A very unique art exhibit is on display at the Tampa Bay History Center in downtown Tampa. The exhibit is called Etched Feathers: A History of the Printed Bird, and it features the artwork of Valrico resident John Costin. The exhibit is available for viewing in the Wayne Thomas Gallery now through Sunday, October 15.
Birds have mesmerized and inspired people and artists for centuries. Etched Feathers is solo exhibit of Costin’s original etchings and his personal collection of his antique bird prints. Costin’s latest etching of a mating pair of sandhill cranes depicted life-size, titled Verdant Landscape, is also included in the exhibit.
Costin said, “In addition to my pieces in the exhibit, there is also a collection of original antique prints that display the history of bird art from the 1600s up to the 19th century. The antique prints are from my personal collection and were selected for the exhibit because they give a general view of how avian art has progressed through history. My art continues that tradition of depicting birds through a
personal contemporary vision. The antique prints displayed are all handmade, and like those pieces, my art is also handmade without the use of a mass-produced reproduction process.”
Costin explained his art process: “To create my etchings, I use an ancient printing process (c.1450) using two to five copper plates that are individually etched to allow application of color and detail on fine rag paper. After hand-applying ink to each plate, the inked plate is pressed (with a printmaking press) into wet paper, leaving an inked impression of that plate. After the ink has dried, the image is then meticulously hand-painted with transparent watercolors.”
Costin attended the University of South Florida, where he studied intaglio art, a process which combines graphics, painting, sculpting and engineering. Costin, who lives in River Hills, maintains a studio in Ybor City where he creates his fantastic pieces. He has a book of etchings depicting large birds of Florida registered with the Library of Congress.
The Tampa Bay History Center is located at 801 Water St. in downtown Tampa. For more information on Costin, visit www.costingraphics.com. For more information on the Tampa Bay History Center, visit www.tampabayhistorycenter.org.