Electrophysiology lab floor technician Richard Cooper has busy days at Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center in Camden.
But he’s done much more for the establishment than clean the labs.
Ever since he was a child, Cooper has been cultivating his talents as an artist. He is completely self-taught. His learning began with watching painting shows on TV and today, his art is a full-fledged hobby that, one day, might just become his career.
“I think about that sometimes,” he said when asked if he thought he’d ever be a full-time artist. “It could happen in the future.”
Cooper’s gift became evident to the hospital when he overheard Ben Parekkadan, the pacemaker representative at Lourdes, talking about the painting from “Good Will Hunting.”
Cooper offered to paint a replica of the piece from the movie. Parekkadan was so impressed with the 2-by-4-foot replica painting that he brought it to the attention of Lourdes Health System President and CEO, Alexander J. Hatala.
Now several of Cooper’s works hang on the walls of the Environmental Services office.
Cooper works with acrylics and canvas to create landscapes, contemporary paintings and still life pieces. He has also created landscapes on circular pieces of plywood covered with fabric.
Despite his time-consuming job at the medical center, Cooper does his best to make time for his artwork.
“When I get a spare minute I get into it,” he said. “Yesterday, it took me a while before I got started ... I was just looking at the canvas. Once I got started I just got right into it.”
His colorful contemporary pieces and detailed landscapes are not planned ahead of time. Rather, each work is a matter of seeing where the canvas takes him.
“It happens as I go along ... I just do what comes to me,” he said.
Cooper’s passion is evident in each piece, a dynamic collection of which is proudly displayed online at www.artwanted.com/rcooper. So far, the website and the halls of Our Lady of Lourdes are the only places to see Cooper’s work. But he is steadfastly looking toward the day when that will change.
“I’m looking for more recognition,” Cooper said. “My goal is to have a gallery.”