Perran is an eternal optimist driven to help develop models for creating, accessing, sustaining and experiencing culture. His innovative sensibilities and can do attitude have led him to become an internationally acclaimed and highly sort after creative leader.
Perran has over two decades transdisciplinary experience encompassing art, culture, design, ideas, photography, enterprise, events, education, sustainability, and community.
Perran intersects these practices through the creation, management, production and promotion of small to large scale artworks, enterprise, events, exhibitions, performances, workshops, community engagement, artist’s initiatives, campaigns, and creative projects.
He is a critical thinker who joins the dots that others don’t see to create things of lasting beauty, by turning his dreams and the dreams of others into reality, which in turn encourages progressive culture to thrive in all forms.
Around the World
Perran's practice is among some of the most original in the world today, his work is simply full of life, are invigorating, fresh and there is a sense of completeness.
With work exhibited across the world, he ranks as one of the most important Australian artists of the moment ... I am quite certain that we will be hearing a great deal more about Perran Costi.
Design Local, 2013
Perran has become an internationally acclaimed and sort after creative with his endeavours experienced by over 100,000 people and is art collected by over 100 people worldwide.
Perran has exhibited regularly and produced many successful projects in locations including Tokyo, London, New York, LA, Houston, Shanghai, Mexico, Brussels, Amsterdam, Stockholm, Hong Kong, Singapore, Toronto, Seattle, Hamburg, Milan, and across Australia in more than 20 cities and towns.
He even contributing to a large scale site-specific land artwork with an entire village in Wakayama prefecture Japan that could be seen from space.
Honours Scholarship - UNSW Art & Design
NSW Artist Grant - National Association of Visual Artists
Highly Commended - Woollahra Small Sculpture Prize | Pop-Up Shop Project - FBI Radio & The Rocks
Small Works Prize - Brunswick Street Gallery | Travel Grant - UNSW Art & Design
Basil & Muriel Hooper Scholarship - Art Gallery of NSW
Artists Grant - ARC
Incinerator Art Prize
Ranamok Contemporary Glass Art Prize | Marrickville Contemporary Art Prize
2011 & 2009
Woollahra Small Sculpture Prize
Best New Artist – Sydney Music Art & Culture Awards (SMACs)
National Prevention of Violence Against Women Award
People Say Such
Perran Costi’s Personal Space exhibition had a ceiling to floor window coverage onto the street.
Inside was a rich, calming environment though I found myself at first not sure if I’d walked into a shop, native botanical wonderland, science lab, artist’s studio or gallery. You could touch, feel, see, hear and smell the exhibition.
I spent some time thinking about Costi’s works and how they themselves, with references to urban life, city spaces and the environment, related to the Renew and Pop-Up philosophy overall.
The pieces spoke of history and reminded that spaces retain memory yet are open to hold something new; pointing to the hope and the new life that comes from the courage to re-write and innovate.
Alex Christopher 2011, Artgaze Magazine
February 24, 2014
Source: Concrete Playground
Sydney artist Perran Costi explores the idea of worlds within worlds.
Sydney artist Perran Costi has always been fascinated with the idea of worlds within worlds - his previous works include a snowstorm at FBi Turns 10, a galaxy in a suitcase and creating a new society on Cockatoo Island. But his latest exhibition, Permasabi, takes the concept to a whole new level.
It might sound like a certain spicy condiment, but 'Permasabi' is actually a word Costi uses to describe the worldview that influences him. It's a blend of wabisabi, a Japanese philosophy that's all about transience and imperfection, and permaculture, a design concept focused on sustainability.
The exhibition consists of three giant mirrored cubes containing a galaxy, a desert and a rainforest, seemingly infinite worlds contained in small spaces. Visitors can step into the cubes one at a time and explore each of the different worlds. The project was created by a team of artists and took a year and a half to complete.
Continuing the 'infinite worlds' theme, Costi will also be running free terrarium-making workshops in the COFA courtyard every Saturday of the exhibition.
Source: Art Post | what’s on
"One of the most important Australian artists of the moment" - Design Local
Sydney artist Perran Costi has created a cascading fountain of milk, built a micro cosmos in a suitcase, and pioneered a whole new society on Cockatoo Island. He even made it snow in the middle of September at FBi turns 10!
