Local artist Larkin Cook grew up surrounded by creativity; three generations of it, to be specific.
From her great-grandmother, Larkin learned to embroider; from her mother, she learned to create elaborate costumes. While visiting her grandmother, Larkin and her grandmother would create art in their studio and take field trips to various art galleries and museums.
“Art was a part of my upbringing, but it did not seem like a possibility to pursue professionally even though that is all I wanted to do,” Larkin said.
Still, Larkin followed her dreams, attended UTC, and received a BFA in painting and drawing. She often uses mediums such as painting, sculpture, and performance for her work.
Larkin channels her personal experiences into her art. Her work often tackles themes such as gender, relationships, and sexuality.
“I hope that, through sharing my experiences in my work with femininity, that others can relate or gain a new perspective on what femininity can be,” Larkin said.
One work that captures this experience is “Pussy Pack,” a collection of seven paintings depicting her bonded community. In each painting, Larkin explores the need for friendships between women and having feminine spaces. This way Larkin “questions and breaks the rules that women are expected to follow.”
“My work embraces and disrupts femininity,” Larkin said. “The same painting or sculpture may be both grotesque and beautiful.”
As an artist, Larkin continues to explore and learn new skills. She recently attended a paper sculpture workshop at Penland School of Crafts and is currently working on a series of plush paintings made from sewn, stuffed canvas. According to Larkin, the series will function as “paintings as well as objects” and will “focus on the idea of group rituals and ritualistic objects.”