Jeff Cochran

Biography

 

He began thinking about monkeys or chimpanzees and read books about Jane Goodall. He fixated on her life in the wild and thought about the similarities between Man and Monkey. Then he painted his first works of Chimpanzees in a portrait style... depicting them playing chess and doing other human like activities. Then he sent one to Jane Goodall as a contribution to a fundraising event for her. Goodall loved the painting so much that she asked if she could buy it herself. Afterwards, Jeff and Goodall met and he gave her a second piece for her charity.

In 1994 Jeff began showing his first paintings in Scottsdale Arizona and later moved to Phoenix. He continued to work as an illustrator and found a second job as apprentice to metal sculptor, Jeff Oesterle. But it was not until 1999, that he began to find the direction his painting would take. He moved to Taos, New Mexico, and studied with Sherrie McGraw who encouraged him to take his drawing and rendering skills (from illustration work) to the next level...using them to "paint with the paint" and to abandon "drawing with the paint." The work that came from these lessons freed him to experiment with landscape painting and he began to find his direction and focus. He bought a farm just outside Taos where he still lives today. He says, When I look at The different colors of plants, soil and mulch contrasting with the furrows and beds, I see a giant land sculpture or a three dimensional painting."

When asked if he studies the masters, Cochran's says that he likes the work of Corot, and other French painters but comments that America's Hudson River School landscapes are among his favorites. When looking at the glowing skies of his paintings, we are reminded of the Luminists (especially Blakelock and Martin Heade) who emerged at the end of the Hudson River School movement. Jeff recalls a road trip at 17, to New York City with high school friends, that greatly impacted his life. After arriving, he separated from the group and spent his time in the museums and galleries where he studied paintings for hours on end. He credits this experience with deepening his artistic commitment and helping to define his direction. Today, his work appears in important private and corporate collections nationwide and collectors have learned that they must show up early to a Jeff Cochran solo exhibit in order to buy a painting!

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