Profound Professors: Mr. Steve Cook

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"I promise I'm not making any of this up" is Steve Cook's catch phrase. This semester, I've had the honor of finally having Mr. Cook for a class, Drawing III, and I have already heard that sentence uttered dozens of times. That's because Mr. Cook, a professor in the Art Department, is full of wildly interesting and unbelievable stories that fascinate his students. An instructor in printmaking, drawing, aesthetics, and painting here at MC, Mr. Cook has led an adventurous life, impacting many. 

                                                                     Photo Courtesy of Mississippi College

                                                                     Photo Courtesy of Mississippi College

His Education

Mr. Cook has been tied to MC since 1967 when his mother became the house mother of Jennings Hall, which was a girls' residence hall. He went on to receive his undergraduate degree from MC and his MFA from Ole Miss. Finally, he studied printmaking at the Royal College of Art in London, England. However, before his formal education, Mr. Cook studied under Mississippi artist, Marie Hull.

She was a wonderful teacher. That was the first time I had been around artists and seen real art being made and the things that separate art from delineation and ‘isn’t this pretty’ objects.
— Steve Cook

After his time with Hull, Mr. Cook began to truly pursue a career in the arts, and after returning from London, he opened a studio in Olde Towne Clinton. However, the studio was not enough to support him, and Mr. Cook applied for and was offered a teaching position at Mississippi College.

                                                                 Photo Courtesy of Mississippi College

                                                                 Photo Courtesy of Mississippi College

His Teaching 

Mr. Cook's passion for teaching is extremely evident in his classes. Mr. Cook wants to teach his students to be true artists and "rational, educated people."

I enjoy sharing information with people, and it goes along with what I believe is at the essence of Christianity, which is to make other people better. Everyone that I meet and everyone that I teach, I want them to be better for having met me or encountered me.
— Steve Cook
                                                                   Photo Courtesy of Mississippi College

                                                                   Photo Courtesy of Mississippi College

His Achievements and Activities

In addition to teaching classes here at MC, Mr. Cook is involved with the Publications Council and is the Art Supervisor for The Arrowhead, which is MC's arts publication. Also, he has been named Mississippi College's Distinguished Professor of the Year and is listed in Who's Who in American Art.

                                                             Photo Courtesy of Mississippi College

                                                             Photo Courtesy of Mississippi College

His Advice

To integrate. Many students now—I think it’s the influence of the computer and the way we get information—it’s like a set of toy blocks. Each little block is one piece, and people at the end of the day count out their blocks. Trying to say what are you going to do with them, how do they fit together, what is my idea of life, art, whatever. How has that entire idea been affected by those parts, those parts becoming the whole—what I’ve always called being an educated person. You have to work hard at the individual bits, but if you don’t let them come together as a whole being, you’re missing something.
— Steve Cook

His Hobbies

In addition to being a wonderful artist, Mr. Cook collects antique cameras and plays over a dozen instruments, including the bagpipes. He is one of about thirty bagpipers in Mississippi, and he considers it to be a ministry. Mr. Cook says that he "didn't know how much they [the bagpipes] meant to people."

                                                          Photo Courtesy of Mississippi College

                                                          Photo Courtesy of Mississippi College

A man of many talents, Mr. Cook inspires his students. He teaches them about Christ, passion, and creativity, and despite his many accolades, he doesn't focus on himself. Mississippi College is extremely lucky to have a professor as profound as Steve Cook.

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