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Two figures caught in an embrace, staring at one another. Their bright colors set them apart from the dark background and draw the eye in as they hold the pose. “Your Calling,” by Crimson Cook, depicts a muse of creativity leading an artist to pursue their craft. Cook is a longtime artist just recently starting to break into the Lansing scene. She uses acrylic paints to make haunting, yet beautiful creations full of vibrant colors and textures.
What exactly got you into drawing in the first place?
Actually, it was Japanese animation. At first, I was drawing just because it interested me. I was drawing animals and people and stuff, but once I got into Japanese animation, it really took off for me. The specific show was Yu Yu Hakusho which was on Toonami. I was over at a friend’s house and we happened to come in from playing outside and her older sister was watching it in the living room. I just loved the style so much.
Were the acrylic paints something you picked up along the way?
I used to get to spend every summer up in Cadillac with my grandparents and my grandma is into art. She happened to be painting a giant mural in their pool room and was using acrylics. She wound up giving me some of her paint to use when she was done with them. To me, it layers better and the colors are more vibrant. Especially being water-soluble or water-based, I can do stuff like add water to it to make different textures.
How did you come to the aesthetic that you used in “Your Calling”?
The skeletonizing isn’t specific to the painting, it’s more of just my style. I like to think that kind of visual imagery doesn’t have to be dark, it can be inspirational or light. Being darker doesn’t have to mean that it’s sad or anything. I’ve always been into Halloween and more morbid stuff. So I started experimenting with taking the basic shape of an animal and then adding the skeletonized pieces to it. So over time I just developed that style of mashing a real life thing and adding my own twist to it with the skeletonized pieces.
Did you ever have some support that was really influential to you in your earlier years of being an artist?
When I was at Grand Ledge High School, I had a teacher named Mrs. Thompson and she was always really into helping us. I always volunteered to do art club with her. In my senior year I wound up having three hours that I could take to do whatever I wanted, so I ended up taking art classes. She wound up letting me just be in her class and work on a project of my choice. So getting to spend a lot of time with her, she really encouraged us and she didn’t box me into one project. She let me choose what I wanted to do and kind of just guided me through it.
You can find Crimson’s work on Instagram with the handle as.seen.in.dreams. Her work is also available on Facebook and Etsy at AsSeenInDreams. If you want to see her work in person, she will be at the Arts Night Out in Old Town Sept. 6.