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 artist 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, creating a 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”.
Today Chris continues to explore. His work has been featured on websites through out the country and abroad. Wikipedia has Chris Cook listed in its encyclopedia under the Southern Expressionist category under Southern Art. Wikipedia defines Southern Expressionism as: “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 Cook lives in beautiful Historic Madison, Georgia with his wife and two children in a replica historic home. Scott Galloway rescued a rustic farm building from a local farm in Morgan County, Georgia – in the area of Barrows Grove Road and Bethany Church Road. This historic building was last used as a feed shed. It appears to have once been lived in because the floor and wall had a empty space the just the right size for a chimney. The windows came from a farm house in Sharon, GA – the stained glass window from a church in Hancock County, Georgia. Mr. Galloway renovated the building, preserving the floors, the tin roof and as much siding as possible. The rest of the wood, including the tounge-and-groove ceiling came from a tenant house in Monroe, GA. To see photos, click here