Phoenix Artist Emily Costello: 100 Creatives

Categories: 100 Creatives

Courtesy of Emily Costello
Meet the artist.
Phoenix is brimming with creativity. And every other year, we put the spotlight on 100 of the city's creative forces. Leading up to the release of this year's Best of Phoenix issue, we're profiling 100 more. Welcome to the 2014 edition of 100 Creatives. Up today: 60. Emily Costello.

Four years ago, artist Emily Costello quit her human resources job and became a full-time artist.

The 50-year-old South Phoenix resident and Phoenix Fridas art collective member says that every day as a full-time creative is different. "The only constant is getting my son to school and home again," Costello says. "In between that and after that I prep for art, make art, thrift for assemblage pieces and cheap art supplies, read, do the icky business part of making art for living -- selling, shipping, delivering..."

See also: Scottsdale Designer Kevin Goldman: 100 Creatives

Emily Costello
Costello's Libertad exemplifies how the artist uses her Mexican heritage for creative inspiration.
She says she draws inspiration for her works from her Mexican heritage, and more specifically its cultural icons, images, and folklore stories she heard while growing up in Superior, Arizona.

And she's garnered quite the following.

Over the Fourth of July weekend alone, Costello has work on display in group exhibitions in Phoenix, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. Locally, her art will be on view as part of the Phoenix Fridas 10-year anniversary exhibition and celebration at Burton Barr Library on Saturday, July 6. Next up, her schedule includes working on art for a fall exhibition in Tucson and pieces for local and out-of-state Día de Muertos shows and festivals. And there's a solo show, "Mexcla," she'll put on at Chandler's Vision Gallery in May of 2015.

Costello says she unwinds by walking her chihuahua, Luna, drinking lots of tea, and "too often" succumbing to catching up on her favorite shows on the DVR.

I came to Phoenix with a pack of smokes, Lay's potato chips, a modeling contract, my saxophone, and a borrowed car.

I make art because it makes me happy and gives me an interesting life. I meet people I wouldn't normally meet, learn about subjects I didn't know I'd be interested in, and sometimes making art even lets me help people out in small ways. An added bonus, my 13-year-old son thinks it's cool.

I'm most productive when I have to be. Time management isn't my strong suit.

My inspiration wall is full of kitschy and sacred things; milagros, Día de los Muertos figurines, small ex-votos, vintage saint cards, and a picture of my grandparents, Erma and Emilio Gonzalez.

I've learned most from trying and making mistakes; each failure has taught me that there is always the possibility of something new.

Good work should always keep you humble and make you strive to do great work.

The Phoenix creative scene could use more risk-taking to get to the next cultural level.

Location Info


Burton Barr Central Library

1221 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, AZ

Category: General

Vision Gallery

10 E. Chicago St., Chandler, AZ

Category: General

Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help

Now Trending

Phoenix Concert Tickets

From the Vault


Health & Beauty