High-Country Health Food and Cafe in Mariposa California


Celebrate Art!
 Yosemite Foothills Open Studio Tour
Friday, October 5th through Sunday, October 7th
The upcoming 2018 Sierra Art Trails open studio tour has many talented artists.  The Sierra Sun Times will be featuring a sampling 

of several area artists each week leading up to the show.  Check back regularly to see who the next featured artist will be.

Michael J. Costa
Artist #56

Michael J CostaMy journey into the creative realm of photography began when I was a young boy, maybe 8 years old, when I picked up my first magazine of National Geographic. My father took me with him to his sister's house to visit and the only thing she had to entertain a young child was the magazine. Being of Portuguese descent and living on a dairy farm limited my exposure to what existed outside of my boundaries. Being exposed to National Geographic opened a portal for me which I am forever grateful. Thumbing through the pages I was fascinated by how far I could escape reality and how my mind could be transformed by an image. Not only did photography transport me around the world, it allowed me to experience other countries and cultures and to envision life outside of what I thought was normal. But for me it was more than just that escape that I desired. The portraits, landscape and stories are what made a visual impact on both my heart and soul and I would never be the same.

Growing up I began to explore the library as a means to research books to ignite that creative side that was just waiting to burst forth from the inside. Some of my earliest influences in the 70's and 80's were artists such as David Bowie, Andy Warhol, Prince, Madonna, and photographers such as Ansel Adams, Andres Serrano and Robert Mappllethorpe; all who created an image for themselves that surpassed all others, at least in my world. I would obsessively search through books and magazines to visually engage my mind and longed to be a creative master like they were.

Life became challenging in my later years. I worked to survive and desperate to find my true authentic self, which didn't happen until my 30's after my mother and father passed away. During this crossroad in my life I decided to pursue my passion of photography and try to become the artist that I was intended to be. While working in Yosemite National Park from 2001 until 2005, I decided to pick up a camera and embrace the possibility of living that dream of being a photographer. Living in Yosemite I was surrounded by the energy of the late Ansel Adams and entertained the possibility of becoming a photographer. So I enrolled back into college and finished my Associate of Arts degree at the College of Sequoias. I felt that if I went right back to my roots that that would humble me to start all over again and give myself the second chance that I deserved.

Then in 2006 I moved to San Francisco to put into motion my dream and vision to be an artist. I enrolled myself in the Academy of Arts University and began to study photography. The pandora box opened and suddenly I was exposed to great photographers such as, WeeGee, Edward Weston, Imogen Cunningham and Alfred Stieglitz. The passion inside me was once again refueled and I diligently worked to finish my schooling, receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography in 2010. Believe me it wasn't an easy road, but I stuck with it and met some amazing mentors on the way and who are still in my life. My college professors Diane Choplin, Sara L. Barsness, Ryan Farnau and Davidi Wasserman were very instrumental in helping me succeed.

My work of the last eight years has become an eclectic mixture of Fine Art, Portraiture, Travel, Landscape and politically charged photographs. I have had the opportunity to work, travel and be mentored by some of my favorite award-winning photographer's such as Phill Borges and Pulitzer Prize Winner Deanne Fitz Maurice. It has been an amazing journey whether I am creating my own original Fine Art series called, Fro-Zen, traveling around the world to Viet Nam to participate in photography workshops (with Phil Borges), taking on my own adventures to Italy, Peru, Bolivia, Spain, Amsterdam, France or Portugal, or trekking the Himalayas with 50 Ibs. of camera gear to create my personal series called, Learning to Breathe, Treking in Nepal, in which the images juried into this current exhibit, Through the Lens are from my 2017 travels to Annapurna. I have been blessed to say that the little boy who first turned the page of a National Geographic Magazine has found and is living his True Authentic Self as both a Photographer and an Artist.

Visit Michael J. Costa's website, to see more of his work: www.michaeljcosta.com 

SAT Fro Zen2018 4619Fro-Zen Flower

SAT Fro Zen2018 4663Fro-Zen Flowers

SAT RainbowMountain Peru 2953Rainbow Mountain Peru

SAT RainbowMountain Peru 2959Rainbow Mountain Peru

SAT 2018 AD sm

To learn more about Sierra Art Trails visit link below.