Mario Ruben Cooper was a Mexican-American illustrator who lived from 1905-1995. He was born in Mexico but relocated to America when the revolutions began to unfold. He was greatly devoted to the craft of illustration. His husband recalls that he once made a staircase entirely out of cardboard in order to ensure that he would get the correct lighting in his illustration. He was very interested in capturing things from different perspectives.
He illustrated for the authors Maria Remarque, Agatha Christie, Clarence Buddington Kelland, Erich and the lesser known author Benito Mussolini (who became well-known as much more than an author).
After World War II, the American Air Force was quite established and in 1950 they created the U.S. Air Force Art Program which aimed to document the air force and their aeronautic developments. Cooper became a part of this and was assigned to tag along with an air force team. He flew around with them to many countries in exchange for his illustrations. Now, much of Cooper’s work can be found in Pentagon and at the Smithsonian Institute.
I choose to investigate Cooper’s work simply because of the first image presented in this post. I am obsessed with the way that light can be captured in illustrations, and I think the ray of golden light he captures is so beautiful and effective. The quality of his illustrations are also quite interesting to me. He has this way of making everything appear to be made of a super silky fabric which I find very intriguing. As someone who often gravitates to bright saturated colours I also appreciate his duller and more subdued tones he uses.
Personally I think that his illustrations feel very much that they belong to an era of the past; it would be rare to find something in his style in the contemporary commercial world. That said, I think there is a lot of inspiration to be found in his work.