Intellectual Profile: Anna Cook

My name is Anna Cook. I’m a Studio Art Major and a TAM minor here at CU. I have dedication to the graphic arts in particular.I have enjoyed learning about religious culture, feminist literature and global culture as well as Japanese culture and history. I have a wide variety of interests here at CU, but I would say the concept of “critical thinking” applies to my focus best. Although I am not particularly skilled in science or math, I still enjoy theoretical concepts discussed in those realms.

One exhibition I found particularly impressive was one I saw at the Minneapolis Institute of Art. The series was called “Facing the Lens: Portraits of Photographers,” featuring artists like Andy Warhol, Robert Mapplethorpe, and Walker Evans. This exhibit explores the nature of photographers under their own lenses, while others embrace it, others are shy of it. It struck me as a contemporary idea, with the rise of photography as art in the past 50 years and even the past decade in particular, this exhibit impressed upon me.

A book I read recently was Persepolis. I read it for my Women’s Studies class last semester, but I was fascinated by Satrapi’s ability to give her readers a view into life of herself as an Iranian girl in the age of the revolution. The use of comics to indicate something so serious, and yet so heart-filled intrigued me as an artist and as a cartoonist. My beginning style of art was also cartoon-based, and so to me, that book maintained a childish style while still emphasizing the seriousness of war, death, and equality.

Besides art, I like to do many things during my free time. To me, each of the things I do is sort of an art form. Perhaps one of the most thrilling would be riding my ninja250. Riding a motorcycle is a skill that has to be developed over a long span of time. This art is a matter of life or death, because if you are not careful some lady on a cell phone not paying attention can easily pummel you. It isn’t as simple as watching other cars around you though, it is important to watch your balance, your turning, your speed, your control. To me, it’s like painting, only slightly more dangerous. My other hobbies include tennis, hiking, and writing.

I don’t check too many blog regularly, but these are the ones I do…

The first is a series of photos and poems taken by one man. The second is a series of letters with secrets on them sent in for others to read.

One event that left an impact on me was when I went to the North American Bear Center in Minnesota. One of their videos told us about a man who spent much of his life with bears, trying to learn about them and become closer to them. To be honest, this left a negative impact on me because of how he treated bears. People have this tendency to believe that they can stop wild animals from hurting them if they spend enough time with them, or if they feed them enough. The rise in domestic homes having large animals has been rising. When people see a so called “well educated” man feeding a mother bear berries while petting her cubs, they will be under the impression that it is safe to treat wild animals that way, when in reality, a wild animal could change it’s mind about you at any time; hence, the term WILD animal.

I recently read an article about called Japanese Struggle to Protect Their Food Supply in the New York Times online source. I’ve always been particularly interested in Japanese culture, history, art, and news and reading this article. After the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, food safety has been questioned due to radiation from the plant. Japanese authorities have not been doing well in informing citizens how much the food is radiated or in testing the food to see if it is safe. Because of this, many citizens have been taking it upon themselves to test food and buy it from safer places. It was a compelling article because the people of Japanese are rising to challenge the government for their own safety, and aren’t afraid to say what they thing. I think it is honorable.

It’s hard to say one specific thought that has widened my intellectual horizon. I think most recently and effectively, the anti-abortion protests at CU were particularly significant in my mind. This is from last fall, 2011, and the graphic images displayed at that protest were in my opinion, horrific and unnecessary. I spent a lot of time protesting and discussing with others their opinions on the matter, I learned a lot from the anti-abortion perspective that actually reaffirmed my own beliefs of being pro-choice. In the end, I think the opinion has to be based off of your opinion of when a “human” is created, and what it means to keep a child or abort. I felt that the images and arguments used on the posters were unnecessary, but I was happy that many people from opposing sides had an open mind to at least discuss. Willingness to discuss is the first step to democracy.

When I went to the DAM for my Intro Art History course, I found one piece that I found compelling based off of what I was learning at the time. It is a plaster sculpture of Atlas holding up some art history books and standing others. The ones he is holding are Westernized books of art, while the ones he stands on are from places like Africa, Asia, and many other “non-Western” places. The piece is contemporary, made by Fred Wilson. It was interesting to me because I think that Art History is very Western focused, and even professors today cannot help but focus on Western works. I am thankful that our classes today aren’t completely singular, but many could still use improvement.


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