Charles Cooper with his arms crossed in a red and blue striped shirt with a black vest over it and standing in front of a white background

Painting (BFA in Fine Arts)

Charles Cooper is an assistant professor in the Fine Arts/Painting program. He has been at the university since 1997, teaching primarily a variety of first-year studio courses including drawing, painting, two-dimensional design and color study courses. He has also taught in the Professional and Continuing Education (now Graduate and Professional Studies) program. Before coming to UArts, Cooper taught at Moore College of Art and Design, Philadelphia, and Mercer County Community College, West Windsor, New Jersey.


Originally from Brooklyn, New York, Charles Cooper is a visual artist and art educator who now lives in central New Jersey with his family. After a six-year stint in the Marine Corps, he attended University of the Arts, where he earned his BFA in Illustration in 1988. Later, after working as a graphic designer for eight years, he attended the Yale University Graduate School of Art in New Haven, Connecticut, where he received his MFA in Painting and Printmaking in 1995.

Cooper is a multidisciplinary artist working in painting, drawing, printmaking, collage, animation and poetry. His work is about interiority, intimacy and vulnerability. It explores trauma, loss, alienation and identity through personal rituals and myth-making. He weaves together observations, memories and dreams into open-ended, multilayered narratives that are often semi-autobiographical and metaphorical.


Cooper has exhibited his work nationally in various galleries and museums. His work is in various private and public collections, including the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts in Wilmington and the Newark Museum of Art in New Jersey. He has also self-published a book of poetry and drawings. 

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Awards & Accolades

Cooper has been recognized with multiple honors. 

  • Two Purchase Awards, Perkins Center for the Arts, Work of Distinction Award

  • Faculty Enrichment Grant, University of the Arts

  • Venture Fund Grant, University of the Arts

Ultimately, my teaching should instill in the student the value of experimentation, disciplined practice, creative thinking, thoughtful inquiry and diversity of thought in their studio practice. My goal, no matter how specific the instruction, is to equip students with the means to find their own appropriate visual forms for their individual artistic visions and ideas.

A painting of the shoulders and head of a man sitting in front of a window with an African statue over his shoulder
Charles Cooper, “Portrait with Cloud”
A pencil drawing of various people standing and laying in an outdoor landscape
Charles Cooper, “Heaven and Earth no. 4,” pencil, 14" x 11", 2018
A gray and black and blue painting of a nude Black woman with half of the face of a male subject with red eyes in the bottom right corner
Charles Cooper, “The Shade of A Shadow Not Forgotten,” oil on wooden panel, 17 1/2" x 14", 2015