Work as hard as you can. Dream. Create. Have a vision.
WORDS BY ANDREW COOPER WWW.COOPERART.ME @IAM.COOPER LOS ANGELES CALIFORNIA UNITED STATES
I grew up drawing at a very early age and even have a book at my mother’s home where I drew a picture of myself painting a canvas and wrote “I want to be an artist when I grow up.” I later attended art school in the states and received my training. This is where I became serious about art and began taking courses in painting and drawing. I remember enjoying creating so much that almost all of my free time outside of school was spent working on my works at my apartment or back in the classroom on the weekends.
2 weeks after graduating I moved to Miami where I worked at a record label and then began painting on my own at night. I would save up any money I had and then find a wall to paint a mural, post it to Instagram and then save up money again while looking for another wall. 1 year after the record label job, I packed up and moved to Los Angeles where I began to paint full time and take commissions. He painted for 2 years in LA while selling canvases and even getting collaborations with global companies such as PUMA and COACH NY. After 2 years Covid hit in 2020 and I moved back to downtown Evansville where I got my first large studio and began painting 5 x 6 foot canvases and selling work strictly through my Instagram account – @iam.cooper. I began to build a fanbase online and then showed some work at A Gallery in Evansville. The exhibition showed 25 works and on opening night it was difficult to get people in the door because covid was hitting hard. I still managed to sell works to collectors in Taiwan and China through Instagram.
After posting these canvases to Instagram, Guy Hepner Gallery out of New York contacted me and wanted me to show works in New York. I was thrilled and immediately began to work on new works. Unfortunately, since covid was still in effect I had to show 6 new large masterpieces on the Guy Hepner Website, but they still all sold out in the first day. After the huge success with the 6 works in New York, I took on 15 commission paintings through the gallery that lasted the rest of 2021. Meanwhile in that time, Maddox Gallery found me on Instagram and began to contact me, but I was busy with commissions.
One day Maddox just sent me a flight and said let’s do this. I conveniently finished my last commission on Sunday with the NY gallery and then hopped on a plane the following day to London to meet Maddox. I didn’t want any conflict of interest on either gallery. That was my first time heading to London and getting put up for 2 weeks. It was amazing to see all the Museums over there it was so inspiring. Maddox and I agreed 3 exhibitions over the next couple of years and I painted a couple pieces while being there. After I flew home I immediately got to work on my first solo international gallery exhibition and stopped painting October first of 2022 on these. The work was then shipped over to London and hung up in the gallery. On Wednesday October 13th, Maddox hosted a private dinner party at the gallery where I also gave a talk about the work and met previous clients of Maddox. The next day Thursday October 14 the Gallery had its opening night for “Wild Noise” the title of the exhibition.
The walls were jammed packed and champagne was flowing around the room. It was an incredible first experience and I was just trying to take in the moment. I then stayed in London for 10 days and did interviews, photo shoots, and met with clients to walk them through the gallery and talk about the work personally one on one. I then just had my second solo Exhibition in Gstaad Switzerland with Maddox Gallery. Gstaad is beautiful small little wonderland tucked away in the mountains of Switzerland. The exhibitions showcased 28 new paintings and ran from July to August. My third solo exhibition is set to be back in London with Maddox Gallery summer of 2024. I paint the now.
I paint the now of reality and how I see the world. I’m always trying to find new ways to express, showcase, and capture the present moment of time. You don’t have to have an idea to begin painting you can just pick up the brush and start making marks and something is going to happen on the canvas as long as you keep going. The process is everything for me. I love being in the work with paint cans open, taking risks, finding new color combinations in the moment, new patterns, and making something out of nothing. You can have a vision but if you don’t create it, it will never come to life. Once the work is completed there’s nothing left for me to do. I hardly look at the painting when it’s finished. By that time, I have spent so many hours in front of the painting giving my entire mind and energy to it that I don’t want to see it anymore. I always work with tons of paintings going on around me. I must. I live in my world. The paintings are my world. How I see the world. How I feel about the world. How I dream. I paint with a lot of inspiration from books or found imaginary around me.
I always have music going on. I like to put my headphones, turn music on, pick up paint and live in my own world. The only secret is to create and keep creating. Cooper’s compositions are an emotive mixture of his memories and his imagination. Heavily influenced by music, Cooper’s paintings almost sing with their recurring motif of a Hi-Fi stereo. This stereo is symbolic of his childhood, when he would gather with his family on Christmas, and they would play old records and share an enjoyable time together. Cooper’s work is playful, visually stimulating and perfectly imperfect. With a dizzying element of wobbly lines, we see the evidence of the painter’s hand.
We empathise with his work because it is genuine, it is human. The colours he uses compliment each other in a carefully curated tonality emanating vibrance and energy. Art does not have to be deadly serious. It can also be fun and light-hearted. It can uplift and excite people. We feel welcome in Cooper’s funky still lives, almost as if the artist has invited us in his home. He paints the world he wants to live in – and through expanding our idea of space through linework and patterns, we see a glimpse of his joyful utopia. The art has chosen me, and I must create. If I go a couple days without creating, I get a little antsy. I need an outlet to express my energy and the canvas does that. Also My Fiancé and my dog. Are motivating factors They are my world. I do love to create, that helps.