Dawn Cooper

I am an Indy native, raised in the shadow of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the 80s. I’ve had a love of language my entire life, so growing up I always wanted to be a writer.

I fell into a legal assistant job when I was only 17 years old. The writing bug persisted so when I eventually enrolled in IU’s journalism program I thought I was going to be a journalist when I grew up. Then I found out how much it paid so I decided to stay in the legal field. Life got in the way and I never completed my degree. What education I did get under my belt made being a paralegal the perfect fit for my left brain tendencies and that’s what I’ve been doing for the past 30 years. I have relied on my left brain to get through the whole adulting thing — marriage, raising kids, owning a business, getting divorced, raising teenagers, single mom home maintenance crash courses, etc. And frankly let me just say, NONE of the crap of adulting was in the brochures!

As a teenager, my step-dad, who had been an art major at Ball State, introduced me to the art world. I’m not sure I really appreciated it that much until I was out on my own and my parents and I were looking for excuses to hang out. We visited a lot of museums and I learned a lot about art history from him. I remember being amazed by the Impressionists.

Starting in 2013, a series of really super unfun adulting situations hit me all at once and kept hitting for a couple of years. My left brain was overwhelmed. I took my mom to a wine and canvas class and my right brain exploded that night! I never tried painting before and a bug was certainly caught! I started hoarding art supplies with every spare dollar and really haven’t stopped since. After about a year of escaping to my happy place and developing my own style, I met Melissa Cain (former FC9 artist). She needed instructors for her art business and hired me to teach paint parties. I absolutely loved it!!

Those challenging years showed me that painting could be an escape from the ick that I was dealing with and therapy to get me through it all. I’m never unhappy while I’m painting and it gives my left brain a break from reality. So I continue to develop as an artist and I never tire of learning new things. I teach classes when I can get the work because I love sharing the therapeutic benefits of painting and love to watch my students WOW themselves!

My dream is to buy a commercial building or a big ole house by the time I am ready to retire permanently from the left-brain world and start my own collaborative studio/makers-space so I can live art the rest of my days and be House Mom to the next generation of inspired creators!