Olive Branch, MS
I am a person who loves to explore. Nature is the place I go for wonderment and perspective. For me, that perspective includes great beauty, both in the physical sense and the spiritual sense. I find myself closest to my spiritual path when I am surrounded by nature. Indeed, when I learned about the Lakota phrase Mitakuye Oyasin, translated as “All my relations” or “We are all related”, it was as if a consciousness light bulb had been turned on. Life is interwoven. Everything has its place. One thing begets another. That’s why I’ve always found it interesting that a lot of us start with a love of nature and animals in our childhood, but somewhere along the way that love gets pushed aside as other life issues take precedence. During the pandemic, I have found that my love of nature gained a renewed importance. I drew upon it as a coping mechanism and it has provided much needed strength. As an artist, I am also filled with endless curiosity. I imagine it is the same for scientists, as they study, discover, and make connections. I explore some of these ideas in my work, especially the complex relationships we have with animals and their ecosystems. Our relationships with animals run the gamut: we love them, dote on them, protect them, communicate with them, work with them, make them work for us, hunt them, eat them, fear them, misunderstand them, study them, learn from them, and spend lots of hours watching videos of them on the internet (though without much guilt!). We share the same blue planet and a special interconnection with millions of other species yet we continue to carve up the earth to suit our own needs regardless of the other life forms inhabiting it. In doing so, will we be able to honor these ecosystems that have sustained themselves for millennia? I don’t have any answers or solutions, but I am a singular force trying to express my awareness through imagery that I hope is both thought provoking and consciousness raising. Through my illustrations, interpretations, and use of animals in allegory, I want to inspire people and compel them to seek their own connections to nature, to see the commonality we share with all life on our planet. I believe that in our behavior we can continue to strengthen these links to the natural world, and protect ecosystems for the benefit of future generations, so that they too, can cultivate a childhood love of nature. Angi Cooper BIO I was born in Memphis, TN and graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design from Memphis State University (University of Memphis). In addition to being a professional mixed media artist, I am also a practicing Teaching Artist. My roster of artist residencies includes: DeltaARTS in West Memphis, the Memphis and Shelby Country Library system, the First Regional Library system of North Mississippi, Texarkana Regional Arts and Humanities Council, the Center for Arts Education, the University of Memphis, the Memphis College or Art, the West Tennessee Art Education Association, Germantown Parks and Recreation, Arkansas Learning Through the Arts, and Germantown Performing Arts Center among others. Painting, sculpture, photography, collage, jewelry, fiber, mixed media and print are some of the media I have shown in group, two-person, and solo shows within Memphis and the mid-south region. My work is part of private and public collections across the United States including "California Dreaming", a mixed media work at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. I have also worked with students on collaborative murals in Texarkana, AR and West Memphis, AR, and have solo mural designs at the Kroger Store Café in Hernando, MS, a triptych mural at the Germantown Community Library, and backstage murals at the Orpheum Theater. National and regional publications in which I have appeared include: Cat Fancy Magazine, The Commercial Appeal, DeSoto Magazine, The Animal Times, The Pet Gazette, Writers on the River, Grandmother Earth VII, and 7DV7 Exhibition Catalog. My practice generally begins with sketches created from my ideas, which come from different sources: something that catches my eye, something I notice in the world, things I capture in my photography, or revisiting older sketchbooks. Themes are uniting forces for my work and some of the things I muse about are the complex relationships we have with wildlife and ecosystems, and the interconnectedness of life on our planet. I make connections through design, composition, imagination, use of materials, and many times a sense of humor. I often use animals as protagonists, narrators, and allegorical figures for our human conditions. I work in different styles and media from contemporary graphic stylizations, humorous illustrations to figurative and naturalistic renderings, sometimes working on abstract pieces alongside my more figurative work. My media/processes include: acrylic and mixed media on canvas, board, found wood. I also work in: box assemblage, collage, found objects, fiber, photography, drawing and illustration. I am also a hiker and amateur birder. Exploring trails in state and national park systems is a lifelong joy, and I always have my camera and binoculars in my backpack. My bird sightings have inspired me to create a series of zines based on the birds from my life list. One of my favorite songbirds is the Wood thrush which can be seen in my piece "Like Minds".
Claire Christine Sargenti is an interdisciplinary artist whose work is largely inspired by the intersectional feminist movement. Bright and bold in nature, Claire’s mixed media work brings a message of change and love while using her signature color set of black, white and pink. Some of Claire’s most notable works include Origin, the world’s largest spinning vulva sculpture, Vagina Book, of which she is both the artist and author, and Let Love Be Viral, a multi-city mixed media project ranging from street art to fine art. Her artwork has been seen in the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, Angela King Gallery, Huntington Beach Art Center, Chinatown Soup NYC, and Hell’s Kitchen Artist Space (among others) and featured in the publications Art Hole, Witches Magazine, Le Freak Magazine and Zine Without A Crown. She is the creator of this the upcoming Blushing Moon Tarot Deck and owner of Shop of Wonders. Artist Statement Through my art I seek to celebrate the human experience through visual storytelling that inspires thought, compassion, and positive change in the individual and collective viewer. Working at the intersection of mysticism, gender identity and psychedelics, my mixed media and cross-genre work calls into question the status-quo while promoting a message of love, all in my signature color palette of black white and pink.