Apart from creating wonderful artworks - any other hidden talents we should know about? Also, can you please introduce yourself?
Hi, I’m Dena Cooper, a fashion and beauty illustrator living and working in Brooklyn, New York. As far as hidden talents go, I played violin for several years and have a very intimate connection with music. Others talents (or interests) include wine drinking, cat petting and exploring New York.
Where do you see yourself and your art headed in the next few years?
I’ve recently been pushing my artwork in a more editorial direction – creating depth and narrative to form a story. I can see my work in packaging and advertising and I’m working to shift my portfolio to reflect this new direction.
What does body confidence mean to you? Is it something you’ve ever struggled with and why?
I have a long complicated past with body confidence (or a severe lack thereof). As a child I was overweight and had issues gaining weight when I went to visit my Grandmother each summer. The extra weight was a definite burden for me as a kid – I was never made fun of because I was always considered funny and therefore cool, but that didn’t mean that billboards, magazines, movies and TV didn’t foster a fierce sense of comparison and competition in me as a female.
Can you please share a little about how you go into creating artwork and how you’d describe your style?
When I drew as a teenager I always used pencils and I still feel most comfortable when drawing in graphite. After college I started experimenting with adding layered watercolor over my pencil drawings. My style is a semi-realistic, colorful and fun celebration of fashion and beauty.
Praise You isn’t just about raising awareness for eating disorders and celebrating body positivity – it’s also shining the light on female support in the creative community, in saying that, what does inclusivity and its importance mean to you?
So many of the issues we have in modern society are rooted in inequality. Judging a person based on their size, color, sexuality, or gender is so incredibly short-sided but the fashion industry can be a very superficial one. It’s been incredibly empowering to see women of all shapes, sizes, color and age on the runway for the last few seasons and I’m hoping these incredible strides forward are just the beginning for equality in the fashion industry.
Do you have any mantras or words to live by?
No matter what the obstacles are in front of you, keep pushing forward and learning and growing as an artist. You really never know when your big break will come and you only get the things you ask for in life, especially as an artist.