April Kay Cooper was born in London, England, in 1993. She lives and works in the Okanagan, Kelowna, BC Canada. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Photography, Video Art, and Multimedia Design. She has a National Certificate in Art and Design and a GCSE in Art and Design. April has been working professionally as a visual artist for 9 years.
How did you get into art?
I was a kid when I first started to paint, draw, and colour. I was always passionate about making art, it felt like my purpose from a young age.
I guess I could say the story started when I was about four years old, sitting at church. I couldn't see anything. I could barely hear anything, and I didn't know what I was paying attention to. I was wearing a pair of Timberland boots. And. I remember seeing my mom, my dad, paying attention. I slid down from the seat, under the row of chairs, laid on my tummy and started colouring in my colouring book. I remember thinking in that moment that God wouldn't mind if I coloured.
From then on, I guess it felt like a calling and a purpose on my life. To create.
How would you describe your style? What makes your art special?
My style is abstract, poetic, I like to think. I predominantly work on raw canvas, with a lot of water. I gravitate towards neutral earthy colors. I live in the mountains, the Monashee Mountain range in Canada, which I draw a lot of inspiration from.
I love to be in nature, and enjoy it’s abstract essence everywhere. I’ll easily get absorbed by the way every leaf on a tree is different. How every line of the mountain is uniquely shaped, by the wind, the water, or the glacier that chipped away at it.
Nature taught me how special things are born. It’s a “one of a kind” life, completely unique and not reproducible. Like a fingerprint. So my work, I would like to say is one of a kind. The experiences I've had in my life have led me to this point to create this work in this particular way.
I like to find deep meaning in the things that I do. The only way I can do that is to be real and personal about what it is that I'm creating.
How do you go about developing your work?
I begin with the idea for the series, and I understand that it’s going to be exploratory. I don't create a piece of work knowing what it’s going to be for. It's more like I have a title and I'm working to discover what's going to come through me with it.
Right now I'm searching for beauty. So every time I experience a moment that I consider beautiful, I write it down. Not necessarily a full story, but, a short composition of words that describe it. I take those words to the canvas, and think about that moment while I paint.
Who or what influences you?
My life does. Painting is an expressive outlet for me. Nature is a big influence for me too.
A good example is from this piece of work “Better Days”. It was influenced by the recent forest fires where I live in Kelowna, BC. I heard the words “better days” and became attached to them. There was smoke everywhere, I could smell it, taste it. I could see flames. But these words gave me faith that better days were coming, I just didn't know when.
Faith for rain, faith that the smoke was going to clear. Faith that my apartment wasn't going to burn down.. All that feeling just poured out on the canvas, it was emotional. And, I found beauty in it. In the midst of the fear.
What are you planning to do next?
I am continuing to explore this series, “Searching for beauty”, and I have many beautiful moments that I’ve felt while exploring the idea already. I’ve just arrived back from an adventure on the Athabasca Glacier in Alberta. So next, you can expect to feel more moments of grace that come with being alive, and human.
Hopefully, these pieces can bring some beauty to your life, to your space. Or even just your eyes, to give you a place to rest in a moment of beauty.