In the studio with Scoli Acosta
“The aesthetics of resourcefulness” is a phrase that Scoli Acosta has often used to describe his wide-ranging artwork, which includes sculpture, installation, drawing, painting, photography, video and performance. It is equally applicable to the Echo Park apartment that doubles as his studio.
The stairs and landing outside his door are lined with small, potted cotton plants, from which he hopes to gather enough cotton to one day make a T-shirt (after going to India to learn how to make a spinning wheel). His furniture is gently refurbished secondhand fare; his curtains a lovely hand-stitched patchwork. The kitchen table is dotted with flowerpots he’s made by hollowing out found bricks. “I enjoy using my hands,” he says. “I like to see how things are made and to accentuate the handmade.”
Thirty-eight years old and slight of frame, Acosta has a sheepish but subtly theatrical demeanor that gives every conversation the feel of a performance. Though he grew up in Lincoln Heights and Baldwin Hills, he lived in Europe on and off through his 20s, speaks French, some German and some Spanish, and maintains a somewhat self-conscious relationship to English, his diction intermittently formal and colloquial. He is fond of reciting poems from memory and does a wonderful reading of “As Above, So Below,” a children’s book (yet unpublished) that he made in collaboration with writer Joseph Mosconi.
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Photo: Scoli Acosta, outside his apartment in Echo Park with a "Copper Pentagonal Monochrome (tambourine)" he created from a series called "Levitating the Pentagon," inspired by the 1967 march on the Pentagon. Credit: Barbara Davidson/Los Angeles Times