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Local artist emphasizes personal creativity

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Cezia Costales brings unique multimedia art to Big Sky

Cezia Costales holds one of her Frida Kahlo inspired hand painted plant pots. PHOTO COURTESY OF CEZIA COSTALES

By Julia Barton DIGITAL PRODUCER

BIG SKY — Cezia Costales doesn’t do western art. In fact, unlike many framed pieces in gallery windows around Big Sky, his art does not appear to resemble Montana at all.

Instead, the young local artist has cultivated her own style, distinct from what she sees around her. Using vibrant colors, recycled materials, and various other mediums, Costales does work that speaks through her soul, and she makes it a point to teach others to do the same.

“Everyone has a unique creative style,” Costales said. “I’m inspired by Montana although that doesn’t influence my art.”

Costales first traveled West from his home in Connecticut after leaving art school early.

She started working in seasonal restaurants in different towns in the area, but somewhere along the way she stopped making art.

Eventually, she moved to an area of ​​Wyoming that was so remote that she had to use a payphone to keep in touch with her family. Having just come out of an unhealthy relationship, Costales said she decided now was the right time to try making art again.

“I wasn’t an expert in character design or realistic art or anything like that,” Costales said. “I just started going to thrift stores and looking for things that might be unconventional and then turning them into art.”

Costales brought her unique artistic style and enthusiastic personality to Big Sky eight years ago when she moved to the resort town for a seasonal job and never ended up leaving. This month, she’s taking the plunge to become her own full-time employer and focus entirely on her art. She named her personal art brand Janai P; janai a biblical term meaning “God answers” and P meaning “prophetic art”.

The brightly colored, sometimes shimmering, and often recycled pieces created by Costales are unlike anything done by any other artist, and that’s no accident. In her work, she uses recycled materials – sometimes even real waste – to create something new.

“Joy Comes in the Morning” by Cezia Costales. PHOTO COURTESY OF CEZIA COSTALES.

In his piece “Joy comes in the morning”, a three-dimensional black border breaks the confines of a golden frame to reveal a golden background and a window constructed with real twigs. Small flowers appear under the window, which sees a sunrise over green hills.

“I do what makes me happy as far as my art style is concerned, it’s literally me,” she unapologetically declared. “There’s nothing I was taught except the basics of the art.”

In addition to her own work, Costales uses various venues to teach others the art of uninhibited, self-expressive art. She hosts private art classes, intentional workshops, BASE collage classes, and art nights, where she brings art supplies to an event and leads a group through an interpretive art session, encouraging her students to use its instructions only as a starting point. . She is also a constant staple of the Big Sky Farmer’s Market.

“The coolest thing I’ve done as an artist was doing an art night for Justin Timberlake,” she humbly added.

Costales’ main focus in her work is not to create the most technical works of art, but rather ones that celebrate individual creativity and inspiration, she explained. In her classes, she encourages students to reflect on what makes their art different from someone else’s. By knowing each other, artists naturally cultivate their own style, she suggested, but it is often toned down when artists compare their work to that of others.

“I want to inspire young artists to stay true to their ideas, identity and individual activity,” Costales said. “They don’t need to compare themselves to other artists.”

By delving into what makes her art her own, Costales has fostered a connection with the Big Sky community and been recognized for her work, recently winning second prize at this summer’s Big Sky Artisan Festival and having many loyal customers. in his classes at BASE and his stall at the Farmer’s Market.

Costales can be found through his website janaip.art or at @Janai_p.art on Instagram and Facebook.