The stars and stripes have always stood for so much to so many people.
To some, they are a reminder of the promise of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
For others, they are a battle flag, a representation of why they volunteered to serve in the military…the reason that they fought.
For some, it reminds them that they live in a nation of freedom from persecution and terror.
For others, it serves as a brutal reminder that the established order of government operates and exists on a plane much larger than any one citizen might hope to ever influence or change.
And still, others see the Red, White, and Blue banner as a representation of everything that is wrong with American society today; citing big brother, government conspiracies, the eye in the sky, racism, classism, hatred, etc. that continue to divide these “United States” of America.
Regardless of what comes to mind when you see the American flag, there is no doubt that it represents much more than simply an assembly of people from 50 states living together on one land mass. It represents a collection of ideas, dreams, wishes, and hopes of millions of individuals who are United in their attempt to live out their own understanding of what freedom, liberty, and Justice for all means to them.
Shalom, Y’all –
As a kid, the few times painting with my dad in his art studio is one of my fondest memories. My art career was relatively short, but my art style was eerily “similar” to his, or at least that was my goal (This was never accomplished). Our childhoods greatly affect how we experience the world and how we express our creativity. Chris’s father painted houses as a career and Chris would come paint the houses. I am not well versed in the art of painting houses, but I can confidently say that abstraction & creativity are not norms for painting houses in the South. A homeowner would be furious if their house ever looked like this painting with splotches & random colors on it. The homeowner would probably hear complaints from his neighbors, Southern hospitality. I am always curious on how my grandfather’s occupation with purposeful & little abstract painting affected how Chris looks at painting.
At first glance, I swore that the brown in this painting was an abstract dog playing in a puddle surrounded by a green landscape. After a little reflection though, I take back that assumption for two reasons. First, I believe that as humans when we see anything, we try to make sense of it. Whenever anyone sees abstract art, they try to put it in a category, try to understand it, instead of just experiencing it. My second reason for taking back the dog assumption is because, quite simply, my dad does not like pets enough to do an abstract painting of one.
Similar to the last painting, there are a mixture of colors clashing together. But even more than that, there are “random” red splotches everywhere on the painting. What convinced Chris to put red splotches on a painting that most would assume does not need any red? Why put more or less red splotches on an abstract painting? Its amazing to see all the creative art expression of Chris, because has hundreds of these small paintings on paper.
America means so much to so many people.
As a whole, sometimes we take for granted all that is afforded us simply because we live in the US. The Star Spangled Banner flying above our government buildings, schools, and other locations signifies a great deal.
I pose a question. What does America, and being “American” mean to you today? Has that view changed in your time?
I am amazed at the power that can be held in a symbol, and how that symbol, depending on how it used, can instill so many different emotions.
Chris Cook is a premier southern artist and owner of Madison Studios, a web design, maintenance, and e-commerce and marketing company. For his artist biography, contact information, or to view more of his work, click HERE
Paul In Thought.
This painting idea came to me through a Bible verse –
New International Version: Romans 9:3 “For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people, those of my own race…”
But also through starting with a blank canvas and using a method I learned about through my favorite Abstract Expressionist – Robert Motherwell’s method of starting a painting with no pre-conceived ideas… which he learned from the Surrealists Max Ernst, Yves Tanguy, and Roberto Matta. From them, he learned the concept of “psychic automatism”, a form of doodling in which the artist allows an unconscious, spontaneous impulse to lead the way.
Wow, how we can learn and pass down ideas from the past into the future.
Anyway, all that said, I started doodling without conscious thought and had a basic structure in place. After first passes of paint, I felt I saw John The Baptist, but just his head… I painted a quick “platter” underneath to depict the story of when his head was presented. I reconsidered as that is a nasty subject matter for a painting, so with more washes and paint slinging, I started thinking of the verse above that really reveals Paul’s love for others.
Look close at the painting and you may see the process described above.
Chris Cook is a premier southern artist and owner of Madison Studios, a web design, maintenance, and e-commerce and marketing company. For his artist biography, contact information, or to view more of his work, click HERE.
Madison Studios is located on West Washington Street, just down from Godfrey’s Feed Co. The profile of this mill has become a fixture of Madison, as it is probably the closest that downtown will ever come to having a “skyscraper”.
As we sit and work, we can often hear the sounds of the machinery working the seed and feed. The persistent rumble of delivery trucks coming in and out, and the whine of the train horn serve to remind us of the once bustling agricultural hub that Madison was. Farming, and all of the businesses and jobs that go along to support it have played such a vital role in the development of what Madison has become.
There is just something beautiful about the mechanical and metallic and noisy mill set against the quaint antebellum buildings and centuries old trees. Madison is a beautiful town, and would not be the same without this mill. What buildings in town stir memories or emotions for you? What landmarks do you see in your mind’s eye when you imagine the Madison skyline?
For more information on Chris Cook, a premier southern artist, visit http://www.chriscookartist.com/bio.html
I think we all have memories of sneaking through our homes at night when we were supposed to be asleep. This picture reminds me of those nights.
The walls are blue with the darkness of the night, all is quiet. Maybe you’ve ventured out for a drink of water or to go to the bathroom. Maybe you’re feeling adventurous and defiant, wanting to know what goes on when the rest of the world thinks that you’re asleep.
For me, this image personifies the little child in all of us that wandered out, looking to see what the night might hold. I can almost hear the muffled sounds of the television, and my parents’ voices coming through the walls.
When you think back on your childhood, what stands out for you? What memories permeate your psyche? Good or bad, we all have memories of the other side of the door…
– Jed Hanes
More Information about the artist, Chris Cook, can be found at http://www.chriscookartist.com/bio.html
Art comes in so many forms. It is tough to think about trying to classify what “art” really is. As I look into and see more of Chris’ works, I am further reminded of just how all encompassing the term “art” really can be.
On the days that I work at Madison Studios, I am constantly surrounded by many of Chris’ paintings. This one in particular is an “Untitled” abstract piece. Even without a clear title, in the wide genre of abstract art, it is easy to see the beauty and artistic expression that went into this painting.
God gave us eyes to see and appreciate all things beautiful, He himself being the creator of art, beauty, and colors. Today, I pause and thank God for colors, for beauty, and for art. How awesome is it that we serve a creative God with the passion and skill to knit together the cosmos, sunsets, flowers, people, waterfalls, sonnets, and symphonies.
My challenge for each of us is to look into our world around and find something beautiful and “artistic” and to take a moment, pause, and thank the “artist above” for all that he has given us.
What do you see in this “Untitled Abstract”?
More information on the artist, Chris Cook, can be found at http://www.chriscookartist.com/bio.html.