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Chris Cooper/ Queer Art

Chris Cooper is an artist who tells stories, most often using textiles and mixed media. It appears the story and research is important to Chris, there are no quick, accidental works.A graduate of Goldsmiths College Chris studied Textiles which has led to a lifelong passion for cloth. Often embroidered both by hand and machine the work is not understated. The layers of complexity create elaborate stories. Graduating in 2005 as a mature student Chris struggled to find a place in the art world. Chris does not identify as a textile artist, as he does not use traditional techniques, choosing to challenge traditional boundaries. Chris has been quoted as saying that textiles has always been present in art. A canvas is textile so it seems natural to use other mediums other than paint to make marks. In a recent work “For The Children” Chris created a memorial for the children who died in the Victorian Workhouse system. Months of painstaking hand embroidery displayed hung from coat hooks on what looked like gallows sealed the fate of children who would most likely lay in unmarked graves. Brighton Rock, another piece recently exhibited is a complex display of otherness. The orientalism of Brighton Pavilion as a back drop for young lovers treading the path of a well known gay cruising area. The path in the rainbow colours of the gay flag. A fantasy, but the connotations are all to real.

'My intention is to explore materials to create works that have a story, but also beauty. The macabre can be beautiful, life is full of stories and it isn’t one dimensional. I often start with an idea, drawing and research, the story evolves as I add textile layers. I sit in a lonely place as an artist. I joined an exhibiting textile group for a while, but never felt like a good fit, I didn’t want to fit. As an older gay artist where do I belong? I don’t want to retire or sit on the sidelines and watch. I have a lot to say. I lived through the eighties as a young man, it wasn’t an easy time to be gay. I certainly don’t want to live in the shadows any more. I am also dyslexic and consider myself to be somewhat neurodivergent. So even applying for artistic pursuits can be a challenge for me.'

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