John Costin, American (1955-)

A resident of Ybor City (Tampa, Florida), John pursues an interest capturing in visual form the rich and diverse bird of life and other subjects of his home state. With a background in contemporary art, he creates life size images of birds that explore nuances indigenous to that species. “Through my art I strive to capture and I personify birds, enriching the viewer’s perception of this particular form of wildlife which they may rarely have an opportunity to intimately experience. The birds are presented in such a way that they are aware of the viewer’s presence and react to that confrontation. Their reaction reveals unique traits to the viewer, adding another level of understanding. Ultimately one’s sensitivity and awareness of these natural wonders could lead to a more profound perception of the world we all share.”

While attending the University of South Florida, he studied Intaglio art that piqued his interest in etching and continues to this day. It is a way of combining graphics, painting and engineering into one art form. The medium has an extremely large range of possibilities, giving many directions for his imagination to explore. The visual qualities are very enticing: colors ranging from subtle to intense, black tones going from delicate to velvety, textures that are limited only by one’s imagination and lines that range from needle thin to broad and bold.

Etching is a complex process combining skills of painting, printmaking and engineering. Starting with a polished plate of copper, the image is directly etched by hand on the plate as if it were sketchpad. The process takes from 6-8 weeks to complete. The plates are then skillfully wiped down with ink and then printed on high quality rag paper.  Afterwards these printed images are hand painted with oil paints for rich color, quality and subtle nuances of detail, making each piece unique.

John has been a professional artist since 1979, exhibiting in numerous shows and winning awards throughout the south. His work can be found in collections like The Florida Aquarium, Eckerd College, German Motor Car Company, General Motors Corporation, Yellow Freight, Tampa Bay History Center, U.S.A.A. Insurance, State Library of Florida, University of Miami, Raymond James Financial, Inc. and the Museum of Art, to name a few.