Justin Cooper

(Born 1976, Lives and works in Brooklyn)

My access, interestingly, came through blind contour drawing exercises. I latched onto that and did a lot of work using that strategy. It gave me a sense of confidence. I could make interesting images that people responded to that were not hyper-realistic.

In high school I suffered from major depression. There was a time after graduating when I took some time off. It was good for me because it gave me space and time to figure out what I wanted to do. There was a week where everything I looked at looked like art. I kept seeing all these banal things out in the world I hadn’t thought about before. I was consumed. It was as though I could visualize things in repetition. It was a different perspective. It was an ecstatic period of being alive.

Because of therapy, I have a deeper understanding of process and how things change at their own pace. You can’t force it. You can nudge it, but you can’t force it. I learned patience, pace and to step back.

From collaboration I understand how you can work off another person’s aesthetic to create a new aesthetic, how two extremes can create an experience. 

I’ve always been interested in beauty and making beautiful things, seeing beauty in the banal and quotidian, embracing that and using that to work off of.

—  Conversation on May 24, 2020

Listen to our conversation here:


Selected Image from the Collection:

Cooper, Justin, Fields x2, 2012, Pen, marker, colored pencil, graphite on paper, Paper: 62 x 50 in. (Detail)