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Meet Dana C Cook, Color-Blind Artist

Shauna has a deep appreciation for those who bring us beauty, peace, and reflection by way of the extension of their souls through art.

Dana C Cook, artist

Dana C Cook, artist

Introduction

It could be said that art has the most universal reach of The Arts. It knows no language barriers; there are no words to decipher or misconstrue. Art invokes, evokes, and expresses emotion. It touches our souls and makes us think, question, see that which we may never have seen – or refused to see – without the visual expression that talented individuals put before us.

With that in mind, I’d like to introduce you to a phenomenal artist who does that and much more. What’s unique about this talented man is he’s color-blind.

His artwork touches my soul in a way no other artist has. His work is beautiful. Each piece tells a story, but you have to really look in order to hear it and see it. And that’s his intent. His work enlivens the senses and forces you to go deep within yourself to grasp the meaning behind the vision.

His work is so inspiring, I was compelled to ask for an interview and he graciously complied.

Meet Dana C. Cook.

When did you first discover you're color blind?

The first time I heard the term “color-blind”, I was a kid in school, third grade, I think, where the kids were given unwrapped crayons and told to use a particular color in a specific area. I picked up the crayons that I thought matched the colors the teacher called out. I’m not sure that I did too well, though. When the class turned in their papers, mine was completely different from everyone else’s. At that point my teacher suggested I take a color-blind test.

Did the fact that you're color-blind have any influence on your decision to pursue art?

Being color-blind has nothing to do with my pursuit of art in any way. Being color-blind is natural, it’s only defined by words and not enough is said with regard to being able to evoke a feeling or a sense of area that we are always surrounded by. So, to sum it up, in college I felt inferior to other art students at first, until my designs became the talk in the hallways.

What is your preferred medium and why?

I was very comfortable in wood sculpture and black and white photography, but in truth I need to paint, push color!

I prefer acrylics for two reasons: 1) being water based, acrylics are better for the environment, but more importantly, 2) I usually paint fast and this medium allows for that more effectively. The drawback however, is it’s more difficult to paint outdoors down here (in South Florida) because the water in the paint evaporates quickly, which makes the paint get dense and less flowing.

From where does your inspiration come?

Inspiration is a funny thing. Rarely am I “inspired” to paint a scene or subject, but more by the need to move the color the way I want with a mood in color, rather than a subject in color. It is usually my goal to allow the spirit of the color let the subject(s) reveal themselves and, hopefully, I can then carry its meaning as intended

What is your creative process?

Creative process for me is a ritual. Everything clean and clear: brushes, water, palette… my mind. Then I stare, make mind moves, stroke styles, color themes, math, and stare some more. Then I mix my colors and go. After all this, stopping is the hard part.

How Cook's Process Culminates

Notice the realistic rose-colored glasses

Notice the realistic rose-colored glasses

Breathtaking!

Breathtaking!

The colors in your artwork are beautiful and marry together well. How do you determine which colors to use? How do you "see" them?

I am well-educated with a degree in Fine Arts, so I should know the mathematics of mixing colors and the color wheel. Fact is, I will use the wheel for reference, but rarely color that doesn’t belong in the black and white. Tonal range is easy to see being color-blind. Some colors “bounce” when next to each other. Some are just too weird to look nice together. I can talk for hours on this subject alone.

Beautiful Pastels

This is a sketch done in water colors

This is a sketch done in water colors

Winding waterway

Winding waterway

How do you describe your artistic style?

I cannot describe my painting style; that is for others, I guess. I usually like to hide elements in my paintings that are there all the time, but not blatant. Many times in a single piece. At times, I will work with geometric planes and use simple shapes to create a flat, yet dimensional effect that makes sense, or not. A good example is in the Yansi painting.

Yansi

Yansi is the Cherokee word for buffalo

Yansi is the Cherokee word for buffalo

Your artistry goes beyond the canvas. You've also designed fishing lures. Please tell us about that.

I’ve always had a passion for fishing, even as a young boy living in Philly, but had nowhere to fish. So I bought fishing magazines and catalogs – anything to get me closer. I learned to tie flies from those books and eventually got good enough to trade my lures for more materials at a sporting goods store. It never left me and is just another way for me to explore the artistic side of creativity. Not just the lure itself. It’s the effective application that is judged by Nature, not people. However, in making the product attractive to the paying customer, I have to alter the design somewhat.

