat falls, which should inspire our empathy has the opposite effect.
The Three Tenors
What is your favorite topic to paint?
The human body in all its forms. I find the models nakedness an open window to the soul.
Those pictures very much reminded me to Degas and Touluse Lautrec’s works. Is that correct to say you are impressed by impressionism?
I am not so interested in the impressionist philosophy to light and color as I am in the Belle Epoque artist identifiying as painters of modern life.
How is your working process like? Do you paint after model?
I only work from life. Painting for me is an emotional response to a direct visual experience.
Boy Chick 1&2
How do you choose what to paint next?
I hire models on a regular basis to keep up on my drawing skills . On a good day I will find myself working with someone who presents a side of humanity that I wish to explore.
Do you think we can find importrant differences between gay art – straight art?
I am sure that there is but I hope not in my work. I wish to present all the human exsperiences with equal importance. Take away our clothing and we are all the same species, with all the same human needs.
Which artists are you obsessed to right now?
Freud, Balthus, Uglow, Rembrandt, Hockney, Kollowitz, Bacon to name a few but the list always grows and changes.
What is your next to do today?
Currently, I am working on some paintings about gender elusiveness.
Dancers at the Bar
Michael and Ernie – Touch – After
Ballerina and Clown
Find Michael: www.michaelcostelloartist.com @michaelcostelloartist