The Fabled Justin Cooper

The blue heron: associated with calmness, grace, versatility, resourcefulness, and independence



“I’d be a blue heron,” Justin Cooper said after he pondered a few moments when I asked what sort of animal he would be. “I like to spend time with them on the river.”

Taken by itself this statement may be a bit puzzling, but the moment your gaze meets Cooper’s work, the world, and its numerous lessons, might begin to make just a bit more sense.


If you were to climb the stairs to the peak of the Harrison Center, you might be fortunate enough to find Justin Cooper calmly nestled in his studio. A bit of smooth jazz softly sounding off in the background would slow your breathing, and slow your pace as you watched him diligently crafting images of his favorite animals. “I found a copy of Aesop’s Fables laying around as a kid. This copy I grew up with had some pretty incredible illustrations.” Taking these impactful images of his formative years as a child, Cooper has developed his voice as an artist.

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Cooper’s work is enigmatic to say the least. Rooted in the fables that spoke to him as a child, Cooper has taken these personified creatures and given them life to a deeper degree. In essence, he has given them new stories to lead. Utilizing a plethora of media, spanning from various pigments on canvas to metallic leaf with stain on wood, Cooper’s work truly reflects the versatility and resourcefulness of the blue heron.


Just as nature offers us a great many lessons, so do the creations of the fabled Justin Cooper bring his viewers into a contemplative spirit. His work urges us to slow down, and simply look in wonder at the world that daily surrounds us, and we are no doubt made better for it.