Where can art lovers and/or fishermen go to purchase your work?

I’m not here to promote anything, but to hopefully enlighten those who are intrigued by the concept. However, anyone who is interested in purchasing my work or place a custom order can reach me via email at danaccook@yahoo.com.

What advice do you have to offer aspiring artists?

Hey, aspiring artists out there! You are already a pro. Don’t unlearn your childhood. Study your art and art history. Be able to create an opinion of knowledge. Create your own tools if you can’t find what you need. Be creative in life, not just your artistic medium. Most of all, appreciate everything!

Thank You, Dana!

Shauna L Bowling, writer and Dana C Cook, artist

Shauna L Bowling, writer and Dana C Cook, artist

© 2019 Shauna L Bowling

Comments

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on February 10, 2021:

Thanks, bhattuc. I happen to agree with you!

Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on February 10, 2021:

Amazing.

Ann Carr from SW England on February 09, 2021:

Thank you! Ok, that's great. Who wouldn't??

Ann

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on February 09, 2021:

I'm very proud of him, Ann. I've texted him to ask him exactly how and to what extent he sees color (in answer to your email query). I'll respond to your email once I've heard back from him.

So glad you appreciate my brother's talent, Ann!

Ann Carr from SW England on February 09, 2021:

Amazing! The depth and the blend of colours seems to belie the colour-blindness, or maybe it is because of it!

You have an extremely talented brother. Thanks for bringing this to my attention.

Ann

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on August 19, 2020:

Thank you, Umesh. Dana is a very talented man. I'm proud to call him my brother.

Have a great week!

Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on August 18, 2020:

Simply amazing. Great.

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on March 19, 2020:

Ha ha, RoadMonkey. I'm the oldest. There are three of us. My brother is three years younger than I. Our sister is ten years my junior.

RoadMonkey on March 18, 2020:

No, I had no idea he was your brother. Now I look at the photo, the two of you are alike but it didn't strike me at the time.

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on March 17, 2020:

RoadMonkey, humans really only have limitations that they impose on themselves. I saw a beautiful singer on America's Got Talent a few years back. She was deaf, but boy could she sing! She wasn't born deaf, but something happened later in her life to cause the hearing loss. She was determined to make her dreams come true regardless and she did!

By the way, I don't know if you figured it out, but Dana is my brother.

RoadMonkey on March 17, 2020:

Great to read an interview with someone who has followed their natural talent, even though people might think that was impossible. I never even thought that someone who was color blind might be an artist!

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on May 11, 2019:

Genna, I love that line, too. I think his advice to aspiring artists applies to all of us, no matter our path in life. Very profound thoughts from a very talented and gentle person.

Thank you so much for your comment!

Genna East from Massachusetts, USA on May 11, 2019:

What an interesting article and interview, Shauna. I can certainly understand why Dana's art became the talk of the always in college. Such a marvelous talent...I love his work, and his way of "seeing" and creating. "Don’t unlearn your childhood." That is perhaps the best advice for any aspiring artist I've heard in a long time. Thank you for sharing this with us.

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on May 02, 2019:

"A gift to the engaged". What does that mean?

manatita44 from london on May 02, 2019:

Sweet Chuckle.

I'm asking for something as a gift to the engaged. He has not responded yet.

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on May 02, 2019:

Manatita, I think you nailed it regarding the first painting. And I agree, Dana does have a very reflective, loving appearance. It emanates from his soul.

I'm thrilled that you're interested enough in his work to reach out to him. I'd be interested in seeing the result of your request.

manatita44 from london on May 02, 2019:

Extremely beautiful pieces, made more amazing by virtue of his handicap. This piece you asked about looks like a woman in shrouds and hood, down on her knees … it's esoteric, reflecting a bridge between this and the afterlife. Just one take. I'll ask him for some work.

He has a reflective, loving appearance (face).

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on April 30, 2019:

Dee, I agree with you. The colors are amazing. He's truly very talented.

Thanks for stopping by!

