Southeast Missouri State University student publication

SEMO Student Kate Cooper creates 10-ft. art piece

Tuesday, May 2, 2023
Kate Cooper stands in front of her 10-ft. art piece. The piece took approximately a week to finish.
Photo by Rylee Schremp

Sophomore Kate Cooper, who is studying towards obtaining a BFA with an emphasis in painting, created a 10-ft. painting. Cooper is enrolled in professor Joshua Newth’s Drawing III class where she was given an assignment to create a large-scale portrait.

Cooper said she was raised on a farm in Bloomfield, Mo. Her family has been on this property for eight generations. She is the first of her family to break away from farming.

Cooper wanted to tie her family roots to her artwork. She wanted to do a piece that was about her background and where she came from, but wanted to have a figure in it that seemed distant in the landscape. Cooper wanted the portrait to be about the relationship with the figure and the environment.

Cooper hand built the canvases she made her artwork on. Her 10-ft. piece of art took her approximately a week to finish. The art piece is broken into three separate panels, making up one collective piece.

Cooper’s mentor and former professor Justin Miller has taught his students how to create canvases on their own and why it is beneficial for them to learn this as an artist.

Miller has been supporting and mentoring Cooper throughout this process.

“Kate’s really easy to support, because she’s a really hard worker,” Miller said.

Miller said Cooper came in with a strong ability to draw, and her technique is strong, as well.

Newth said the reasoning behind this assignment is for students to understand scale can play an important role in the message of a work of art.

“If you want someone to pay attention to something, you go really small to make it intimate. Sometimes, you go really large, so that they can’t really ignore it,” Newth said.

Cooper said the process was challenging, fun and freeing.

“It’s the first time I’ve really tried experimenting with a lot of loose charcoal stuff and really tried to cover as much paper as I could,” Cooper said.

Cooper used a variety of techniques on each panel, including small marks similar to traditional drawings, charcoal pencils, sponges, rags, paper towels, sculptured work with modeling paste and photo transfers with her own family photos.

Newth has been able to watch Cooper grow as an artist and student.

“Art in of itself can be created for pleasure, enjoyment, for personal reasons, but it can be also created to convey a message and to explore the nature of the idea of something,” Newth said. “So, over the last semester and a half or so, Kate has really started to explore that side of things.”

Cooper’s artwork will be exhibited during the month of June at Catapult Creative House.