Interview with Local Illustrator Jordan Cooper

Jordan Cooper, like many other creatives living in Vancouver, is a man of many talents. In addition to his odd jobs here and there, he can also be founds working on his creative projects, at the Juice Truck and at Cycle Media doing post production work. This time, we sat down with Jordan to talk about his illustrations and the process that goes into creating one of his works. Check out our interview withe the self taught artist below;

Jordan Cooper

Please introduce yourself

My name is Jordan Cooper and I do a lot of things. I like to create, being film, drawing, writing. I feel like the world of story telling, it doesn’t have to be done by film to be storytelling, but I’m obsessed with storytelling.

Would you identify yourself as an artist? Or as an overall creative?

I don’t know. I never really thought of a title until recently since I’ve been making artwork. People have been saying, “Oh you’re an artist,” and I made an art website so I guess I’m an artist now?

Jordan Cooper

You never went to school for illustration or anything right? Would you ever want to?

Not really, if I went to school it would be to learn some specific skill. I like developing things on my own though. If there’s something specific that I think I should learn, there’s always a way to find out how to learn it.

What are you inspired by?

I was driving down East Hastings, I go through that neighbourhood a lot, and it’s obviously one of the sketchiest neighbourhoods in Vancouver; but I’m so desensitized to it. When I bus through the neighbourhood I look out the window and there’s like a whole world of shit going on. These people are doing stuff that I don’t understand and don’t know anything about and it’s almost like I ignore it.

Then when we see a sunset, people take their cameras out right away. Or if you see a beautiful woman walking down the street, you’d turn and look. It’s like I’m desensitized to the ugly, but beauty cannot be ignored. So, I’m inspired by beauty. Whatever is beautiful to me at that time; I try to use that. Not necessarily I’ll just draw things that I think are beautiful, but something that will remind me of something beautiful.

Jordan Cooper

The tools that you use for your illustration are really traditional right?

Yeah, I used to use a clicky pencil; I just got one so I wouldn’t have to sharpen it because it’s always sharp. I also use smudgers, or a blending stump is the proper term. I’ll keep pressing the graphite denser and denser and smudging it to get the right density and lighting. Lighting is everything; in every field, in photography, in film, in drawing.

Do you ever use digital tools like Illustrator or Photoshop? Why or why not?

Um no, because I don’t know how. I will get into that because I’m doing illustrations for my graphic novel. I was gonna do the graphics on Illustrator or something, so yeah, that’s a thing I need to learn.

Jordan Cooper

What are you working on next?

I’m working on a graphic novel. I’m not gonna say what it’s about because I think it’s such a good idea and I want to hold on to it. I will say that part of what inspired me for the story was the Scientology documentary, “Going Clear.” It’s a pretty new documentary and it revolves around a man who created his own religion and I find that really fascinating.

-Vanessa Tam

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