Bryan Cooper revives old objects through mixed media.
Bryan Cooper sculpts characters and other subjects, then photographs them to create his art.
Bryan Cooper’s curious illustrations of popular and historical characters are painted in mottled colors with a touch of antiquated whimsy and humor.
Inspired by antique oddities, the native Tulsan and assistant creative director at AcrobatAnt advertising and marketing agency gives life to his ideas through a process of sculpting, photography and computer design.
Tell us about your growth as an artist. My dad (Phill Cooper) inspired me to get into the field. He’s been in the art field since the 1970s and has been making art look fun ever since. I decided to pursue art as a career after I realized my heavy metal band wasn’t going to be the next huge sensation. So, I cut my long hair and headed to OSU Institute of Technology. Graduated in 1995.
Talk about your job. I have been at AcrobatAnt since 2002. I spend my day designing everything from environmental graphics, logos and ads to websites and so much more. I also handle a lot of our photography and illustration. It’s such a fun, fast-paced, diverse job. I never know what I’m going to be working on next.
How did your work get to New York and the Society of Illustrators? The Society holds a competition every year for outstanding illustration. The artists selected are published in a book, and their pieces are hung in the Society gallery in New York City for a short period of time. I was chosen for book 48 in 2007, and my work was able to be published and hung in the gallery that year. Incredible experience. Hope to achieve that again.
Where else can we find your work? A book called “LogoLounge 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 8.” I’ve also done editorial illustrations for a few magazines and commercial illustrations for several ads. I was the 2006 Mayfest artist. My dad was the 2014 Mayfest artist. I have prints available of most of my work on my website.
What type of art media do you follow? I am inspired by all kinds of art, especially experimental styles like “illustography,” which combines illustration and photography through the use of mixed media. I mainly sculpt my illustrations, then photograph them.
What inspires your works? Most are antiquated things like penny arcades, old photographs, union cases, metal wind-up toys and stamps.
Are your works showing at any galleries or exhibit halls in Tulsa or Oklahoma? My last show was in October at Dwelling Spaces. The show was for my sculpted pieces. I love fun, interactive art, so I developed “Headcases,” which are basically sculpted heads with moving parts inside small cigar box frames that light up. I consider these pieces to be modern antiques inspired by my love of turn-of-the-century penny arcade games. Not sure when my next show will be, but you can always check
www.bcillustography.com to find out.