Art teacher Paula Cook


Photo by Ashley Tyson

Story by Cailey Roberson, staff writer

Q. How are you liking Texas High? What’s your favorite thing about it?

A. I’m liking Texas High. I subbed here the past couple of years and really enjoy seeing my same students every day and finding out how creative they are. We have some very talented students, and I love seeing what they are coming up with.

Q. Where did you go to school?

A. I went to school in Tennessee for high school, and actually in England for a year when I was 16. College was spent in Portland, Maine, Chattanooga, Tenn., Riverside, Calif., and graduated at [the University of Tennessee at] Knoxville.

Q. What are some of your past jobs?

A. Most of my adult life since graduating with a B.F.A. in ceramics and sculpture has been as a self-employed artist. Traveling to arts and crafts shows and selling in galleries is interesting work, and I still have a couple of galleries and plan for some shows this December.

Q. Do you have any kids?

A. I have one son, and he’s in sixth grade.

Q. Favorite media to use? Why?

A. Clay is my favorite. I had my first pottery class when I was 10 in a community art center in Nashville and fell in love. I gave it up for a few years and painted on canvas but always have to get my hands back in it. It’s a wonderful medium for being able to do lots of different processes, so you never get bored. One day you can sculpt, the next glaze, wedge clay when you need ideas, etc. Can you tell I’m excited about it? I’ll work in clay when I get home from school today.

Q. Favorite piece? Artist?

A. I like Anthony Bourdain’s “Parts Unknown,” and I love to see travel shows to unusual places. My favorite artists change as I grow older. I used to love the Pre-Raphaelites when I was a teen, romantic art with poetic themes. Then the German Expressionists, Otto Dix, Kirchner. Edvard Munch, Edward Hopper, Paul Klee, and Jean-Michel Basquiat are always favorites as well.

Q. Were you into art when you were younger?

A. My dad is an artist, and we didn’t have TV when I was young, so my sis and I drew a lot.

Q. Do you have any funny stories about being in art, if you took it, from when you were in school?

A. I can’t think of anything funny about having art in school; I don’t think I had classes in art in my schools in high school. In college, it was a lot of fun being with like-minded friends, seeing what everyone was creating and having that time to create and discover new artists. That’s not really a funny story, though. Sorry.

Q. And lastly, what’s your favorite color of socks to wear?

A. Favorite socks? Whichever ones I can find that match in the morning.