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ARTIST NAME: Cook, Denys
ACCESSION NUMBER: 0486.100.000003
DATE: 1972
CATEGORY: Painting
MEDIUM: watercolour
SUPPORT: paper
DIMENSIONS: Image: 34.2 x 49.4 cm (13 7/16 x 19 7/16 in.)
COLLECTION: Non-VAB Purchases, Donations

ARTIST BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH: Cyril Denys Cook, son of a World War I veteran, joined the Welsh Guard under age, at 17 years old. By age 19 he was promoted to Sergeant; at the outset of World War II, he was captured by the Germans and held as a prisoner for 5 years. After his release, he became a Police Sergeant and police college instructor in Herefordshire, Wales, and he married the woman who wrote him letters during the war. They emigrated to Canada in 1957 with their three children. Cook worked until 1974 as Director of Inspection Services with the Attorneys General’s Department, Government of Alberta. When he retired, he began to develop his professional artistic career. He went to the library, read books, and taught himself the mediums of British Scraperboard, India Ink, Watercolour, Oil, and Acrylic painting. British Scraperboard is an artistic medium also known as scratchboard, used to create detailed images similar to engraving. Cook scrapes into the top layer of black ink using dental implements to reveal the white porcelain below. In 1976, Cook was chosen by Nature Canada as one of 29 Canadian artists to have his series Raccoon Studies toured across all Provincial museums in Canada. In 1977, he was chosen as the Official Artist to the First Canadian Airbourne Regiment stationed in Edmonton, Alberta. Since then, his work has been commissioned by the Government of Alberta and the City of Edmonton, and presented to numerous officials including The Right Honourable John Diefenbaker, 13th Prime Minister of Canada. His work is also held in the collections of the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, the Alberta Legislative Building (Edmonton), Grant MacEwan College (Edmonton), and Selkirk Holdings Ltd. (Ottawa, ON). Cook has contributed substantially to provincial, national, and international arts and crafts development and promotion. He was a staunch Member of the Edmonton Art Club, the oldest continuing art organization in Alberta. Along with five other artisans, he co-founded the Arts and Crafts Society of Alberta, now called the Alberta Craft Council, and served as president for four years. Cook is an original founding member of the Canadian Craft Council, now called the Canadian Crafts Federation, for which he served as Vice President for the Western Region for five years. He was also a Member of the World Crafts Council, which works to promote fellowship amongst the craftspeople of North America and the Caribbean. Now a grandfather and a great grandfather, Cook refers to himself as “an old dinosaur” and continues making art daily from his home in Victoria, BC.

Freedom to Create. Spirit to Achieve. 

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