Meet Tony Cook!
“I was born in England and worked as a newspaper reporter before serving in the Royal Artillery for my national service. I wanted to go to Korea with my unit – I mean, free travel and all – but wiser heads prevailed and I was given a War Office job testing new recruits. I emigrated to Canada in 1956 and entered the photographic business, intending to make a career out of my hobby. Surprisingly, I spent the following 40 years in the photographic and audiovisual industry in various senior marketing positions. Eventually tiring of the corporate environment, and foolishly forgoing the satisfaction of a regular paycheque, I started my own digital imaging and creative production house in Toronto, where I still live. I am married with three lovely daughters and three grandchildren.
Over the years, I’ve enjoyed working in various art forms, in addition to photography and computer graphics. In the late 1970s, I expanded a childhood love of scratching initials on school desks and assorted trees, and began wood carving. I joined the Ontario Wood Carvers Association (OWCA), studied with famed carving teachers Joe Dampf, Benoit Deschenes and Wayne Barton, and somehow developed my own style of interpretive carving. I probably wasn’t paying attention. I was President of the OWCA during the 1980s, and edited their newsletter and website for several years. I showed my carvings in OWCA competitions and at the Canadian National Exhibition, and was completely ignored by the jurors.
I studied drawing at the Art Gallery of Ontario in 2004 and subsequently took up watercolour painting. Being a Brit, I figured this was the proper medium for me. I credit teacher Ruth Hayes with giving me assurance that I could handle this medium and Barry Coombs for introducing me to the finer points of brush handling, design and simplification. I have tried to pay attention. I have enjoyed workshops with Art Cunanan, Hi-Sook Barker, Doug Mays and Marc Gagnon, each of whom has been very patient.
More recently, I have begun to work with Acrylics, studying with Lila Lewis Irving and DiDi Gadjanski.
I am very fortunate to have discovered a friendly and supportive environment within the art clubs that have accepted me as a member.”
Below is an example of Tony’s work – “A Winter Walk”. For more about Tony Cook, please visit his website.