A little bit about me- I am a full-time Rochester Artist and the founder of local art magazine Art House Press. My swanky portraits of the bourgeois lifestyle hang in restaurants, galleries and bars across this city and beyond. I used to lug bags around for hours and hours as a skycap. I could see all these people getting on planes and flying off to other places, and I remember thinking that one day I’ll be the one taking the plane and flying off somewhere. That’s when I knew I had to make a something happen. I knew I was meant to make art, it was just a matter of doing it! Ten years later I continue to do what I love. As stated by one of Art House Press’s amazing writers Pam Emigh Murphy, “Cordell’s women, at once beautiful and shocking, reveal a campaign against the standardization of beauty given to us by the ancient Greeks. Cordell is a modernist. Stylistically he is a decorative and thematically expressionist artist. His women (and men) self-sufficiently and unself-consciously inhabit a world of their own—an unconscious striving that motivates many of us—but their exaggerated and sometimes distorted depiction ruptures our classical notions of beauty. Beneath their elegant, civilized veneer, you will find that his subjects, whether male or female, deliberately display their interior longings, their idiosyncrasies that would otherwise be squashed by social decorum. They teach us that people can’t be viewed only in terms of idyllic outward appearances.”
Where do you find inspiration? When I see a blank canvas, I think to myself ‘ok, let’s do this.’ The abstract meanings that are inside come out on the canvas, the inner emotion, the passion for life, it all comes out on the canvas. Making a living as an artist also inspires me. We have this weird structure where the gallery owners are making money by hustling out the artists. Big-name galleries control the art market by endorsing selected artists. It’s a weird game. Yet, entrepreneurs, young and old, all over Rochester are opening their own independent business instead of signing up with the big companies. If artists took the same individual approach, they could compete with the galleries. When you go the gallery route, you’re giving someone else the reigns to your career. It’s empowering taking control of your life.
What is your process? My work includes paintings, ink drawings, and combinations of the two. What interests me is to create beautiful art. It takes patience and endurance, mastering my craft and daily jumping into the unknown. It’s this commitment that makes astonishing things happen. As famed poet-philosopher Johann Goethe counsels, “Boldness has genius, magic, and power in it. Whatever you can do or dream you can do, begin it. Begin it now.”
What are challenges you run into? The challenge is finding out who we really are and becoming that person and committing ourselves to the journey.