enagerie: Stories in the Making - Paintings by David Hyde Costello

Miniature Menagerie: Stories in the Making – Paintings by David Hyde Costello

Hope & Feathers Framing and Gallery hosts Miniature Menagerie: Stories in the Making - Paintings by David Hyde Costello, March 1st through April 1st.

An exhibition of small watercolors featuring endearing animal characters created by picture book author and illustrator David Hyde Costello. Costello has created a charming menagerie of animals in mischievous and imaginative settings. These small paintings will appeal to all ages. Find your favorite and tell its story! We invite visitors to jot down brief stories about their favorite characters throughout the duration of the show. 

David explains: "Most of my story ideas stem from ideas in my sketchbooks. Often a character sketch will stand out as especially compelling, and a story begins to arise with the urge to make that character's world more real and complete. Even though they are stand-alone pieces, it is my hope that these small paintings will inspire the viewer to create their own story."

About David Hyde Costello:
David Hyde Costello is the author and illustrator of HERE THEY COME, I CAN HELP, LITTLE PIG JOINS THE BAND, and LITTLE PIG SAVES THE SHIP, due out in May, and the illustrator of A CROW OF HIS OWN by Megan Dowd Lambert.  He created the cover illustration for SHELLY AND THE SECRET UNIVERSE, a book which exists only in the Wes Anderson film
Moonrise Kingdom. With a background in theater as well as visual arts, David has painted scenery for plays and motion pictures including Amistad, Spider-man (2002), The Fighter, and The Heat. He is also a ukulele player, “self-taught through the productive use of procrastination.” David lives in Amherst, MA.



Hampshire Life, 3/24/17: Art Maker: David Hyde Costello, illustrator and writer

Amherst artist David Hyde Costello sees himself primarily as a picture book author and illustrator. His first children’s book came out in 2004, and his newest, “Little Pig saves the Ship,” comes out in May.

But Costello, 45, also makes puppets, some of which he uses when he reads his books to kids at schools and libraries, and he studied acting in high school and college; he later painted scenery both for plays and movies, including “Armistad,” “Spider-Man,” “The Fighter” and “Heat.”

“There's a smattering of various and changing other job titles in the mix,” he notes, but these days writer and illustrator are the mains ones.

Hampshire Life: Describe the work you’re doing now.

David Hyde Costello: I’ve painted small watercolors for a show at Hope & Feathers Gallery in Amherst. They’re all scenes of animal characters in my style of illustration. Each is made to look like it might be a page out of a picture book, and the gallery has put out notebooks where people have been writing down any story ideas the images inspire.

H.L.: Does your work start with a “Eureka!” moment?

D.H.C.: I don’t know the last time I had something I would describe as a “Eureka” moment. More often it’s a “Hmm, you know what might be kind of cool” moment.

H.L: How do you know you're on the right track?

D.H.C.: When I’m working, really focused and immersed, the question of being on the right track disappears. That’s the zone I feel I have to be in to be productive. Sometimes I feel a lot of doubt, which I try to accept as just part of the process. Eventually I know I have to show someone what I’ve made, and then their reaction will tell me if it’s working.

H.L.: What do you do when you get stuck?

D.H.C.: Set a project aside for a little while. I have multiple projects going on, so there’s always something else to work on.

H.L.: How do you know when the work is done?

D.H.C.: With all my picture books, I can look at them and see something that I would do differently. But I do have a few pieces that I wouldn’t change or redo. It’s as much about stopping at the right moment before the painting becomes a record of your effort rather than of your joy.

H.L: What did you do today that relates to your art?

D.H.C.: I bought a new pad of watercolor paper, a kind I don’t usually use, to try out. There are so many different kinds to try — and each one more expensive than the last.

H.L.: What is your idea of success?

D.H.C.: Artistically I’d define it as making art that means something to people. In terms of my career, I imagine it’s attaining a certain level of financial security, and with that an ability to make more and better art. It’s like a video game: the reward for winning is that you get to continue to play.

— Steve Pfarrer