Dianna Mendez on April 29, 2019:

I am amazed at how this man creates beautiful art while being color blind! Such lovely art work and the colors blend beautifully.

sanea on April 26, 2019:

Quetta is from Pakistan is city place

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on April 25, 2019:

Thank you for reading and leaving a comment, Sanea. Tell me, where is Qwetta?

sanea on April 25, 2019:

I would like to interest that information it's very useful information thanks alot

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on April 25, 2019:

Ruby, he truly is very talented. I love Dana's use of color. Very creative, to say the least.

Did you not see the angel in the first painting?

Thanks for your comment, Ruby. Much appreciated!

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on April 24, 2019:

I am amazed at the different images I saw in Mr. Cook's paintings. I can't imagine being color-blind and using colors like he does. He is truly gifted. In the first painting, I saw a hooded man with a rope-like necklace around his neck. Thank you Shauna and Mr. Cook for displaying your talent.

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on April 23, 2019:

Mar, I'm partial to Dana's pastels, too. His use of color amazes me.

Thanks for your very kind comment. It's great to see you here!

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on April 23, 2019:

Paula, we have younger sister. I'm the eldest of the three. All same mom. Dana and I have the same dad. Sis came after our parents divorced and Mom remarried.

Maria Jordan from Jeffersonville PA on April 23, 2019:

Dear Sha,

You know I loved this interview - especially seeing what Dana has been up to and the fabulous pictures. You look beautiful - a picture reminding me that talent can run in a family.

I especially love Dana's pastels. It's inspiring that his color-blindness makes him more in tune with the tones of color - and obvious in his work.

So lovely to see you publish! Excellent interview. Love, mar

Suzie from Carson City on April 22, 2019:

Of course, I understand...and it makes sense. Is he your only sibling? Same Dad & Mom? Power of suggestion, you sure do look alike........How nice that you both live in Florida! It's a really great interview, Sha.!!

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on April 22, 2019:

Paula, I wanted to get clean comments without my followers and friends knowing there's a connection between us. Guess the cat's out of the bag, now, but I'm proud to be Dana's sister, and not because of his talent, but because of who he is!

Suzie from Carson City on April 22, 2019:

Show bias??? BULLSHIT on that!! So what?? You can and should be proud of him.... I'd be shouting it from the rooftops. He really IS amazing. What crazy woman let him go?? Awww nuts....I'm out of the game anyway, honey. He was born in '60...LOL.......I graduated in '66!! I'd hate to get arrested for pedophilia! Or.....on 2nd thought.....LOL

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on April 22, 2019:

Paula, I didn't want to show bias when I posted this. That's why I didn't let it out that Dana is my brother. He stands on his own merit. However, I'm very proud of him and wanted to showcase his talent.

He's actually very well known in Boynton Beach.

Sister-in-law? There was one, but Dana and I share the fact that we're both divorced.

Yeah, I'm REALLY proud of him. That's why I wanted to showcase his talent.

Love you, Sis. And I've always been a brat, just ask my mom and brother! You should know that!

Suzie from Carson City on April 22, 2019:

OMG!!! You BRAT!! LOL....I want you to know, the very moment I began to read this, I thought to myself (SWEAR TO GOD!) "Oh, this must be Sha's brother, the artist.".....I vividly remember you speaking of him. But since you never mentioned the relationship in your article.....I stopped thinking it was your brother.... I repeat......You're a BRAT! OMG...you can be so proud of him! Soooooooo aHEM! girlfriend......now that I know he;s your brother......if there a sister-in-law???? or can I be HER??? LMAO!!! He's really attractive, in more ways than 2!!

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on April 22, 2019:

Paula, I've been waiting for someone to bring up how I met Dana, even though you did it in a round-about way, My article was purposefully written in a way that it would't be obvious. However, I'm too proud to not let the truth out.

I first met Dana in 1960 when my mom brought him home from the hospital.

Dana is my brother. He's amazing!

Look at the last photo. Notice a resemblance?

Suzie from Carson City on April 22, 2019:

Girlfriend......I totally love this article, introducing such an amazing artist! I'm excited to have met him and learn his fascinating talent, way of thinking and such artistic perfection. I agree, his paintings are breathtaking, Sha!.....

Getting to meet him and interview him face to face!! You GO, girl. I'm proud of your enthusiasm and professional confidence. What a girl! No wonder I love you!

