Meet Dana C Cook, Color-Blind Artist
It could be said that art has the most universal reach of The Arts. It knows no language barriers; there are no words to decipher or misconstrue. Art invokes, evokes, and expresses emotion. It touches our souls and makes us think, question, see that which we may never have seen – or refused to see – without the visual expression that talented individuals put before us.
With that in mind, I’d like to introduce you to a phenomenal artist who does that and much more. What’s unique about this talented man is he’s color-blind.
His artwork touches my soul in a way no other artist has. His work is beautiful. Each piece tells a story, but you have to really look in order to hear it and see it. And that’s his intent. His work enlivens the senses and forces you to go deep within yourself to grasp the meaning behind the vision.
His work is so inspiring, I was compelled to ask for an interview and he graciously complied.
Meet Dana C. Cook.
When did you first discover you're color blind?
The first time I heard the term “color-blind”, I was a kid in school, third grade, I think, where the kids were given unwrapped crayons and told to use a particular color in a specific area. I picked up the crayons that I thought matched the colors the teacher called out. I’m not sure that I did too well, though. When the class turned in their papers, mine was completely different from everyone else’s. At that point my teacher suggested I take a color-blind test.
Did the fact that you're color-blind have any influence on your decision to pursue art?
Being color-blind has nothing to do with my pursuit of art in any way. Being color-blind is natural, it’s only defined by words and not enough is said with regard to being able to evoke a feeling or a sense of area that we are always surrounded by. So, to sum it up, in college I felt inferior to other art students at first, until my designs became the talk in the hallways.
Interesting Fact: The maker of Crayola Crayons was color-blind
Emerson Moser, Crayola's most senior crayon molder, until he retired in 1990, was blue-green color blind. Read more here:
What is your preferred medium and why?
I was very comfortable in wood sculpture and black and white photography, but in truth I need to paint, push color!
I prefer acrylics for two reasons: 1) being water based, acrylics are better for the environment, but more importantly, 2) I usually paint fast and this medium allows for that more effectively. The drawback however, is it’s more difficult to paint outdoors down here (in South Florida) because the water in the paint evaporates quickly, which makes the paint get dense and less flowing.
Some Examples of Cook's Amazing ArtClick thumbnail to view full-size
From where does your inspiration come?
Inspiration is a funny thing. Rarely am I “inspired” to paint a scene or subject, but more by the need to move the color the way I want with a mood in color, rather than a subject in color. It is usually my goal to allow the spirit of the color let the subject(s) reveal themselves and, hopefully, I can then carry its meaning as intended
What is your creative process?
Creative process for me is a ritual. Everything clean and clear: brushes, water, palette… my mind. Then I stare, make mind moves, stroke styles, color themes, math, and stare some more. Then I mix my colors and go. After all this, stopping is the hard part.
How Cook's Process Culminates
The colors in your artwork are beautiful and marry together well. How do you determine which colors to use? How do you "see" them?
I am well-educated with a degree in Fine Arts, so I should know the mathematics of mixing colors and the color wheel. Fact is, I will use the wheel for reference, but rarely color that doesn’t belong in the black and white. Tonal range is easy to see being color-blind. Some colors “bounce” when next to each other. Some are just too weird to look nice together. I can talk for hours on this subject alone.
How do you describe your artistic style?
I cannot describe my painting style; that is for others, I guess. I usually like to hide elements in my paintings that are there all the time, but not blatant. Many times in a single piece. At times, I will work with geometric planes and use simple shapes to create a flat, yet dimensional effect that makes sense, or not. A good example is in the Yansi painting.
Your artistry goes beyond the canvas. You've also designed fishing lures. Please tell us about that.
I’ve always had a passion for fishing, even as a young boy living in Philly, but had nowhere to fish. So I bought fishing magazines and catalogs – anything to get me closer. I learned to tie flies from those books and eventually got good enough to trade my lures for more materials at a sporting goods store. It never left me and is just another way for me to explore the artistic side of creativity. Not just the lure itself. It’s the effective application that is judged by Nature, not people. However, in making the product attractive to the paying customer, I have to alter the design somewhat.
Salt Water Fishing Lures Designed by Dana C CookClick thumbnail to view full-size
Where can art lovers and/or fishermen go to purchase your work?
I’m not here to promote anything, but to hopefully enlighten those who are intrigued by the concept. However, anyone who is interested in purchasing my work or place a custom order can reach me via email at email@example.com.
What advice do you have to offer aspiring artists?
Hey, aspiring artists out there! You are already a pro. Don’t unlearn your childhood. Study your art and art history. Be able to create an opinion of knowledge. Create your own tools if you can’t find what you need. Be creative in life, not just your artistic medium. Most of all, appreciate everything!
Thank You, Dana!
© 2019 Shauna L Bowling