Artist Mike Cook of Manzanita, Ore., has donated a sculpture he calls “Earth Warrior Rising” to our Portland office, and really, it has brought great energy and life to our entryway — and our spirits.
The form was originally driven by the energy Mike saw in the barb, claw, thorn, fang, and beak forms in nature — epitomizing raw power, and some of the basic instruments for survival and advancing of life. As the piece developed, Mike was inspired by the children warriors in Chilean writer Roberto Bolano’s 1999 novel Amulet. The piece picked up that warrior energy. To hold the piece, Mike created a hand thrusting up from the waves, which has the feel of a line from Leonard Cohen’s song Suzanne, “Only drowning men could see.” The finish reflects the patched and battered fighter plane skins that appear in comic strips from the 50s.
“This piece is intended to reinforce a collective earth spirit rising up on this planet today. It is a call to battle under a common earth banner, so that the full thrust of life’s voice can be heard,” Mike said.
“I’m especially pleased that this piece has found a home at the Pacific Rivers, Salmon-Safe, and American Rivers office in downtown Portland, amongst its river warriors who are working to redress the persistent violence to our forests and streams,” Mike said.
The piece is 36 inches tall, made of recycled auto hood and exhaust pipe, and finished with lacquer and rust-treated carbonized flame finish on the hand.
About Mike Cook
Born in 1942, Mike graduated in architecture from UC Berkeley, with a career in public and corporate project and facility management. In that context, he managed Mentor Graphics’ extensive arts collection and public arts projects for the Portland Development Commission, including the design for Pioneer Courthouse Square. Entering retirement, he began his arts practice with life drawing and painting, leading to work in sculpture.
His work can be found in businesses, institutions and homes throughout the Northwest. Mike uses recycled steel, applying conceptual approaches to social, environmental and psychological themes. Driven by early confidence from environmental advocacy and human potential work, his art is now focusing on climate recovery and stewardship. He is interviewed on the international Artists and Climate Change website. Mike lives with his photographer wife, Linda, in Manzanita, Ore. To see his other work, click here.
Thank you, Mike!