"I'm more than just a person with a disability"
Chris Cooper is our resident experimentalist, always trying new techniques and exploring new paths. Here we talk to him about art, the creative process, and what it's all about...
What does creating art mean to you?
It’s all about optimism for me. I believe that if art was about creating one thing, it would still never be limited to one meaning. It’s about bringing things to life, making something that was really small to begin with, into something really different and noticeable.
What kind of art do you like the most and why?
I like abstract art, because I love to see development. I try to express myself creatively using my imagination about how art can evolve, and in doing that, I learn how I can evolve myself, and how I can take my art further.
Is there a particular piece of art or an artist that you enjoy the work of?
Not particularly, I like all artists in some sense. How they have to use different sorts of materials to express themselves. I try to understand their theme, the way they express themselves, and how they are getting their point across. I see art as a medium of communication, in some sense it helps me see how I can express myself more effectively.
Would you say Origami is your favourite medium, since that is what you worked with during your animation project?
Of course I love origami, but I wouldn't say it is my favourite. I go from one idea to the next. I like experimenting, and in some sense, experimenting comes with a message. Art isn’t just about artwork, it’s about how people see life, whether that’s through TV screens, through windows in buildings around London, or even through the people around them in some cases. I try to match the theme or the style that I'm looking for when I choose my medium. And whether it makes sense or not is down to how my mind paints it. I guess in some sense it’s down to my perception, how I feel and how I see things.
Is there an achievement that you’re particularly proud of?
Whether it’s drawing, painting or any other method, I'm always willing to give it a go and if need be, combine ideas together. I’m learning about stop motion animation now, and I believe there’s room to evolve my ideas further. It’s about creating a picture of how I see art, and how art sees me. This is how I can really come up with something that’s out of the ordinary, and create something that’s outside the box.
You said it’s about how you see art and how art sees you, could you elaborate on that?
Art for me is about how I can work on a path, trying to get my head around every single technique, which of course takes time to process. I want to find a way to compile all the ideas I have, and make something beneficial. It may not be as realistic as I’d like it to be, but I can always find things that are stable and convey my style. I like trying to develop my ideas further; I think it’s really important. I'm inspired by what I see, in the community, on TV, in London’s buildings and even in people’s energy around me.
Now for the most difficult question, what is your favourite colour?
I’d say green. Green is one of the most vibrant colours I've seen, but of course at the end of the day, art doesn't just mean vibrancy. Green is my colour for optimism and hope.
What was it like speaking at the prestigious Royal Academy last year?
It was scary to start with, but I’m proud of my art and proud of how I spoke. What the RA taught me, as much as any TV interview would have, is the importance of conveying to people that I'm more than just a person with a disability, I'm also a person that is living their life through art.