In his latest project permasabi, Perran explores transience, our fragile mortality and the relationship between place and memory. People enter three giant mirrored cubes one at a time, bowing as they step through the low doorway into worlds of an infinite galaxy, a never-ending rainforest and a vast desert. With a team of dedicated artists working around the clock, Perran is launching this year-and-a-half long project on Tuesday 25 February at the College of Fine Arts in Sydney.
Permasabi is Perran’s own term for the principles that underpin his work – the melding of wabisabi and permaculture. Wabisabi is a Japanese world-view and aesthetic centred on the ideas of transience and imperfection. Permaculture is an environmental and design concept focused on the development of sustainable ecosystems. Perran’s work explores the ways these two principles beautifully intersect and also, the ways they do not.
Come and experience permasabi’s infinite worlds right in the heart of the city.
Supported by FBi Radio, Sapporo and Choya
October 2, 2011
Source: The Canvas Project Ep 14
Case Study came to Underbelly Arts to create their own unique society.
Colonizing with only what they could carry with them in suitcases, this societal experiment became an amazing artistic interpretation of necessity.
March 15, 2011
Source: Art Space, Rex In-flight Magazine
By Ben Conner
Sydney artist Perran Costi tries to get people out of their heads and into the moment. he seems to be succeeding, writes Ben Connor.
Before leaving for a holiday to India, Perran Costi wished for inspiration. It was the summer before his grad-show year at the College of Fine Arts (COFA) at the University of New South Wales in Sydney. India, he surmised, was bound to proffer something.
What followed brings to mind the Zen concept of satori: a moment when all thought stops and an experience of enlightenment ensues. Riding a bicycle through a small Indian village, the universe responded and hit Perran with a tractor. “You want inspiration? Boom! And there it was. It was amazing,” he says.
“At that point, I realised that every single sense I had was alive. It’s that thing where, just through general day to-day life, through all of the conditioning, all of that stuff, you kind of numb yourself to things around you. But when something like this happens, your thoughts are so alive and aware. You’re processing all of the sensory experience you’re getting. That’s what was happening and you realise that you kind of walk around in a cloud all of the time.”
Perran was inspired and, ever since, his artistic output has attempted to ‘break through the cloud’ so the viewer can actually ‘be’ there, experiencing something, feeling something, “without the brain kicking in and going, ‘Oh, that’s a blah, blah, blah’”, he says.
He seems to be succeeding – not by hitting his viewer with a tractor, mind you, but by producing artworks of extraordinary beauty. Working with photography, sculpture, installation and multimedia, Perran seeks to jolt the viewer into the moment by triggering a sense of nostalgia. He says that an artwork, by the way it’s made or the types of wood used, can trigger, for example, a sense or scene that is reminiscent of the viewer’s grandparents, thereby releasing an emotional charge that, at least temporarily, renders the viewer speechless.
However, Perran’s art was breaking through mind-clouds well before his auspicious tractor encounter. Born with bad eyesight, his brain had to compensate, he says, and developed the enviable capacity to create a perfect visual image in his mind. He also had dyslexia.
“So I learnt to know what things are meant to look like and learnt to visualise them in my head,” Perran explains. “And because of the dyslexia, my brain just works in a different way, where I put things together and I process things in a way that just happens to be a really good, conducive way of processing that works perfectly with making art but pretty much nothing else.”
Having travelled around a lot as a child, Perran finished high school in Brisbane and moved to Sydney’s inner west, knowing only that he needed to do something creative. After doing “crappy” jobs for a while, he moved into a warehouse and started putting on parties, events and festivals, for which he did the graphic design. Graphic design companies were soon demanding his expertise and a career as a graphic designer resulted.
After seven years, however, Perran was disillusioned with graphic design, frustrated at having his creations constantly turned into something he didn’t want to make. With steely resolve he decided to do what everyone said was impossible. He made a five-year plan to succeed as a financially viable artist and enrolled at COFA.
In his first year he had a dream in which he envisioned his artwork at an exhibition. “I wish I’d thought of that,” he mused, before waking and realising that he had. His almost transcendental ‘sky boxes’ were the result: exquisitely shot photographs with foreground, middleground and background extracted, then printed onto three separate glass panels enclosed in a wooden box and illuminated from behind. He made his first sale that year at the university’s spring fair. Then, seeing Perran’s artwork, the purchaser’s interior designer hired him to design a ‘sky box’ feature wall for the renovation of his client’s luxury premises overlooking Tamarama Beach.
And things have only escalated from there.
