Christopher Cooper, AKA COOP, will present a retrospective of work on paper spanning over 25 years this weekend at Coagula Curatorial (974 Chung King Road). Originally from Oklahoma, COOP has been in Los Angeles longer than many of his millions of fans worldwide have been alive. We caught up with the new father to talk about his art, life in Los Angeles, and drunken dwarfs.
Are you a cool dad?
You’ll have to ask my son, when he learns to speak.
This is your first retrospective show, what was the process like? What surprised you about going back into the archives?
The process was pretty easy – I opened up my flat files and pulled out anything old that wasn’t too embarrassing. I was surprised how much stuff there was – I’ve sold lots of at at shows over the years but I still had 400+ drawings to put in the show – probably not enough room at the gallery to hang everything.
Are you able to break your artwork into eras or periods?
There’s stuff from 1987 to today – it’s all from the era of trying to make a living as an artist.
When were you able to make a living as an artist for the first time?
I started doing illustration work for ad agencies in Tulsa Ok. when I was 16.
What are your favorite hidden corners of LA?
I work at the Brewery, so I really like that part of LA, east of downtown, around Lincoln Heights.
What is your relationship with the internet?
Abusive? It’s useful as a promotion tool, and for research, but i’m in a hate-hate relationship with social media. I gotta participate, but it can be a real drag sometimes.
Do you have a lucky number?
I doubt it.
What is a common misconception about your work?
That it is done with computers somehow.
When and where were you most happy?
I’m really happy right now – my beautiful wife and our little son has been the best thing to ever happen to me.
We’re living in the golden age of _________________.
Selling COOP art to millionaires (I hope).
What keeps you in Los Angeles? What makes you want to leave?
I’ve been here since 1988, and I love it – but it’s starting to get a little too expensive. I’ve already been priced out of my old neighborhood of Silver Lake.
What are you drinking?
Good single-malt scotch, when I can get it.
Who is your favorite (all time) member of the wack pack?
Hank the Angry Drunken Dwarf!
WORKS ON PAPER: 1987 – 2015
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 28
974 Chung King Road
LA, CA 90012
A historic exhibition of drawings by the legendary lowbrow artist, spanning four decades. Opens Saturday February 28 and runs thru April 11.