Betty Jo Costanzo
California College of the Arts, 1981, BFA
Betty Jo Costanzo: Painter - Video Artist - Sound Mapper - Performer. In all of her work she begins a project and then adapts her choice of media to suit her message. Many of her projects are site generated, collaborative, and continuous.
Betty Jo Costanzo has lived on both coasts of the United States and in San Paulo, Brazil. She has worked and taught around the world, including England, Ireland, Italy, Spain, and Cyprus (where in 2000 she spent 5 months as Artist in Residence with long time collaborator Tom White). For many years she worked and taught art in the San Francisco Bay Area after receiving her BFA from California College of the Arts and her MFA from Mills College in Performance and Painting. She held a faculty position at CCA for 16 years across many departments including Media Arts, Individualized Majors and Study Abroad Programs, and now resides in Seattle, WA.
Ms. Costanzo pours the full breadth of her interests and experience into all of her art making and teaching, and she loves to work collaboratively. One of her more enduring collaborative projects is the Butoh Drawing Project (1997 to the present) with Tom White. Together with their sound designer Max Morales they've exhibited, performed, and developed workshops and college courses in the US and abroad. Another notable and ongoing project since 2003 is a study on artistic collaboration with Mary Wilson. Out of their collective research and writings they developed a CCA Study Abroad course entitled Collaboration, A Practical Guide which was first taught in 2004 at the Burren College of Art in Ireland. Ms. Costanzo has been exhibiting for 30 years and her works are placed in many corporate, private and public collections across the world. She is the recipient of many honors and awards.
Ms. Costanzo approaches every project with very few assumptions about what has to be included. Widely diverse elements can and do find their way into her pieces - random passages from Dante’s Inferno, an image memory from Sant' Apollinare Nuovo’s chapel in Ravenna, the sounds of a train, the quiet landscapes that pass through her video camera lens. Her art has been described as “getting lost with a purpose” and is often said to convey an “acceptance of humanity”.
Describing her own process, she writes; "I work in layers. Each layer tells me where to go next. And like memory, every skin has its place, but only for an instant. Then it shifts. So you see, whether the layers are paint, video, text, sound, or my body moving in time, the discovery remains inevitably mysterious."