(Nice pic...you sexy Mama!!) He's nice looking! I like the hairy chest WOO HOO! (I'm bad) LOL

Thank you so much for this great GREAT piece of art!! It had to be so interesting to meet him! Love ya, Paula

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on April 22, 2019:

Thank you so much for stopping by, Flourish. I learned a lot I didn't know when I conducted this interview.

As far as the colors Dana uses in his lures, they are mostly to please the consumer. It's the shape, length, and make-up that lures the fish. They mimic bait they are normally attracted to.

FlourishAnyway from USA on April 22, 2019:

Math is in everything! I enjoyed this. Thanks for showing us some of his lovely work. I've always wondered how people discover they are colorblind. And I guess fish aren't colorblind. Interesting! I never considered the question.

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on April 22, 2019:

Dora, Dana is an amazing man. The last line of his advice to aspiring artists sums up his outlook on life. Appreciate everything!

He'll be pleased that you paid particular attention to Yansi. It's one of his favorites.

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on April 22, 2019:

Thanks, Linda. I actually was surprised to learn that math is a component of painting. But, now that I think about it, math plays a part just about every aspect of life. From the tempo of music, to baking, to decorating and more, math makes it all happen.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on April 22, 2019:

What an amazing person Dana Cook is! All the paintings you show are beautiful, but the Yansi above all with its details and clear divisions into separate areas. His advice gives us a clue to his success despite his challenge. Thanks for sharing his story.

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on April 22, 2019:

Shauna, I had not heard of Dana, and I'm glad that you introduced us to his work. The first painting is mesmerizing (and yes, the first thing that I saw was the angel). I think every art (music, sculpting, quilting, baking, etc.) is based on mathematics. I'm fascinated by his process. Thanks for the interview and a well-written article.

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on April 22, 2019:

Peggy, I have to agree with you. He certainly is awe-inspiring. Dana's work is interesting. The more you look, the more you see.

Thanks for stopping by and spending time with this phenomenal artist.

Peg Cole from North Dallas, Texas on April 22, 2019:

It's fascinating to hear from an artist as talented as this man, but to further understand that he is color-blind is awe-inspiring. He certainly has overcome some major obstacles and serves as an inspiration to others. Thanks for this insightful interview.

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on April 22, 2019:

Thanks, Bill. I remember her. She was amazing!

I'm so glad you enjoyed this interview. People who can draw have an enviable talent. Those who enlighten this world despite disabilities are gifted beyond compare.

Enjoy your week, my friend!

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on April 22, 2019:

Thanks for your great comment, John. I saw the latter of your visions in the first painting. I actually saw the angel before I saw the woman. It's interesting to learn what people see when looking at a piece of art.

I'm glad you enjoyed the article, my friend.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on April 22, 2019:

There was a singer on America's Got Talent who was deaf....beautiful voice....that singer and this artist just blow me away. I can't even draw good stick figures, Sha! How is that possible?

Thanks for the interview. Just fascinating!

John Hansen from Gondwana Land on April 21, 2019:

Shauna, I know you had mentioned Dana in the comments on one of my recent poems, so I was waiting anxiously for your article about the colour blind artist. U certainly didn’t disappoint. This was a very good introduction to him and his work. I love his use of color, which may be slightly different but none the less effective than someone not effected by color blindness. His fishing lures sure great too. In the first painting I saw either a monk praying or a woman crying and a small angel near the left shoulder.

Shauna L Bowling (author) from Central Florida on April 21, 2019:

Mary, thanks for being the first one to the party!

I'm impressed that you saw the angel in that painting. That's the first thing I saw. Then I saw what you call the Grim Reaper. I saw her as someone lamenting her life. The angel is helping her along her way.

Funny how kismet comes about, huh? Maybe if you email Dana, he can enlighten you on the craft of making lures.

Thanks for stopping by and Happy Easter!

Mary Wickison from Brazil on April 21, 2019:

That was fascinating. When he referred to using math in art, I never knew those subjects were connected. I didn't realize the the founder of Crayola was color blind as well.

In that first image, I see the grim reaper with an angel behind.

Funny how things happen, just today I was just thinking about how difficult it might be to make fishing lures.

Thanks for bring this artist to my attention.

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