Wordy street artist Aubrie Costello spins her silky yarns across Philadelphia.
Aubrie Costello’s word-centric works of art are mined from years’ worth of journals filled with snippets of song lyrics, text messages, and conversations. Here, Billie Holiday’s “Gee Baby, Ain’t I Good To You,” was the inspiration for a work along South Street.
Aubrie Costello is not your typical graffiti artist. Instead of tagging alleys and highway underpasses with spray paint, you can find the Moore College of Art & Design graduate weaving silken scribbles on brick walls, fences, and trees throughout the city. “My true love affair with art began when I was studying the art I found in the streets,” says Costello. “Philly is like a big, chaotic urban forest. I love how inspired I feel.”
When she is not knee-deep in shoes at Bus Stop Boutique, where she is creative director and assistant buyer, Costello is working on “The Unravel,” an evolving series where pieces are left outside to be turned into a beautiful mess by the elements. “Nature is an essential medium to the project. It’s an exercise in letting go and letting things unfold.” Her most recognizable pieces of late, on South Street near the Royal Theater, read, “Baby ain’t I good to U” and “Baby, I’m doing this 4 us.”
The method to her Mad Libs-like madness is simple. “I look at the place, then refer back to my words and pick something that just feels right,” says Costello. She’s currently developing a clothing line and a short film in addition to scouting new locations in Philly, but yearns to spin yarns across the continents. Says Costello: “My dream is to take my work to the streets of Japan and Thailand.”