Jessie Wilber Gallery
by Coco Costigan
Jessie Wilber Gallery
August 13 – September 3, 2021
M – F | 10am – 5pm
About Coco Costigan
Coco Costigan is a sculptor and potter, working primarily in clay since the early 90’s. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree of Fine Arts in Ceramic Art in 1996 from California State University of Long Beach.
In 2000 Coco founded Santa Monica Mudd, a studio/gallery in Santa Monica, California that hosted local artists’ exhibits and served as space for her to create and teach ceramics. In 2011, Coco relocated the studio/gallery to her home in Malibu, California, where she and her husband Tom raised their two children, while Coco continued to teach and create in clay.
Coco and her family relocated to Bozeman, Montana in 2019. Inspired by her mother’s family history, she is steeping herself in her heritage with a focus on her family background dating back to the 1890’s in Butte and Livingston Montana.
Coco has Immersed herself into Bozeman artisan’s community, participating in local art fairs such as Sweet Pea Festival, S.L.A.M. Festival, and the Emerson’s Holiday Bazaar. Her work has been nationally recognized in juried exhibitions:
- National Council of Education for Ceramic Arts
- Archie Bray – Brick Yard Festival in Helena, Montana
- Ink and Clay in Pomona, CA.
Her work has also been featured at:
- Rapscallion – Board Riders in Bozeman, Montana
- Austin Art Projects in Palm Desert, CA.
- Charles Arnoldi Studio in Venice, C.A.,
- Artists’ Unite in Malibu, C.A.
She is an artist member at the Artists’ Gallery located in the Emerson Center for Arts and Culture. Most recently, Coco’s mug was selected for the Sweet Pea Festival Mug Contest, and two of her sculptures were displayed in the Sweet Pea Art Show during this summer’s Art Walk.
As a young artist, my early passion was to sculpt. While I was earning my BFA in Ceramic Arts, I was drawn to the potter’s wheel. I also knew that learning the skill of throwing clay would not only advance my ability to create just about anything in the medium, but even more so, it amplified the connection I had with nature. I’m amazed to know that my hands can form the element of earth that when manipulated by the elements of water and fire, a functioning vessel is born. It truly is a spiritual experience.
I am captivated by the dynamic process of working in clay. The creation of each piece requires so many that must be executed with perfect timing. Working with clay is a constant balance between exploring new methods and learning from mistakes. Surface design varies greatly in technique depending on the effect I’m aiming for. Functional ceramics, like mugs, require specific glazes and additional firings to be suitable for use. In my sculptural work, I have learned through trial and error, successful,l unorthodox methods that have allowed me to break away from the “purist’s” approach.
My inspiration for this show comes from heirlooms, artifacts, and vintage goods unearthed from “Pop’s Garage.” I recreated these relics out of clay to share stories from my past and of my family, and for my audience to relate to and reflect upon a bygone era and their own memories held dormant by time.
I deeply appreciate the continued function of objects from our past, knowing that the person who used each object most likely used it often, creating many memories. The scuffs, dents, dings, and discolorations reveal the experiences of each piece. These imperfections become meaningful moments, reminiscent of the lines on one’s face, show a beauty acquired through a long journey and earned wisdom.
What I find most compelling about these artifacts, is that they continue to function. These objects were made during a time when craftsmanship was expected, and fine quality never compromised. Things were built to last. Unlike the world of expendables we find ourselves living in today – we consume and we discard. I am hopeful we will get back to a time where quality exceeds quantity.