Douglas Cooper, professor and muralist, teaches drawing in Carnegie Mellon University’s architecture program. Using unusual materials for public artÑcharcoal on paperÑhe has produced large (up to 200-foot-long) panoramic murals in Frankfurt, Germany, and in New York, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh. A central theme of his work has been the overlay of the multiple meanings people attach to their surroundings. In three of his murals, Cooper has worked with the elderly and incorporated their stories into his art. Cooper has received grants for his work from the National Endowment for the Arts and has been honored by the American Institute of Architects for the contribution his murals have made to architecture.
With Steel Shadows, you don’t have to visit exhibition halls at Carnegie Mellon University or the John Heinz History Center to enjoy Douglas Cooper’s unique, realistic and highly personal images of Pittsburgh. Steel Shadows brings his large charcoal and paper art home to you.
Cooper details the inspiration for his artistic vision, as well as the formal properties of his art and how it relates to architecture. The book features double-page spreads of his murals, his essay, and excerpts from Pittsburgh authors telling the stories of the city’s ethnic and eclectic style of neighborhoods, combining details of bridge building and steel making with poetry, historical accounts, and stories of the daily lives of Pittsburghers, all set against the backdrop of the city’s raw industrial landscape.
Steel Shadows is a book for students of art, architecture, urban studies, and oral history. Most of all, it is a book to share with friends and family, and a book to rekindle memories of this former steel town.