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Meet Molly Costello of Molly Costello Art & Design in Rogers Park

Today we’d like to introduce you to Molly Costello.

Molly, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Well, art has always been a part of my life, I’m happy and sometimes surprised to say. I remember the rare occasions in elementary school where a visiting art teacher would come in and I would just feel so at home with the projects. My mother is an artist too, so I am so grateful that creativity was supported as a part of my upbringing.

Maybe the past 10 years or so, did I really turned to it as a central pillar in my life. Coming off of a rather religious upbringing while simultaneously engaging in local social change organizing, I found myself pretty full of despair and searching for a new framework and understanding of this world. My creative practice became a platform to reimagine the world that I want to live in and that’s what I have continued to dive into, writing a new cosmology for existence, in a way. All that and I also just like to draw vegetables because I love gardening and I think there is something light-hearted about root vegetables! 🙂

I started selling my prints in Rogers Park back in 2011 at a street festival for the first time and have scaled up production ever since. I’ve been enjoying new mediums that past few years such as fabric design and ceramics!

Has it been a smooth road?
Mmm, I can say it was more mentally challenging than anything. The road as an artist is slow sometimes and progress as at time felt hard to recognize. I’ve always worked between 2-4 jobs at any given time and the days where I was working long hours to make ends meet and hadn’t been in the studio for weeks were somewhat emotionally challenging. Honestly, I’ve gotta flip the script here though. I’ve always known I wanted to dedicate my life to this art practice and I am so grateful for this focus and for the ability to choose that for myself. Every challenge has been a growing opportunity and although some quick success would have felt nice, I am happy with me who I am today and I am happy with my work.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Molly Costello Art & Design – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Yes, so much to say! I consider myself a cut paper illustrator. I love working with colored papers and bring patterns and have recently incorporated more gouache and colored pencil. I’d say my main work is 2d illustrations but have also started working on surface design and ceramics. I’ve been making art as long as I can remember and in the past 7 years or so have turned my focus on themes of connectedness. In this broken world, where do we find healing? What is going to move us toward collective liberation? How do we each play a role in creating our healed future together? I know these questions have so many answers, but at the heart, I know a more connected society is going to be required to get us there. What I mean when I say this is a society that not only sees all lives as valuable but bound up in each other. Our existence, struggles, dreams, health, are all interwoven and we will all live richer lives when we are taking care of each other.

I make art because I know that everything begins with imagination. The world we live in now was dreamed up by millions of minds over the course of history. My hope is that my images will activate others imaginations and inspire a desire to reach out to one another, to honor the aliveness of the earth, to show up for each other’s struggles, and to live more deeply in community with each other. I know there is so much work to do in this world to break down oppressive structure but we have to also start dreaming up and living into the culture we want to inhabit.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
Chicago is an emergent and hopeful city in my opinion. Being one of our largest urban centers it can be a microcosm of many US social issues. What I find so beautiful is the number of individuals and organizations changing the framework of how we move forward, asking questions about the root causes of injustice and imagining new solutions from that perspective. This is so important and transformative. The amount of creative organizing here keeps me hopeful about the state of our world right now and I am so grateful for all that is happening!

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