Heart (and soul) of a liturgical artist
St. Agnes Catholic Church has seen a steady illumination and fruitful growth over these last years. Walking into the church during a renovation on May 2, one sees the vast open space and various architecture elements being renewed and vitalized within the church. With the pews temporarily in storage, they were replaced with scaffolding and floor walkways opening the vast space to an energizing glimpse into what is to come.
Approaching the front of the church, a lone artist toils day after day in his effort to bring a scenic panorama into the heart of the church. On the top-most boardwalk of the latticework of professional ladders and scaffolding and almost touching the ceiling itself, I met Geoffrey Kostecki, the mural artist with Baker Liturgical. As I meet him, he is daintily touching his brush to the wall, leaning back frequently before touching another nearby complementary color with a feathery touch. Various supplies of paint, paintbrushes, and lights surround him as he leans in close to a particular square inch of the mural, tenderly placing a nearly pin-head droplet of green to a nearby expanse of the scene becoming whole.
This work is a lifetime passion for Kostecki. He’s been working in liturgical settings these last 15 years, and was nearing his 15th straight day working on the St. Agnes project. Listening to inspirational music while he works is an important part of how he completes each piece. Geoff, as he likes to be called, lives in western Massachusetts and has trained in various schools of artistic expression. His training included education in the classical and realism schools, but at the same time, he states that liturgical art and restoration in and of itself is not an easy educational program to find. Thus, he has found that by living his work, he can learn more and more from each project, and allow each project to have it’s own sense of inspiration and wholeness.
He has accommodations in Lake Placid and said much of his inspiration came from the stunning views surrounding Lake Placid itself. This is a labor of love for him, and has spent many days climbing the scaffolding to touch a particular small area, then climbing back to ground level to check the visual harmonics and how the piece fits together, then re-climbing the scaffolding again to refine his work. This process – up and down the scaffolding and constantly evaluating as he goes – has unfolded constantly for the last 15 days.
He stated, with a glimmer in his eyes and a smile, that he thought about staying overnight on the top scaffolding – as an idea to stay as close as possible to his work. He said he can imagine what painting the Sistine chapel must have been like for Michelangelo, remaining within inches of the ceiling all the time without even the modern safety equipment of today.
In addition to a heartfelt passion for his art work, he’s no stranger to hard physical exertion – he was an active skier in Colorado, living there many years amongst the high peaks and the beautiful scenery there. Returning to the eastern seaboard was partially due to the fact that he wanted to more fully express his experiences, and he found that working in liturgical settings has provided him with the highest satisfaction.
Having just finished a major liturgical project in Kingston, Geoff said he was grateful and rejuvenated by this new project in Lake Placid at St. Agnes Catholic Church. He was grateful to be part of the project and hopes it will help lead people to a renewed perspective with ongoing inspiration.