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Ghostly Experiences Captured on Paper: Rachel Cooper Art

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From the boogieman to the headless horseman, over the centuries good ole’ fashioned ghost stories can conjure both excitement and fear. Stories we tell generation after generation over campfires or at a sleepover with friends become part of who we are. Perhaps the stories may appeal to our emotions, our desires, and our imaginations. When a real-life scary experience inspired one artist to capture that moment and translate it to paper, we find ourselves intrigued. Meet Rachel Cooper. Rachel is a visual artist living in South Florida. Her spooky themed artwork is inspired by haunting experiences that happened when she was growing up and exploring the paranormal as an adult. 

When did you decide to pursue art and why?

Growing up, I always would draw and paint on my own. I started coloring with my grandma and Grandpa when I was little. It was always a way to relax and connect with them and destress. I would continue to do this while going through middle school and high school. I always knew I wanted to do something creative, so I continued drawing and painting mostly for myself. I then went into graphic design and started putting more artwork out in a public way. I enjoy working with pencils and getting my ideas out there on paper. That has always been very cathartic to me. 

What artists inspire you?

I have so many! Now with Instagram, it is easy to get so much inspiration all the time. I really love Audrey Kawasaki. Her artwork is beautiful and really aligns with my artwork. She creates dramatic portraits and murals. Her artwork is beautiful, interesting, and creepy all at the same time. I can definitely relate to it. She inspires me to draw and paint in this way while expressing my feelings and emotions. 

Tell us about your artistic process.

Most of my artwork is inspired by my personal experiences. Sometimes I find myself inspired by music that I relate to. I will envision ideas related to how this makes me feel and get it down on paper that way. One of my pieces is a portrait of a girl with a line that wraps down her neck. This was inspired by a paranormal investigation I attended at the Sorrel-Weed House in Savannah Georgia. I had an intense experience in Molly’s room. I was overcome by the feeling of being suffocated. I felt like I could not breathe. At the time I think I had picked up the energy of an entity in the room.  Around this time, I had just gone through a really hard break up and this feeling I felt physically was how I had been feeling with my life in general. It was such a strange connection that really inspired me. This was the first ghost hunt I had ever done. Despite being skeptical since it was a tour, I really believe we got some great evidence. 

Have you had any other paranormal experiences?

When I was growing up with in Connecticut our house was very active. My entire family had experiences. I remember always feeling afraid being there. The house was originally built in the 1800s. Inside the closets, there were hidden rooms. My family was told this was where slaves would be hidden during the time of the Underground Railroad. There is a possibility that people could have died hiding in those spaces. A lot of the activity was centered in these spaces. My room was connected to a back hallway that we never used. My dad’s room is also connected to this hallway as well. We would oftentimes hear footsteps walking up and down that hallway. 

I would also hear voices and feel a presence in my room which really scared me since I didn’t know what it was at the time. I did not feel alone. Recently I was talking to my dad and step mom and they told me about something that happened to me that I did not remember. They told me that I would push my toy chest up against the door along with all the toys in my room. When they came into the room in the morning and asked me why I had done this, I explained I didn’t want “them” to come in anymore. My sister also had similar experiences. As a family, we talk about it now and all of us agree it was definitely haunted. 

What are your favorite spooky themes to explore in your artwork?

My favorite things to draw are skeletons and bones. I also really love to draw human hearts which people find a little spooky. I usually create my work with graphite pencils. Sometimes I use watercolor, acrylic, and markers.

Do you have a favorite scary movie? 

I love the movie Scream even though it’s one of those cheesy scary movies. When I was growing up my friends and I would watch it repeatedly. The first movie is my favorite. More recently, I like The Conjuring movie because of how intense it is. It makes it even more creepy how it is based on real events. 

You recently launched an apparel line with your art. How is this going for you?

It has been going really well When I do pop up markets I usually sell a lot of t-shirts. One of the styles people love is the T-Rex skateboarding. I love seeing people wear something that I put a lot of work into. I love the idea that the apparel is something people can use.  I want to continue to grow by trying new designs and fabrics. 

What are your plans for the future?

I want to continue to do more shows and expand my apparel line. I really love being able to meet people at these events and talk face to face. I love to get their feedback. I have also been practicing new drawing styles and I am interested in tattoo designs. Eventually, I would like to become a tattoo artist. I have been doing some research into apprenticeships. I think that this would be a great way to grow with my art. I want to be a part of making people feel beautiful with artwork. 

Where can we find your artwork?  

Instagram: @RachelCooperArt

Website: RachelACooperArt.com

Upon discovering the beautiful artwork by Rachel Cooper several years ago, I always found myself completely enchanted. The dark and sometimes whimsical themes captured my attention time after time. Each piece telling a mysterious and spooky story. When I learned how Rachel’s experiences with the paranormal helped mold the fabric of her artwork, I needed to know more. I find it incredible that she was able to take a scary situation and find a way to not only cope and process the experience but rather to take that experience and make something positive from it. Whether you are looking to adorn your walls with a haunting image, or if you prefer a spooky shirt, you are going to love the artwork of Rachel Cooper. 

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