As a student at the University of Georgia’s Lamar Dodd School of Art, Catie Cook is making a name for herself as an artist with a unique vision and stunning visuals that grab the attention of any passerby.
It’s no surprise that Cook, a young studio art student, radiates art – she grew up surrounded by him. His grandmother was a ceramist and painter while his father currently works in scenography for theaters.
Cook realized she could make a career out of her art at the Governor’s Honors Program, a summer program for high school students that involves crash courses in their subject of interest.
Cook said she was fascinated by the subject of materiality and the act of creating. Her work, she says, typically deals with elements of movement, such as repetition and changing duration over time.
Cook is inspired by Hollywood of the 50s and 60s because of the glamor and opulence of that period.
“I’m so drawn to these beautiful classic female scenes and how it juxtaposes what that era [was] in fact as for women and
people of color,” Cook said.
At the height of the pandemic, Cook immersed herself in expressing her views on politics and social justice.
“I was very angry at the time and found art to be like a vehicle to express that,” Cook said.
Cook felt it was her responsibility as an artist to spread her voice the best way she knew how – through her art. She used the quote “The role of the artist is to make revolution irresistible” by Toni Cade Bambara to explain her thoughts on art and activism.
Sarah Landmesser, a junior marketing and fabric design student, is a classmate and close friend of Cook. “She’s so passionate,” Landmesser said. “We often have conversations about materiality, social media and influencer culture. I love seeing how his interests and thoughts translate into his work.
Cook enjoys browsing the internet for reference photos in addition to taking her own. When she has an idea, she builds her own canvas and gets to work translating her vision into it with paint. Cook markets herself by using Instagram and her website to sell and display her artwork and where she also accepts commissions.
When Cook came across a photo of celebrities at a wedding, she was inspired to paint it, saying it looked like an “accidental Renaissance moment”. She said the style of the painting was inspired by Baroque paintings, 18th century Romanticism and Andy Warhol’s work with celebrities.
Cook’s painting caught the eye of Kourtney Kardashian, one of the figures depicted, who messaged Cook directly on Instagram.
“The piece was supposed to be more of a social media review, so it was kind of funny to get her reaction. I think she thought it was fan art,” Cook said.
When Kardashian posted the work on her story, Cook gained over 1,000 followers and received multiple commissions.
As society shifts heavily towards technology, Cook says art remains the most important document of culture.
“You don’t realize how much art seeps into every aspect of our lives, like the car you drive, the phone you call, or the clothes you wear. It was all designed by someone, and art is an integral part of our society,” Cook said.
While Cook has established herself as a remarkable creative mind, she still thinks there is plenty of room for growth.
“I’m still growing a lot. I don’t think artists are ever done learning and evolving in their style,” Cook said.