NHS Artist in Residence, Cooper Diers at Sheboygan North High School

Artist & North High alumnus, Cooper Diers ends his semester long residency at Sheboygan North High School in a couple of weeks. As part of our exit interview process we’ve spent a few minutes with him to see how his experience was this spring semester. We’ll miss ya!!!


About Cooper

My name is Cooper. I was brought into existence by two people (like most of us), who both possess considerable imaginations. My father creates through carpentry, specializing in cabinetry, and is an exceptional chef, while my mother designs works in several mediums of visual art. Both have had an interest, appreciation, and intrinsic ability in a number of creative fields from early on and I would like to consider myself fortunate enough to have been predisposed to a lot of creativity, relying on it as a constant throughout my life. Though the approach to my work is predominantly self-taught, the influence and encouragement of several teachers during my academic career has helped the continuation of my work from a practical perspective. Music and sound are the deepest source of affect on my psyche.

About the Sheboygan North High School Art Department

The mission of the Sheboygan North High Art Department is to create a safe and nurturing learning environment that will stimulate risk-taking, originality, and collaboration through the use of 21st Century skills in both communication and a rigorous studio practice. 

Sheboygan North High Choir graphic notation (music)

For the past few months, NHS AiR artist Cooper Diers worked with several staff and students. It was great to see Cooper connect through music & art. 

Below are the performances of the graphic score for the Vocal Spring Recital (including a backstage clip of the students working through the piece before taking it to the stage). People attending the concert were encouraged to come up to a table with the paper and markers and draw, write, make a symbol or mark and it would be performed as music later in the evening. The audience and the performing students seemed to equally enjoy the experience and it was a real treat for me to be a part of the creation of it.

Videos courtesy of Cooper Diers. 

Prototyping with Clay. What if?

The Advanced 3D Design were assigned to create a product that they felt could improve their teenage lives. Students had to write the purpose of such product, create sketches, and discuss functionality. Below are some examples of what they came up with. 


Introducing the Portable Powered Outlet

My product I did is a solar and LED powered outlet. On the top it takes in solar energy and it also takes in LED lighting. In the front it has two outlets you can plug into, it also has a place where you can see how full it is. On the back it has a concave part, that’s for hanging it on things. On the lower part of the back it has buttons where you can turn on/use the LED or solar energy, there’s also an off button where you can shut off the energy for whole thing. On one of the sides it has a place where you can store small things.


Introducing the Panhou Planter

A small pot planter that also functions as a storage unit.  A drainage hole is integrated to the bottom of the pot so as to not stress the plant out with too much water. The top drawer functions as a large unit of storage for larger items that may fit in the palm of a child’s hand. The bottom drawer consists of two shallower, half units. These two compartments may be used to store seeds that are frequently lost. Each drawer has attached onto it magenta and pink colored leaves to be used as handles for opening and closing.
The product is a light gray color, but hints of lilac purple show when looked at the right way. The top of the product is designed with organic flower and vine shapes. Along the outer walls of the product are indented designs that relate to plants and gardening.

Introducing Maddie’s Marvelous Mug

Maddie’s Marvelous Mug is the name of my invention. I created this mug to save people time so they can do more important things instead of making their favorite drink hot or cold. When you’re at work wouldn’t it be nice to have a cup of coffee that stayed warm all day? After a long run wouldn’t it be nice for your water or chocolate milk to stay cold for a long time? With my mug that is exactly what happens. 
Pick up the warm colored side pointing up and your drink is automatically warm! If you pick up the opposite side with cool colors pointing down, your drink will automatically be cold! My product will save you time and energy. 

Artist Reception for AiR Cooper Diers at Sheboygan North High

AiR Statement

The work created during this residency has been an extension of a few distinct series within my oeuvre. This would include the Eggs of Ancient Birds and the Line Segment series. Both utilize a restricted approach (in materials and methodology) and the basic elements of each series is the same: composition, balance, gesture, movement, contour, texture, contrast, and color. Conceptually, the work draws heavily from my interest in music and sound. A considerable amount of my listening is devoted to homogenized instrumental ensembles, specifically for wind instruments. I attribute my initial experience with hearing a saxophone quartet recording as the spark for a creative philosophy built on expansion through limitation.

I like to consider the parallels of some of my musical activity with that of my visual. Autonomous and indeterminate methods for using ink is connected to some of my improvisational tactics as a musician and the unanticipated events of playing with others, while the line series feels connected to the linear activity of playing alone and with monophonic instruments (such as clarinets and saxophones). Whether it is sonic or optic, the content is dependent on the environment and space and the two interact and exchange information that influences moment-to-moment events. This idea relates to my experience interacting within the scholastic setting and having that exchange with faculty and students, observing how my work was effected and how my involvement affected them.

What could not be displayed was the project with some of the choir students, which furthered my audio/visual hybridization by having them create graphic scores to interpret as music. As of this writing, the piece has not been performed, but will be at the Spring Recital.


About Cooper

My name is Cooper. I was brought into existence by two people (like most of us), who both possess considerable imaginations. My father creates through carpentry, specializing in cabinetry, and is an exceptional chef, while my mother designs works in several mediums of visual art. Both have had an interest, appreciation, and intrinsic ability in a number of creative fields from early on and I would like to consider myself fortunate enough to have been predisposed to a lot of creativity, relying on it as a constant throughout my life. Though the approach to my work is predominantly self-taught, the influence and encouragement of several teachers during my academic career has helped the continuation of my work from a practical perspective. Music and sound are the deepest source of affect on my psyche.

Artist Melanie Ariens visits Sheboygan North High Art Department

image courtesy of the artist

Melanie Ariens is a multi media artist with a passion for the Great Lakes and freshwater issues.  Her work is her advocacy, communicating about and celebrating our shared water resources.  As Artist-in-Residence for Milwaukee Water Commons,  she plans and facilitates creative, water inspired art experiences for local water leaders and community groups believing art has the power to inspire and engage the community in social and environmental issues.

Melanie received her Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 1992, specializing in painting, drawing and printmaking, but has always enjoyed mixing it up, collaborating and experimenting, allowing the concept determine the media.

Why JustLoveNOH8?

Since childhood, I have always found hate strong and scary, and have felt downright terrified if I ever felt close to feeling it. Many years back, when I was fearful I was feeling true hatred, my father said that when we feel that way, we needed to recognize that we were in a place that required more compassion. Nothing productive comes from a place of hate and no healing can happen unless there is civil discourse and an effort to understand each other. This might sound funny, but a few years after that incident, I don’t know where he found them, but he gave me some No Hate running socks – just the word HATE on the cuff with that red circle with the slash through it. I still have those socks and my teenage daughter has swiped them from me, but I am glad that message is still running around my house.

I was exhausted and distressed after 2016 campaigning season and election, and still am, and you may be, too. My way of dealing with this has been to design this iconic image and promote the very basic, but often difficult, idea of not hating. Others have promoted NOH8 in the LGBTQ community and beyond. I had a deep desire to contribute to that effort and expand on it to an even broader concept of inclusion and love, for Immigrants, Blacks, Veterans, Disabled, Women, and any other group that feels marginalized, including people that don’t think like me.  

This has been a rich and healing endeavor, with friends joining me in the studio to print, people taking the posters to marches, hanging them in their windows, and gifting them to friends. I have been generous with the design and have allowed other organizations to print the design to spread this positive message in their community. At this point, I estimate 2000+ posters have been printed. I hope this story along with these prints & stickers, is healing for you, too! And if you have read this far, I am so deeply appreciative of your time and attention in thinking about this with me. Join me in the NOH8 community.

 

Gallery