The Phillips Collection, DC, copr. Cook, 2009. Click to enlarge
|The Bonsai and Penjing Museum, US National Arboretum, DC, copr. Cook 2005. |
Click to enlarge
My illustrations are meticulous, and accurate in terms of content. My wayfinding aerials are exceedingly clear because they need to be—they're used in visitor’s guides. Often I work with surgical loops. The work takes weeks and months to complete. Many times I am under extreme deadline, and scrupulous direction as a team creative. There are art directors, creative directors, copywriters, photographers, not to mention the end clients, all with their mitts in the pie and their reputations on the line, offering input—extremely valid input, too—everything must be considered. Every step is scrutinized and approved before proceeding to the next. All this, and to still be required to produce cutting edge art that communicates specific visual messages instantly—without being overworked—is my world—and we haven’t touched on all the marketing effort to get enough work to eke out a living.
My fine art is the relief valve for all this. How wonderful it is to let it all out once in a while—go all over the place—go inside (visual meditation) —go outside (plein air) —hand eye sketching—paint smearing—mudpies—splatter—3 dimensional scribbling—pastel dust rubbing—its all so delicious. Art academics, what I call "artspeak", goes out the window, followed by all the books and accoutrements of a well-stocked studio. Free at last--thank God I'm free at last. Fine art is like getting out of school for the day.
Anything will do for art making. Watch Rivers and Tides, a documentary about an artist, Andy Goldsworthy, who experiences art on the purest levels, using natural found materials, and then enjoys the momentary feeling of accomplishment before it all blows away. Unbelievable! I found myself admiring the stunning crazoid hodge-podge of utility company marks, paint splatter, oil stains, cracks, weeds etc. on a sidewalk. What bliss! I hate graffiti, the bastards. But inside, I’m trackin with em, baby. Sometimes what’s going on the floor in my studio looks better that the art.
Calm down—get back in your box, Bill. I have to now execute the final for the new aerial view of the US National Arboretum Dogwood Collection. Failure is no option. No more Mr. Nice guy. Edgy blossoms. Humph.
I love all you fine artists out there and am honored to be in your presence.