Biography of internationally known Artist/Sculptor Slim Cook
James "Slim" Cook, is fast becoming the designer of choice for many of Long Island’s public art spaces. He is a unique blend of sophisticated technique and down-home roots. Growing up in the Route 66 car culture of Tulsa, Oklahoma, he drove off for an adventure in the downtown art scene of New York. (Think Francis Ford Coppola’s 60’s era “The Outsiders,” filmed around the block from Cook’s childhood home, meets the downtown artsy punk scene of the 80’s.)
As a lanky 12-year-old, Cook had his first paying job—air brushing designs on Harley gas tanks. During his spare time at Will Rogers High School, he custom built motorcycles and racecars. Before going to college, Slim worked at several industrial steel fabrication shops where he got his first taste of constructing huge objects out of metal. Unsatisfied with the limitations of industrial fabrication, he then left to study art at the University of Oklahoma. While majoring in metal smithing, he had the opportunity to study with a young, energetic instructor named Donald Lipski, who is now one of the world’s premier sculptors. Then Slim headed north, earning a Masters degree at Temple University's prestigious Tyler School of Art where the eminent professor Stanley Lechtzin, an icon of the metal-smithing world, described Slim’s work as “showing genius.”
Moving to New York from Philadelphia in 1980, Cook quickly became an influential part of the downtown punk/ new wave scene. He introduced the then radical idea of using unconventional materials like rubber, vinyl, silicon and bead-chain in jewelry and accessories, selling his wearable art in the avant-garde galleries and boutiques of the Lower East Side.
After relocating to a Long Island studio, Slim created a line of small, cast sculptures sold in galleries and private collections from New York to London to Tokyo. As the size of his pieces grew, so did his prominence in Long Island’s flourishing art community where he regularly exhibits his “larger than life” sculptures of metal and wood. His colossal figures capture the passion of exploration and discovery through the use of pose and gesture. Examples of his large-scale public sculptures can be seen at the North Shore Public Library in Shoreham, the Riverhead Free Library, Sachem Public Library and the Village of Greenport.