Born in 1983 in St. Louis, MO, Nicole Cooper began drawing at an early age. She studied at The Kansas City Art Institute, where she found a passion for painting the human figure. During the summer of 2006, she completed a competitive Summer Residency Program with Yale University in Norfolk, CT. Nicole then moved back to her hometown after graduating with a Bachelor's Degree in Painting from KCAI in 2007.
To enhance her practice, she continually seeks further education through workshops by well-known artists succeeding in figurative painting. In 2014, Cooper was selected to participate in a Painting Weekend Master Class taught by Vincent Desiderio at the New York Academy. 2018 found her drawn to work with Julie Heffernan in conjunction with Heffernan's "When the Water Rises" exhibition in Virginia Beach, VA. Most recently, she worked with Victor Wang in St. Louis, MO.
Cooper’s work was awarded Best in Show at MySLArt’s 33 March 2018 exhibition. In support of her studio and artistic practice, she was awarded an Artist Support Grant in 2017 from the Regional Arts Commission.
Cooper is best known for her “Body in Bloom” paintings that use energetic brushwork, vivid colors, and layers of unfurling flesh to explore humanity as a continuously evolving force.
This painterly investigation of the human figure currently takes place in her St. Louis studio. Her work has been shown locally at the William and Florence Schmidt Art Center in Belleville, IL, Art St. Louis, St. Louis Artists Guild, Clayton Fine Art Gallery, MySLArt, Knox Gallery of Fine Art, Chesterfield City Hall gallery, and with The Contemporary Art Museum during their annual Open Studios STL event. Nationally, she’s shown with Verum Ultimum Gallery (Portland, OR) and Hilliard Gallery (Kansas City, MO).
When not in her studio, Cooper can be found frequenting museums and galleries, reading Scientific American or other books on topics ranging from microbiology to evolutionary history, inspiring students through artist talks, drawing from the live model, or writing an article for a local publication.