Andrea Cook | Sharing the Inner Light


While many artists focus on one theme, subject, or medium, artist Andrea Cook, creates art that resonates on many levels.  Coming from a rich, diverse art education background, Andrea finds that her passion lies in diverse realms. As a multimedia artist, she specializes in textiles with mixed media elements, ceramic, sculpture, and painting. She plays with texture, pattern and repetition to create unity in each unique piece.  While she’s not afraid to take risks and experiment, Andrea employs her imagination and inner light to create a connection with her viewer.  


Born and raised in Dallas, TX, Andrea discovered her artistic desires early on and received a lot of encouragement to follow her dreams.  Although she remained close with both her parents, who divorced when she was six, she spent most of her time with her mother.  This close relationship influenced Andrea’s later work and provided her with artistic sustenance during trying times.  


 “I was interested in art at an early age and began taking all the summer art classes that I could take," Andrea elaborates.  My first classes at the community center were drawing, watercolor, and ceramics. I continued art through high school, where I enjoyed jewelry making, metals, ceramics, and printmaking.  The high school that I attended had many art options, and I have always loved exploring new media.”


Andrea felt that exploring different media was more exciting than painting and drawing.  She soon decided to pursue art at the collegiate level at the University of North Texas in Denton, where she chose photography as her main focus.  Soon, however, she became frustrated, as photography seemed to become something commonplace, with the advent of digital photography.


“My desire was to make one-of-a-kind, original art,” explains Andrea.  “No longer gaining fulfillment in photography, I transferred to UT El Paso, where I fell in love with sculpture, and switched my major to sculpture and painting.  I went on to receive a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Sculpture and Painting, graduated with honors, and was inducted into the Golden Key National Honor Society."


After college, Andrea stayed in El Paso and southern New Mexico for a couple of years and continued to explore different artistic endeavors in her spare time.  “I was working on large scale, soft sculpture installation,” she explains.  “It was at this same time that I started the ‘Garden of Roses’ as a large, soft sculpture, temporary installation.”   


The ‘Garden of Roses’ project is composed of hand dyed fabrics made from canvas, burlap, cotton, muslin, and denim that were then shaped into rose designs ranging in color, shapes, and sizes.  Andrea would then mount them on canvas with an archival quality glue.  Each design was textural and sculptural in nature, which made them irresistible to touch!


In 2007, Andrea moved to North Carolina, where she maintained three different art jobs while continuing to sculpt. “I worked as a ceramic studio manager and ceramic instructor for kids and adults at the Community Arts Project.  While employed there, I also did purchasing, mixing glazes, firing kilns, and general studio maintenance.  In addition, I learned a variety of different skills while working at a frame shop and art gallery, and was involved in several art projects within the community."


Simultaneously, Andrea began developing her ‘Garden of Roses’ in a format that would allow for permanent displays in collector’s homes. She also maintained many different ceramic projects. When she moved to Oregon in 2010, the ‘Garden of Roses’ pieces were steadily receiving more interest and attention.  Collectors  began commissioning work, and Andrea found herself increasingly engaged in her art.  


“I love for my art to be beautiful, colorful, and textural working with pattern and repetition to create unity,” says Andrea of her creative process.  “I like for my work to create an illusion and for it to connect to the viewer.  I try to bring out my own imagination and inner light in each piece.  I always have an idea of how I want an art piece to go, but I try to let the work happen naturally.”


In addition to her ‘Garden of Roses’ project, Andrea has created a ceramic series she calls, 'Dream Catcher Masks,' a self portrait series:


“This project actually began as a challenge from a friend of mine who is always doing self-portraits,” says Andrea.  “I feel like self portraits have always been a weakness for me, so I took the challenge.  Throughout my life, I have always experienced vivid dreams of other places and times.  I began with a clay sculpture of my face, then drew and carved patterns from my journal onto the surface.  Different combinations of trinkets and treasures were added, creating dimension and personality."


Andrea continued moving forward with her art and with life, especially after her mother, suffering from cervical cancer, passed away in April of 2015.  She had moved back to Dallas to help care for her mother full time but never swayed from her creativity.  Her mission remains strong in communicating and engaging her viewer through her many dynamic pieces.  


She continues to work with a variety of techniques, in a wide range of media.  Exploration, risk taking, change, and growth have all contributed to the techniques that she uses in her work today.  “Sharing my inner light, passion, and imagination is my way of making important connections.”