Perran is not short of ideas. “I’ve got so much I want to get out, so it’s just about having the time and the means to be able to do it all,” he says. And there are a lot of people demanding his time. Through Rebecca Hossack Art Gallery he is scheduled for 15 art fairs around the world this year, all of which require him to produce more work. He has solo shows in London in the immediate aftermath of the Olympics, and New York in January 2013.
Recently, he was asked to submit a concept for an installation in the foyer of an inner-city building in Sydney.
Perran has achieved his goal to be a financially viable artist and his investigations into the Japanese Buddhist philosophy of Wabi-Sabi are taking his Zen realisations and consequent artistic vision further. “It’s about transition and change, impermanence … but embracing that and working with it,” he says.
February 27, 2011
The 'skyboxes', as I later discovered to be the name, were absolutely mesmerizing. The combination of the vibrant colors and the three-dimensional effect were two elements that made the photographs different to anything I've seen before.
The artist behind these skyboxes, Perran Costi is a talented individual who I became a quick fan of after taking a look at his website and seeing his other work.
It's opening night. And COFA lecturer, Allan Giddy takes a moment to give us a guided tour of the best sculpture works from the 2009 COFA Annual Exhibition.
Featured are the works Perran Costi.
The Art of
an Imperfect Planet
Perran harnesses the hidden beauty of the everyday to create beauty every day, including creating an endless cascading fountain of milk in an antique wooden dresser, three-dimensional miniature worlds in little exquisitely hand crafted boxes ...
A micro cosmos, a plot of land and city in found vintage suitcases, Pioneered a whole new society in the middle of Sydney Harbour on the iconic Cockatoo Island.
He even made it snow in a heat wave at Carriageworks for thousands of people at the FBi Radio Turns 10 Festival.
Perran turns the ordinary into the extraordinary, a glimpse into another world of possibilities.
Perran’s practice is experiential in nature which explores engagement, the senses, and the environment to trigger an emotional affect in the viewer.
Personal moments that touch on aspects of everyday life, which are deeply moving, moments that are often overlooked and yet profoundly beautiful.
Perran does this by skillfully utilising everything at his disposal from images, objects, technology, nature, and science; to the elements and senses; to community, networks, culture and everything in between.
To tell a story that is a unique experience for anyone who comes into contact with it.
Perran is a problem solver who is well versed in the arts, design, community engagement, progressive culture, contemporary society, social enterprise and their intersections.
He is passionate about culture and its subsets, therefore is a strong advocate and participant in creating equality, fostering collaboration, exchanging ideas, improving accessibility, utilising sustainability and revitalising culture within society.
He achieves this through transdisciplinary projects, engagement and facilitating supportive networks for colleagues, collaborators, and communities.
The diverse and holistic nature of Perran’s experience has to lead him to develop resilience, management, communication and multitasking skills adaptable to a wide range of environments.
This has also given him the ability to learn quickly through observation, communication, and practice.
In recent years Perran's experience, proactive approach, and love of his work have allowed him the opportunity to choose the projects he works on including:
Recently exhibiting in Shibuya, Tokyo and developing We Are Good Company, as a Founder, Cultural and Managing Director.
Good Co. Is a profit for purpose social enterprise that works to revitalise, grow and create a viable culture in Sydney. For more info see wearegood.co
Perran has founded and directed 4 successful businesses. Worked with the best in the industry. Successfully managed budgets over 100k, teams of up to 50 people and reached audiences over a million worldwide.
2005 – Present
Artist, Photographer, Designer, Creative Director, Curator, Theorist, Installer & Maker
An internationally acclaimed artist who is highly collected locally and internationally, with his art being experienced by over 100 thousand people. Perran exhibits in major shows and creates site-specific works regularly in Tokyo, London, New York, LA, Houston, Shanghai, Mexico, Brussels, Amsterdam, Stockholm, Hong Kong, Singapore, Toronto, Seattle, Hamburg, Milan, Wakayama & across Australia.
Including contributing to a large-scale site-specific land artwork with an entire village in Wakayama prefecture Japan that could be seen from space. His honors work Permasabi was used as the feature images in the International promotion of rebranding to UNSW Art and Design from the College of Fine Arts, in conjunction with the completion of the new campus.
2015 – 2018
CEO, Founder & Cultural/Managing Director
Cultural Brokage Social Enterprise
A movement of more than thirty of Australia's Progressive Cultural organisations and individuals working together to implement solutions now to facilitate, develop and grow Sydney into an inclusive, innovative and sustainable Cultural Capital.
