Chris Cook is an American artist, born in Georgia. Though considered a Southern Artist, or an Outsider Artist because of being self-taught - He is recognized as a Southern Expressionist.
Southern Expressionism (from the online encyclopedia - Wikipedia.com) "New American Southern expressionism is the movement begun in the late 20th century by a group of painters from the American southeast".
"Paintings of this style are typically imbued with broad strokes and bold colors, rough surfaces and ambiguous figures. All subject matter tends to be subjective and figurative or non-figurative and inspired by the personal experience of the artist. The common thread is observation and expression as formed by the parochial focus of growing up in the 20th century American South".
Chris is a painter of his world view: United States of America - Southeastern United States - The Deep South - Atlanta and the smaller communities and Georgia at large. His work is untamed and boundary free. Unlike most artists, he cannot be pinned down into an overall style, subject matter or even genre. He continually searches for new expression as you will see in the wide variety of work represented here.
Chris was born in Atlanta, GA in April of 1962, the second child of four children. Though drawing and painting occupied his childhood, architecture seemed to be the direction in his youth. He took part in a self study course his senior year and won Artist of the Year and subsequently was awarded a scholarship to study art at Reinhardt College in north GA. There he won Outstanding Freshman Artist of the Year. He switch majors to commercial art and began a love for illustration and advertising design.
His early works were the works of a draftsman, rendering everyday people and buildings in forgotten, run-down urban and rural areas. Underneath these scenes were a undercurrent of contrasts: shape, the old and new, people put together in crowds of all backgrounds... He painted from photography and sometimes in plein air - most of these works were created in watercolor, gouache, egg tempera, pen and ink, pencil, block prints and acrylic.
He exhibited his works in many shows and galleries in the metro Atlanta area in the 1980s like the Callanwolde Fine Arts Center, and most notably the juried shows; Mardi Gras for the Arts 1987 (sold in "Another Morning" in a pre-show invitation) and the Georgia Artist Show in 1989 where he received a Kilpatrick Cody purchase award for "Deterioration" (also before the show opening). In a review of that show in the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, Sunday, February 19, 1989, Catherine Fox, Visual Arts Critic wrote: "The works of art were all over the place in media and style... They include the painstaking realism of Christopher Cook's egg tempera painting, 'The Gathering' a carefully composed vignette of a rural meeting that recalls the Regionalist of the '30s".
Likely influenced by his work as a commercial illustrator, exposure through books on other artists and his experimentation as an artist, his work began to take on many different looks and he also moved into dimensional art - sculpture. It is hard to pin point a style to him, maybe this statement from the artist will help: "In my quest to constantly improve my craft, vision and interpretation of life as I move through it - I shed my skin and allow myself to wander and wonder. I never rest on my laurels - I explore, turning my back on both successes and failures, to move on, unburdened by, but certainly learning and building on my past work".