Idle hands are the devil’s playground, and artist Coop been keeping good ties with the devil in his latest show entitled “Idle Hands” at the Corey Helford Gallery. Coop’s work has been identified as “hillbilly sex crime pop art”, which is an apt description for his sensual art. Vibrant colors wash across sexy women, satanic themes, and play upon symbols of rebellion and car culture.
Personally, I really admire the attention to detail in all of Coop’s pieces, and how much time and care is put into his art. Many may not understand his imagery, but you cannot dismiss the passion and ability of this talented artist. After visiting his studio, I attended the opening of “Idle Hands” at Corey Helford Gallery despite fears of “CARMEGEDON” in Los Angeles.
His audience was a mix of older individuals in overalls and hip psychobilly cats wearing leather jackets and pompadours. Even the infamous pop surrealist Robert Williams made an appearance, as well as Buff Monster and artist Slyvia Ji. It was an wonderful evening of foxy Wonder Women, eccentric crowds, and tantalizing imagery.
I sat down with Coop at his studio – a man cave of art supplies (and just about every part and tool in his garage to build a car) – to find out where this madness is derived from. We discussed art, music and cars… and how they fell hand in hand for him in creating his work…
1.) Your art is very provocative and quite intense in color.When did you fall into this style?
I guess that it evolved from spending so much time working on posters and record covers for bands. I grew up with a steady diet of comics and record covers, and movie posters too. That, and my love of Pop Art (and the commercial illustration that it borrows from) are the bulk of the inspirational sources.
2.) Kinda reminds me of a nice balance of Roy Lichtenstein and Ed Roth at a heavy metal show. Who are your influences?
As far as conceptual influences, Robt. Williams’ merging of low art influences (Big Daddy Roth, for one) into a conceptual painting language, and James Rosenquist’s scale and collage compositional techniques are the biggest influence on my painting now.
3.) After being in your studio I can see that you have a passion for cars. What do you do with cars outside of drawing them?
I go rally racing in Mexico when I can afford it, and I build/work on hot rods when I have the time. I built a 1929 Model A Ford hot rod a few years ago, and I’m about to start tearing up a 1946 Ford, when I have some time to do so.
4.) Starting on band flyers and making your way to gallery canvases, had you aimed for a career in art or was it something you were just doing for fun?
Some people see a master plan where there was only a scramble to pay the rent. I moved to California in the late 80’s, and started by taking pretty much any art job that came my way, learning and making it up as I went. 20+ years later, I have managed to fool everyone into thinking I know exactly what I’m doing.
5.) You’ve covered art from action figures to stencils, how does it feel to have made it this far in your career? Any advice for artists trying to make a living in this economy?
Work as much as possible, and never turn down a gig if you can possibly avoid it. The trick is to be a dung beetle, rolling up a big enough ball of your artistic droppings so that at some point, when you crest the peak o the hill, it will begin to roll along with the power of its own inertia.
– Birdman for Warholian
“Idle Hands” runs from July 15-Aug 3 at the Corey Helford Gallery
Open Weekdays 12pm-6pm; also open Sat
8522 Washington Boulevard
Culver City, CA 90232-7444
For more on Coop visit his official site at: http://www.coopstuff.com/