Cook exhibit rocks

Brandon Bills

It took peer pressure for Courtney Cook to decide to finally exhibit her paintings.

“My friends saw my old work and pushed me to do a show,” said Cook, a Washburn senior majoring in mass media. She will be opening her first art exhibit, titled “Rock Show,” on April 3 at Bosco’s Downtown, located downstairs at 435 S. Kansas Ave. The exhibit opening will be the part of the First Friday art walk.

Cook’s paintings, acrylic on board, are inspired by rock music. Subjects include rock stars Slash, Axl Rose, Ozzy Osbourne and Rob Zombie, as well as other images from the world of rock.

Cook created most of her paintings during her senior year of high school.

“This show is something I’ve thought about doing since I started painting in 2005, but I just haven’t ever gotten around to it.”

One painting that has garnered a lot of compliments is of former Guns N’ Roses guitarist, Slash.

“I had one teacher who taught me pretty much everything I know about painting,” said Cook. “I sat in his class room everyday for a week [and] listened to a lot of different rock music, Guns N’ Roses in particular, while I painted that.”

Cook’s began her latest painting during her preparation for “Rock Show,” and she completed it in recent weeks. The new painting marks the end of a lengthy hiatus for Cook.

“The newest piece is also a big deal because I haven’t painted since that teacher passed away, so it’s been two years since I’ve painted.” she said.

The piece is a 4-by-6 foot, three- panel painting of a winged guitar.

“It has a rib cage with a heart in it so it’s got that kind of hard edge to it,” said Cook, “but it also has the angelic wings and its kind of shaped like a crucifix so it can mean a whole lot different things for what music means to you.”

“I haven’t titled that piece just because I think it can be interpreted a lot of different ways,” she said.

Cook said that Bosco’s Downtown is probably the only place she would consider exhibiting her art.

“It’s just so appropriate for the type of art I do,” she said. “The walls are exposed rock. It’s like a cave kind, of and, it’s also smoke free. It’s just a great place to hang out.”

Bosco’s participates in the First Friday art walk, premiering a different artist on the first Friday of each month. The art remains on display at Bosco’s throughout the month.

“The First Friday art walk is a pretty good thing going on in Topeka,” said Craig McCullah, owner of Bosco’s Downtown. “It’s really cool to see local artists. There’s a lot of talent in this city.”

McCullah has displayed several artists in his bar since it opened in November, and he is especially excited about Cook.

“I think this is going to [be] extraordinary,” said McCullah. “Courtney’s got a lot of talent.”

McCullah isn’t the only one talking about Cook’s talent.

“I think Courtney is quite possibly one of the most gifted people I have ever met in my entire life,” said Joey “Baggz” Little, one of Cook’s closest friends and art enthusiast.

“I think her true personality comes out in her artwork,” Little said. “She comes across as this really bubbly, kind of sometimes silly personality. Then you look at her art work and you can really see this real serious kind of mood that she has.”

As a full-time student with a full-time job, Cook doesn’t get much time to paint, but the few hours she does find are precious to her.

“I work in a creative industry,” said Cook. “But advertising, marketing, it’s all business, so this was kind of my escape from those things.”

“Rock Show” will remain on display at Bosco’s Downtown through April 25 during regular business hours, 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. Wednesday through Saturday.