Young artist’s work displayed at Governor’s Mansion

Courtesy photo PHS senior Kelsey Cooper, left, met Wyoming First Lady Jennie Gordon, right, at a luncheon in Cheyenne on June 28. Cooper’s piece, titled “Falling,” pictured here, garnered the First Lady’s Award at the Wyoming High School State Art Symposium this spring and will hang in the Governor’s Mansion for a year.

PINEDALE – Art can bring generations together, especially when the subject is Marvel superheroes.

Incoming Pinedale High School senior Kelsey Cooper skillfully brought to life the unlikely partnership between two wisecracking crime-fighters blessed with super-human capabilities – Spiderman and Deadpool – using colored pencils in a piece of fan art titled “Falling.”

Cooper entered “Falling” in the Wyoming High School State Art Symposium at the Ford Wyoming Center in Casper this April, where her work immediately caught the eye of Wyoming First Lady Jennie Gordon.

In addition to recognizing Cooper’s exceptional talent, Gordon also felt drawn to the piece because the First Lady’s young grandson is a serious Spiderman fanatic.

Gordon selected Cooper’s artwork for the First Lady’s Award at the State Art Symposium and “Falling” will hang in the Governor’s Mansion in Cheyenne for a year.

“I asked the First Lady why she chose my piece, and she explained her 4-year-old grandson loved superheroes,” said Cooper. “They actually had to hang the piece out of her grandson’s reach so he wouldn’t touch it, which was really heartwarming. Knowing that so many people appreciate my piece made me beyond happy.”

On June 28, Cooper attended a luncheon at the Governor’s Mansion to recognize the 2023 recipients of the First Lady’s Award.

“It is an honor to have a piece of mine hanging in the Governor’s Mansion,” said Cooper. “While art is a passion of mine, I would have never expected it to go so far. Being able to see my piece hanging in the mansion was a privilege.”

Cooper’s inspiration for “Falling” came from the intricate, vivid universe of Marvel superheroes depicted in books, comics, games, television and the silver screen.

“From the original idea, I work on a base sketch,” said Cooper. “Once my sketch is complete, I erase the lines and begin coloring. Once the coloring is done, I make a few touch-ups and the piece is done.”

Meeting Wyoming’s First Lady is an opportunity few high-school students experience, though Cooper was impressed by Gordon’s down-to-earth personality.

“When I first met the First Lady, I thought she was a parent of one of the other artists,” Cooper remarked. “She was so casual when she introduced herself.”

Cooper plans to pursue a career in psychology after high school.

“I love making art as a hobby, but my true passion lies in psychology,” she said. “I still love to make a sketch every now and then, but I really want to be a doctor in psychology.”