An independent forum to support and harness Progressive Culture as a vehicle for change, unity, and viability. Drawing from the best of what has come before, mixed with the needs of Sydney and latest worldwide developments.
Progressive Culture • Art • Design • Education • Music • Events • Health • Technology • Architecture • Sustainability • Community • Management • Performance • Enterprise • Hospitality • Law & everything in between
2007 – 2012
Design Director, Graphic/Event/Site Design, Curatorial Team & Promotion Strategist
Arts Lab & Festival - Cockatoo Island, Carriageworks and Chippendale Creative Precinct, Sydney
Attracted and developed an audience that grew from 1000 to 10000. Successfully recognised on the Sydney arts Calendar
Supported over 200 emerging, mid-career and established artists and groups to take part in the festivals
2000 – 2007
Founder & Creative, Managing, Design, Marketing Director
Market leading Design, Identity, UX, Experience, Digital Media & Marketing Studio
Clients ranged from community all the way up to blue chip companies and government organisations. Highly regarded in the industry with all clients word of mouth. Successfully thrived during the dot-com crash
2005 - 2006
National & Sydney Managing/Creative Director, Graphic Designer, Curator & Events Producer
Freedom Festival 05 as part of the Stop Violence Against Women Campaign
Managed national series of thirteen art, music, performance and cultural events in conjunction with an international album release and the Sydney leg of Freedom Festival across the Sydney Opera House and the Civic Building, CBD. Consulted with Saatchi & Saatchi and AIA on the national Stop Violence Against Women television, print, and online campaign
Managed team of 12 event promoters nationally and 30 volunteers in Sydney and relationships with stakeholders including AIA, local councils, press, international/interstate and local artists/musicians/technicians and performers, sponsors, venues, volunteers, community and others. Perran donated full salary to the Stop Violence Against Women Campaign and was nominated for the National Prevention of Violence Against Women Award presented at Australian Parliament House, Canberra
70 percent of the artists and performers were women. Over 7000 people in attendance and more 10 000 signed the campaign partition. Greatest uptake in membership and broadest publicity coverage since AIA initiated in Australia
1999 - 2006
Founder & Creative, Project, Promotion, Design Director
Interior, Experience, Decor, Hospitality, Event & Design Studio
1997 - 2003
Founder & Creative, Project, Promotion Director
Event Production & Promotion Agency
With the Best
Perran has worked and collaborated with some of the world's most amazing, organisations and individuals, including representing internationally renowned clients such as Disney and Amnesty International Australia, alongside many others.
Education & Development
Life Long Learning
Perran believes in life long learning so has mixed and matched many different types of education from across the globe.
2006 – 2014
Bachelor of Fine Arts Honors (First Class)
Majored in Sculpture, Performance, Installation, Art Theory/History
High Distinction Average. Highest mark for honors works in the history of the campus. Made Dean’s list for outstanding academic achievement twice.
Honours major work exhibition attracted more than 10,000 visitors. Honours thesis to become a book called Permasabi, where I explore and combine Permaculture design and the Japanese aesthetics of Wabi Sabi.
Self Initiated - Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan
Walking the Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Trail - Wakayama Prefecture, Japan
UNSW - Remote Research Facility, Fowlers Gap, Broken Hill, NSW, Australia
Self Initiated - Carlton, Melbourn, Victoria, Australia
UNSW - Remote Research Facility, Myall Lakes, NSW, Australia
RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia
Politecnico University, Bovisa, Milan, Ital
2009 - 2014
Selection Committee - Underbelly Arts, Sydney
2008 - 2012
Advisory Board, Curatorial Team & Selection Committee - Arc Kudos Gallery, Paddington
Sydney artist Perran Costi tries to get people out of their heads and into the moment, he seems to be succeeding. Perran is not short of ideas. 'I’ve got so much I want to get out, so it’s just about having the time and the means to be able to do it all,' he says. And there are a lot of people demanding his time. Working with photography, sculpture, installation, and multimedia, Perran seeks to jolt the viewer into the moment by triggering a sense of nostalgia.He says that an artwork, by the way it’s made or the types of wood used, can trigger, for example, a sense or scene that is reminiscent of the viewer’s grandparents, thereby releasing an emotional charge that, at least temporarily, renders the viewer speechless.
Ben Conner 2011, Art Space, Rex In-flight Magazine