She remembers her childhood experience in an artistic atmosphere infused with creativity. “I grew up in a house full of paints and paper,” said Cost. “My mom threw out our television when I was about nine years old, but I never thought it was unusual until I went to friends’ houses and realized that we spent our free time a little differently.”
In fact, she grew up in a space that was brimming with activity. Projects were always strewn around the house as family members immersed themselves in hard work and self-motivated projects.
Cost attributes much of her work ethic to her years at Seabury Hall Prep School in Makawao. “I had some stellar teachers there who took me under their wing and taught me how to think, analyze, use language and write,” she said.
Julia Cost, daughter of Upcountry artist Curtis Wilson Cost, has a bright future in art, dance and choreography.
Over the years she learned that talent is only half of the formula to success. “People with talent are just a little better off at the beginning, but people with desire and a fierce work ethic are the ones who make it far,” she said. She believes that desire and the opportunity to get lots of practice enable a person to become more accomplished in any field.
Before long, Cost became both a budding artist and a dancer. Ballet began at age four and became a perfect balance with her love of art. She said they feed each other. “The activity of dance complements the stillness of painting, and the solitude of painting demands the community of dance,” she said. Although she has produced still-life works, much of her recent art takes dancing as its subject.
As a recent Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa graduate from Scripps College in Claremont, Calif., she wanted to combine the creativity of her double major in art and dance. This proved to be an exciting challenge for her.
“I love using my art to support dance-related things,” she said.
For her art thesis, she painted six dancers partnering larger than life across multiple canvases. She then designed T-shirts for the dance department, and using images of her own paintings of dancers, created all the posters, flyers and program covers for the department’s performances. Using the same images, she designed a series of note cards. She is thrilled that more than 200 sets have sold so far, with all the proceeds supporting the Scripps dance program.
After dancing for more than 12 years, Cost began choreographing in the fall of 2007.
“My senior thesis in dance was an amazing experience,” she said. “I got to take 14 people through an eight-month process of building a piece.”
Titled In Passing, this work is an exploration of passages of people through time and space and the coexistence of struggle and support, individuality and interdependency, and boldness and sensitivity within a community.
Currently, Cost is working at the San Francisco Conservatory of Dance as assistant to the artistic director. She is painting, exploring the city and preparing to study with a dancer from the Batsheva Dance Company of Israel. In September, she will begin the University of California’s Master of Fine Arts dance program on a full scholarship.
“I plan to concentrate in choreography and pedagogy,” she said. “I want to create pieces that widen the dancers’ perspectives, as well as expand my own choreographic process.”
“I also want to continue to paint and to sell my paintings,” she said.
“Cost applies a high standard of excellence in everything she does,” said Fine Art Consultant Lisa Darcy. “Her dedication to the highest standards and her concern for quality intertwine with her passions for art and dance to produce unique, palpable beauty in her figures.”
Cost’s art and note-cards are presently available at the Curtis Wilson Cost Gallery at the Kula Lodge. Her works can be viewed online at www.costgallery.com or cargocollective.com/juliacost. The video of her dance thesis, In Passing, can be viewed at web.me.com/jacost/Dance_thesis_08/In_Passing_Trustee.html.