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In This Issue
 Uffens Marketplace/On the Spot -P2
Dana Costello/News Nibbles -P3
Pop Nostalgia/New Zealand -P4
Doug Snow/Art Festivals -P5

Up and Upcoming/Mixed Media -P6
June 2004
Published Every Six Weeks by Artists of Utah, a non-profit organization.
dana costello
Artist Profile: Salt Lake City
Dana Costello: Myths in the Headlines
by Shawn Rossiter

When you're an artist pursuing a career, Utah is the type of place you leave for cities like New York, San Fransisco, or L.A. Dana Costello did just the opposite. In 1996, she left San Fransisco to pursue her art in Salt Lake City.

Costello, a California native, says that though she was considered the “class artist” she never pursued any formal art studies, which she found too “limiting.” She had a “varied liberal arts higher education” and graduated from the University of California/Santa Barbara with a BA in Sociology and Psychology. After graduating, she worked in a number of different professions but remained unsatisfied. During this time, she began to paint more regularly and felt the drive to pursue her art more vigorously.

As a result, she decided to come to Salt Lake City, where a sister was located and where she hoped to “create an economic situation in which I could live and paint more freely.” Her decision seems to have been a wise one. She remains in a home in Salt Lake City, where she keeps her studio, and paints full-time. She is represented by galleries in California as well as by Phillips Gallery in Salt Lake City. In recent years, she has received recognition for her work, including awards from the Utah Arts Council and Springville Art Museum, as well as a Utah Arts Council Individual Artist Grant in 2001. In 2003, the Salt Lake Art Center gave her her first solo exhibit entitled "Territories of the Self." Last month she exhibited at the Art Barn in a compelling solo exhibition entitled “Persephone Revisited,” where the headlines of her adopted home appeared as a central theme.

Costello is one of those rare artists who is able to develop a personal style by employing the most basic means for the maximum effect. A self-taught artist with an interest in primitive and naive arts such as medieval manuscript art, cave drawings, and folk art, she has developed a “naif” style which reveals images that can be darkly unsettling while remaining simple and emblematic. 

“My influences include folk and naive arts because I respond to their honesty. I love color and form above all else. I think the simplicity found in this type of art is a very powerful visual stimulant. I also have no formal arts education, so I am able to create this type of art with little frustration"

Costello often paints on panels, modest in size, with a bare bones approach to application and composition. Her images are stylized, her backgrounds simple. Though her style may be "naif," her themes and the erudition with which she plays with them pictorially are anything but naive.

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Travelogue: New Zealand
Making Waves in New Zealand
by Laura Durham

Over the past year, I received several invitations from BYU art professor Joseph Ostraff to tag along with eleven students on a field study project in New Zealand. Five days before the plane took off, I finally decided to go.

I was a little hesitant to accept the offer at first, because I didn’t really understand how I would fit in to their project (after all, I'm neither an artist nor a student). But five days before take-off, I figured "what the heck" (yes, "heck" – I may not be a BYU student now, but I was several years ago). What kind of idiot would ignore an opportunity like this? I called a travel agent, ordered my tickets and before I knew it, I was on a flight halfway around the world. After meeting several of the students, I soon realized that, though they had taken a prep class and purchased their airline tickets with more foresight than myself, I wasn't the only one who didn't understand exactly what would happen on our trip. But Ostraff’s spontaneous approach to the field study program actually opened new doors, providing us with a truly powerful experience we couldn’t have planned for.

The first few days in New Zealand were so relaxed one would think Ostraff was simply on a family vacation and decided to invite his students and friends to come a long for the ride. Brian Wilcox, a cinematographer at the LDS Motion Picture Studio, came to document the trip and fellow art professor Gary Barton would be joining us in a couple weeks. Wilcox and Ostraff have traveled together before with their families and BYU students on various projects, so even though this was old hat for them, there was no itinerary, no set schedule, no solid plans. Coming straight from an administrative world of itineraries, deadlines and day planners I wasn’t used to this way of life, but I welcomed the change. We all stayed at beach houses in Ohope, a small resort town situated along the east coast of the northern island. Vague explanations of Maori artists and an art school we might be working with rumored amongst us during Frisbee games on the beach and shopping trips up and down the streets of nearby Whakatane. For the first day or two, Ostraff patiently tried to answer questions like, “What’s going on tomorrow?” and “How exactly is it going to work with the art school?” Sometimes he knew, sometimes he didn't. The only concrete piece of information he had was two names: Julie and Rangi Kipa.

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