William T Cooper Documentary

Bill-Cooper-DVD-small.pngDVD : Birdman, William T Cooper.

A 28 minute documentary following the development of Bill Cooper as an artist.

The DVD includes 9 additional video clips including tips on techniques and time-lapses of his paintings evolving.

This was shown on ABC Arts Arts in June, 2014, early 2015 and May 2015 and was their highest rating documentary for the Artscape slot that year.

 

Winner of the Gold Award at the Queensland Australian Cinematographers Society (ACS) for cinematography 2015

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This intimate documentary follows world-renowned wildlife artist, William T. Cooper (Bill) as he opens the doors of his studio inviting us in to share his techniques and processes as he begins to create 30 exquisite scientifically accurate works of art for his final exhibition.  Now in his 80th year, his enthusiasm for painting and learning has not wained.

Appreciated globally by art collectors, Bill has been described by Sir David Attenborough, as “Australia’s greatest living scientific painter of birds – possibly the best in the world.”

Richly filmed over two years at his studio in the tropical rainforest of Far North Queensland, the audience will come understand the evolution of the artist and his dedication to perfection.  Bill’s interest in birds began early in life, later he became a land and seascape painter, before returning to birds.  In his hometown of Newcastle, he accepted advice along the way from other great artists such as Sir William Dobell.  This intriguing documentary explores the development and techniques leading up to finished works as we watch with fascination as artworks evolve.  With a reputation for accuracy and a personal mantra that each new work must be better than his last, over the next 8 months he is under pressure to create his best pieces.

His previous exhibition sold out in seventy minutes, but he wonders if times have changed and will anybody come this year?  

It will be his last exhibition but he will continue to paint all day everyday.    There is still so much he wants to achieve and so little time. 

I received my DVD of William T Cooper this morning, and couldn't wait to watch it.
It was wonderful to see such a master at work, and to be allowed an insight into his working practice.  However, I also wanted to thank you for making such an enjoyable documentary.  I simply sat back and enjoyed.       Thank you, Christina



The Audience

Artists and would-be artists are not the only people who will be drawn to this documentary.  For anyone fascinated by the creative process or who appreciates artistic talent there is something captivating about watching a blank canvas evolve into a finished work that ends up on a gallery wall. 

Are these works they just copies of photos? Are they from life? How long does it take? How do you capture the Jizz of a bird?  Who is the person behind these works?  What does Bill think about as he considers each step? 

Natural history and bird lovers would also be attracted to the documentary as the paintings capture the viewer with a depth of detail one cannot see in the wild; it is like holding a bird in the hand and being able to study it.

The Following

William Cooper has a large following in Australia and an even larger following in Europe and America.   He was presented with the Academy of Natural Sciences Philadelphia USA gold medal for distinction for 'artistic endeavors and life's work which have contributed to mankind's better understanding and appreciation of living things'  He is the only Australian to ever receive it. 

William Cooper has also received the Order of Australia for his contribution to Art and Ornithology.

The Australia National Library and the Papua New Guinea Government have purchased entire collections of his work; he has even designed postage stamps for PNG and many of his books have had multiple runs from the publishers.

A biography by Penny Olsen has just been completed on his life.