From the moment she picked up a paintbrush in Jamaica, Lucilda Dassardo-Cooper knew she would somehow make art a part of her life forever.
Lucilda Dassardo-Cooper is a visual artist living in Boston. Born and raised in Jamaica, she began painting at an early age. She has painted in various places including Egypt, India and around the United States. Recently, paintings from the Dassardo-Cooper series “Passing Time” were shown publicly in Boston. Dassardo-Cooper remains true to her unique style in an art world focused on modernism.
Dassardo-Cooper was young when she saw her brother doing watercolors for a school assignment and decided she wanted to paint too.
“I was quite fascinated by the fact that you could draw whole worlds on paper. So I bugged him until he finally let me paint,” Dassardo-Cooper said. “That was the beginning of my journey.”
After moving to the United States as a young man, Dassardo-Cooper sought an art education. By then she had already chosen a career.
“I came here in my senior year of high school from Jamaica. I always thought I would be an artist. I didn’t really know artists, I just knew that this was my life’s purpose,” Dassardo-Cooper said.
Around her, Dassardo-Cooper witnessed classmates choose the path of art that many others followed. Observing the culture of artists around her, she realizes that her interests are different from most.
“At the time I went to art school, there was a whole generation focused on modernism and contemporary art. It also had to do more with ideas about the art than the actual art,” Dassardo-Cooper said. “My big disappointment was that I didn’t learn the skills I expected to learn. In a larger sense, I feel like I’m self-taught because I had to go out and study and study and experiment and play with the artwork to achieve the effects I wanted.”
Dassardo-Cooper discovered his preferred art style, overlapping images, through experimentation.
“I continued to be fascinated by creating worlds on paper. Sometimes these worlds overlap, and before Photoshop it felt like there were different levels of being in my paintings. I would create art that looks like it’s photoshopped in one image on top of another,” she said.
Since the beginning of his career, Dassardo-Cooper has painted internationally, including in Egypt.
“[The paintings] were created with past images from the tombs and temples of Egypt. I took them and juxtaposed them with photos I took of Cairo street scenes, showing this overlapping of multidimensional time and space in a sense. That’s why they were called Transcending,” said Dassardo-Cooper.
Dassardo-Cooper’s time in India played a role in her series of paintings called Veiled Presence.
“Identity [of the subjects] it’s seen more as a dress, with no faces, just their backs,” Dassardo-Cooper said. “I really felt like I didn’t want to show faces because I wanted these women to be anonymous. Part of it was that when I lived in India, society was very gender-segregated at the time. Not so much now, but I really felt like the women, even though they’re anonymous, their clothing is very colorful and flamboyant,” Dassardo-Cooper said.
Dassardo-Cooper said that in one of her works, the image of the subjects’ hands came from her consciousness.
“The series of two paintings I just finished there were women, but you could see the different brush strokes and it looked like their hands. Their arms were up, but then they had multiple arms and then they looked more like waving palms,” Dassardo-Cooper said. “Some things become part of my consciousness. When I look at these paintings I realize that as a child in Jamaica I just loved to sit and watch the palm dance.
To this day, Dassardo-Cooper said she remains the artist she is by making paintings that are true to her style rather than the trends of other artists.
“I think the market is completely overrated to decide what is good art,” Dassardo-Cooper said. “And I really think that in order to be authentic in my work, I have to ignore the market and just focus on what I feel is authentic to me.”