ISU tv Interview

So they did this interview right before my talk, and my nerves were really kind of through the roof. Ironically i seem very calm and almost lethargic but i think it was to counteract my thumping heart beat. This was my first public speaking venture of this magnitude and it was a little scary! 


Overall i think it went well, and after i was done i become overwhelmed with gratitude during our little in formal "meet and greet". You can listen to a pod cast of the whole talk in the previous blog post.


I got clean from drugs while living here. I learned how to be a man here. I learned that people can be nice, just because they're nice. I learned how to work hard. I learned how to work on myself. I learned manners. I moved back to NY with a new perspective on life, and a solid foundation of my own. Thank you Tallahassee, I will always love you.

'Umbrella Solution'

The beginning of this painting was completely organic. I started with the nose from the thanks face as I often do, and made some crazy marks over it. I then went in with scraps of a flesh colored spray paint moving in a downward direction. When the spray happened, the two shapes I made looked like legs.

The legs are what made me think of the Mortons salt girl. So I took a moment to reference that image and embrace my new direction. At that point all I knew was that I was painting the Mortons salt girl.

After pushing and pulling with the abstraction to translate more into a dress, I outlined the umbrella, and painted it in a solid slate purple. I instantly envisioned the Gucci print inside the umbrella. I don't know why.

It made me think "why did I envision that?" Asking that question opened up my inner debate about branding and how money enslaves us etc.

That's where the metaphor was born for this painting. The girl is a chaotic mess. All the crazy marks, the abstraction; she's all mixed up. But it's a beautiful mess. She's unique. Still, I'm sure some of that mess could be fixed with some soul searching. 

The umbrella symbolizes what the girl allows the world to see. She's dressing up the outside instead of working on the inside. Covering up the mess instead of searching for inner happiness. Kind of displaying this "prestige" on the outside when inside everything is chaos.

'The Umbrella Solution' || Paul Cooley 2017 || 48x60" acrylic and spray paint on canvas

'The Umbrella Solution' || Paul Cooley 2017 || 48x60" acrylic and spray paint on canvas

After creating this painting I realized it can be taken in other ways, like the girl's chaos is art. She's dressed in designer like every other rich girl but inside she is actually a work of abstract art. I wonder how others will percieve it.


Yesterday I had a meeting in Brooklyn that left me smiling from ear to ear. I met with a woman who is asking me to do a two month residency in Italy. Traveling with her team who brings social services to Syrian refugees living in camps. Her vision for me is that I use that time to create a body of work inspired by my experience. After the trip we will have an opening in NYC displaying the work I create. This show will be a window into something happening in the world right now that can't be documented. The refugees must remain anonymous for obvious reasons. The goal is not to get involved in any of the politics but to help these humans having to start over - and to share the experience through my art. 


The very same woman pitching me had just wandered into my show during Art Basel last month. She didn't know who any of us were, she hadn't seen the show flyer; she was just walking by. She came back the next day to see the show again. The second day she and I had a long conversation about what she was doing overseas. This is when  the spark happened. 


Go with the flow. Ignite the sparks. Who knows what tomorrow will bring

Art = Gold

Everything in our world is changing fast. When I take the time to look around I realize that Art is the most important thing happening. If all of it goes to shit, Art will stand. Let me explain.

The internet is changing the Art world and this is going to continue. Galleries will continue losing control as artists gain it. The secondary market might get some surprises from the "leap froggers" who's social media followings allowed them to skip over crucial rungs of the ladder. People will continue to create new apps, and adapt the gallery- artist- collector structure. Things will continue to change, and hopefully come full circle to a "new model" of how it will all work. This isn't the end for galleries though; their role in the Art world is far too important. Perhaps only the lower end galleries will be forced to adapt. 

The most exciting part is that nobody knows exactly what will happen. But one thing I know for sure: Art is gold. 

Just look around. Look how fast Nike is producing all the most popular color ways of the Jordan shoe. Look how many high end designers are signing young independent artists to sell their crap. The speed and intensity at which we are being sold stuff is at an all time high. All the big companies are cashing in, selling their b/s. They know we won't buy it forever. People are catching on. Young people are beginning to see through rap culture selling them worthless stuff that fades out in a year. 

Money has already ruined the music industry, but visual Art is different. It's digested differently. An honest painting is something tangible, it's physical. Its not a song you listen to over and over it's something you can hold. Something you can physically hang in your home. It has the potential to become a family heirloom, a treasure, an artifact, if nothing else: a piece in a collection. Art will rise above the b/s going on in today's world. I have personally been selling Art to more high school and college students every year. Spending money they could have spent on some stupid designer shit, on original art work made by a human being wholeheartedly. 

An honest painting will grow with you throughout life. As you look at it during different stages and chapters in your own journey that painting will effect you in new ways. You can interact with a painting. You can have a relationship with a painting. Best of all when you buy a painting that you truly identify with, you begin building a relationship with the very artist who made it. It's a real human to human experience and that is so pure. What else is left in today's world that is pure? Art is gold. 

A Traveling Artist

Here i sit at the airport in Denmark on a long layover awaiting my flight back home to NYC. Im looking at the sketch books from my trip. I drew a lot more drawings than my last trip!

Bringing a sketch book when i travel has become an excellent way for me to capture inspiration. It also helps me to keep things fresh. I am able to jot down ideas, work out visuals, and plan paintings, all without overlying "every day tasks". I am also able to plan paintings without STARTING to paint them. This type of planning can be really nice for my crowded creative brain. My traveling sketch books have become a breeding ground for new, and good ideas.

Here is a gallery of many drawings i made during my time in Paris, and Barcelona. Some of them were made quickly when an idea came to me, scrambling to grab my sketch book. Others were completely free form studies i drew during down time. Some were made while having conversations with other travelers at a coffee shop. Just drawing to myself as "white noise" while we spoke about our travels. Perhaps the conversations became the white noise and drawing became my conversation.

I went through almost two sketch books, close to 100 pages. Here are 17 that made the cut.