Kerry Cook started cutting paper silhouettes when she was 10 years old. Her mom was a portrait artist.
‘At that time she was doing a lot of art fairs and county fairs,’ Cook said. ‘And I think I was probably having a little too much fun and my dad said we gotta find a way to keep this kid busy.’
Soon, she was Mom's competition.
‘I would get this huge line, and then it would block people from seeing her work,’ Cook said. ‘The rule was that I didn't get to cut silhouettes until she had a sign up list going.’
Now, she wows people with her speed -- she only takes three to five minutes – but more importantly, her accuracy.
Cook thinks she's one of fewer than 10 true silhouette masters in the country.
‘Most of the people now calling themselves silhouette artists are actually doing a formula cut developed for use in theme parks,’ Cook said. ‘And that is not about specific detail and specific likeness.’
She uses special scissors to carve impossible details like eyelashes, a lip ring, a beard, feathers or a woman in costume. Cook tries to capture her subject's soul, even if they're sometimes not exactly willing.
‘The biggest challenge is when there is a child who doesn't want to sit,’ she said.
But when she succeeds, it's magic, as one mom found out.
‘Her first reaction was, ‘Oh isn't that sweet? It's a picture of a child,’’ Cook said. ‘And then she looked again and said, ‘Wait a minute, that's my child.’’
For Cook, meaningful art is all about the details.
‘I really want people to be able to see their kids, to see their loved ones in the silhouette,’ she said.
To see more of cook's art, visit her website.