Bad Cop, Rad Artist
Southern California painter-punk rocker Jennie Cotterill shapes pieces into colorful, otherworldly subject matter
Jennie Cotterill and Aaron Brown's exhibit displays 6-10 p.m. Feb. 21, CoRK East Gallery, Riverside, facebook.com/Corkartsdistrict
Jolly singing robots playing instruments, a sloth hanging from clock hands while holding three scoops of ice cream, a fish in boxers enjoying a lazy
day of pipe-smoking — these are just a few of the characters in Jennie Cotterill's world.
Originally from the Midwest, Cotterill is a Southern California-based painter and a member of the four-piece lady punk band Bad Cop/Bad Cop. She also works full time as the community outreach artist coordinator for Hurley. When she's not creating art for the skate- and surf-inspired clothing and gear company, she's creating art for herself. That's the motivation for Cotterill's recent trip to Jacksonville.
"This is exactly what I've been looking for," Cotterill says of her artist-in-residence gig at the CoRK Arts District. "This is the golden apple of art-making. I'm really excited to not do anything but make art for two weeks."
The program works like this: CoRK gives artists a stipend for travel and living expenses, and then at the end of their two weeks, they use the gallery space to show off the fruits of their labors. Cotterill's exhibition is held Feb. 21.
A year ago, Hurley asked Cotterill to attend a surfing contest in Cocoa Beach. The surfing wasn't top-notch, Cotterill says, but she made some lasting connections — including Jacksonville artists Shaun Thurston and Crystal Floyd, event coordinator for CoRK. She kept in touch, and from those relationships came an invitation from CoRK. Cotterill, in turn, asked that her boyfriend, sculptor Aaron Brown, come along.
"We don't know exactly what we'll be doing while we're there," Cotterill told me before she arrived here earlier this month. "But we're hoping to do an installation and some smaller pieces that people can take home. I'm trying not to ask too many questions and just harmonize the concept when we get there."
"I invited Jennie and Aaron because I admire their work and level of execution and thought it would make an interesting contribution to the art community here in Jacksonville," Floyd says. "Jennie is a powerhouse and can do pretty much anything she desires, and well at that, so I am excited to see what she whips up."
Cotterill draws inspiration from swap meets, cartoons and astrophysics — an unusual trio that results in colorful and otherworldly subject matter. She creates paintings and illustrations in a variety of forms — wall murals, fine art on canvas and 3-D pieces on everything from handsaws to skateboard decks.
While much of Cotterill's art utilizes bright colors and mystical characters, Brown's work is very much rooted on Earth. His medium of choice is clay, which he uses to create plant-like head sculptures: An old man's face protrudes delicately from a large orange-and-white-spotted mushroom; succulents and leafy beings take on their own personas.
When she's not painting or working for Hurley, Cotterill plays in what she calls a "lady band instead of a girl band, because we're old — we're all over 30." Punk rock is usually a young man's (or woman's) game, but Bad Cop/Bad Cop is nonetheless making waves.
Fat Wreck Chords, an independent punk label headed by Fat Mike of NOFX, recently added the group to its roster. Bad Cop/Bad Cop, currently putting together a European tour, will release a 7-inch this spring.