meet an artist mondayMixed media artist Bart Cooper makes fine, luminous paintings with the ancestral, aspirational quality of a future memory. Profoundly affected by his early years growing up in Liberia, his family’s immigration to America in flight from civil war when he was just six, and the myriad ways in which those instilled West African traditions and cultural sensibilities interact with the American culture in which he thrived, Cooper went on to pursue fine art, sculpture, and graphic design. In his centering of compelling figures within emotional and symbol-rich, lavishing chromatic portraiture, Cooper transmutes a sense of power, radiance, regal bearing, and timeless, glorious groundedness across his depictions of cultural icons and ordinary people alike. His work can currently be seen in Future Memory through February 22 at the Marks Art Center in Palm Desert—an epic group exhibition curated by Dot Red and Forecast Foundation that takes as its premise the need for rest, respite, uplift, and diverse visions of Black joy amid the struggle for a better world.

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Bart Cooper: Self-Love on view at the Marks Art Center in “Future Memory” (Courtesy of the artist)

L.A. WEEKLY: When did you first know you were an artist?

BART COOPER: Art was something that I always seem to be pulled to since the age of three. I did not take it seriously until the age of 15.

 

What is your short answer to people who ask what your work is about?

My answer would be my work is about a conversation with your soul. My execution is to challenge your physical, mental and spiritual growth. It provokes thought, changes the narrative and inspires evolution. But in a shorter explanation my work is all about the message of love.

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Bart Cooper (Courtesy of the artist)

What would you be doing if you weren’t an artist?

If I was not an artist I would be a zoologist. I still find myself studying animals along with a plethora of fun animal facts.

 

Did you go to art school? Why/Why not?

I went to multiple schools and also taught at some. But I would say most of my studies came from multiple artists which taught and mentored me to raise the bar in my artistry.

 

Why do you live and work in L.A., and not elsewhere?

Living and working in L.A. I believe is a playground for creatives. Along with this beautiful weather it keeps me in a creative mode.

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Bart Cooper: “Magic” on view at Fathom Gallery

When is/was your current/most recent/next show or project?

My current show titled The Purple Series is currently on display in Brentwood at Fathom Gallery.

 

What artist living or dead would you most like to show or work with?

I would have to go with Norman Rockwell.

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Bart Cooper: Heroes Collection (Courtesy of the artist)

Do you listen to music while you work? If so, what?

I most definitely do. I listen to every genre from old to new. But mostly something that goes along with the feeling of the vision of what I’m painting.

 

Website & IG:

bartcooperart.com

@B_Art1

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Bart Cooper: Judah (Courtesy of the artist)

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Bart Cooper: “Timing” on view at Fathom Gallery

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Friidom Dunn performing in front of Cooper’s painting at the opening of “Future Memory” at the Marks Art Center

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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