Aurelio Costarella’s foray into art and interiors reflects a dark and stormy period in his life, and ultimately paved his road to recovery.
As Western Australia’s most celebrated international designer over his 34-year fashion career, Aurelio Costarella has been vigilantly transparent about the brutal toll the industry took on his mental health. The curtain was drawn on his eponymous label in 2017 of his own volition, following some turbulent years. Yet out of the darkness comes light, as it is this dark period in Aurelio’s life that allowed him a rejuvenating pause and the time to pick up a paintbrush.
“The work began as a series based around the idea of rebirth,” Aurelio says. “Ironically, that’s exactly what it has evolved into – a new phase of my creative life – a way forward.”
His new wallpaper art range – a collaboration with Scandinavian Wallpaper & Decor – was created from a series of moody and dramatic paintings completed by Aurelio during his time in Perth Clinic as an “escape to another world”. Subsequently, his long-standing love of design has organically steered his art practice into interiors.
“I originally studied architecture before launching into the world of fashion, so I have always had a love of buildings, space and interiors,” Aurelio says. “Much of my fashion work was inspired by buildings, form and structure, while colour and texture were always an important element in my design work.”
Aurelio had begun to ponder the possibilities for the work emerging from his new creative outlet, and so it was a thrilling prospect when Ann-Louise “Lollo” Jansson, Creative Director, at Scandinavian Wallpaper & Decor approached him with the idea of translating his artworks into wall murals. “I had never imagined my work as a wall mural until I met Lollo, but I loved what she had been doing at Scandinavian Wallpaper & Decor and we share a very similar aesthetic and love of space,” Aurelio says. “Lollo’s vision for my work has opened me up to a world of possibility and seeing my work transform an architectural space is very exciting.”
Lollo and Aurelio originally crossed paths when he used her studio space to photograph his final fashion collection, so when he returned to her studio to showcase his new portfolio she was thrilled at the possibility of a new kind of collaboration.“We connected straight away and shared our passion and aesthetic for art, watercolours and interiors,” Lollo says. “Aurelio showed me his series of watercolours on cotton and told me about the healing process behind it.”
Lollo selected a few of the pieces she felt represented Aurelio through her eyes, having spoken with him about his recovery, rebirth and the recent loss of his mother. “I saw this amazing beautiful, humble human being and I wanted his work to be shared with the many people who always loved Aurelio and his creativity,” Lollo says. “I love the story behind them, but even if I didn’t know it I would want these pieces of wallpaper art for my own home or studio.”
The resulting range is what Aurelio describes as, “raw, organic and evocative”. “Clearly my work has a particular aesthetic, and one that will appeal to people looking for alternatives to traditional wall coverings,” he says. “It is imbued with emotion, and I would really consider it art for the wall.”
So is Aurelio at risk of jumping out of the taxing flames of one creative pursuit and into another? Indeed quite the opposite. Aurelio finds painting and interiors don’t consume him in the way fashion did. “Unlike fashion, I don’t have to spend months working on collections and working to unrealistic cycles dictated by a gruelling industry,” he says. “I sit, I paint, I create – I have the time and space to enjoy what I’m doing and become lost in the process.
“I’ve essentially eliminated the stress from my life and the creative process has become enjoyable again.”
While the sophisticated range is new, Lollo says they instantly received orders from across the world, offers to distribute and clients making purchases and designers and architects specifying products for upcoming projects – anywhere from private homes to high end boutique hotels. Best of all, the partnership between she and Aurelio continues to blossom. “We are working on further murals to release and have a few different ideas for collections in mind,” says Lollo. “Watch this space.”
Scandinavian Wallpaper & Decor are currently stocking the range in its Perth studio and showroom in Parnell, Auckland. The Aurelio Costarella collection is bespoke printed and available to ship worldwide. POA.
Visit – Wallpaper Decor
376 Oxford St, Mt Hawthorn