Mason Cooley

High School Design Teacher

Mason Cooley completed his MFA degree in 2000 from Art Center College of Design in CA. His exhibition career started in Los Angeles where he exhibited with various small independent galleries, including, exhibiting in Europe. During those formative years after graduate school he also pursued teaching and started to develop a project-based learning model that borrowed not only from the arts, but the sciences, as well as design. On a generative level, much of learning has its roots in the broader environment, thus, through teaching Mason hopes to facilitate the complex ways living organisms like ourselves understand and reflect the many systems and structures around us. It is with this more holistic approach that art and design are seen as transdisciplinary mediums and thus help illuminate the often subtle yet powerful ways our artistic expressions are integrated in the natural-cultural environment.

Growing up in Southern California in the 1970s meant that much of that landscape was being converted over to masterplanned tract housing which illustrated a stark contrast between the natural environment and the built environment. However, through junior bicycle racing those environments became less monolithic and were instead transformed by the bicycle being able to traverse and connect different parts of the city. Today, cycling is still an important feature of Mason’s life and building bamboo bicycle frames has highlighted those deeper connections between mobility, design, the environment and teaching.

3 years ago Mason Cooley moved with his wife from Los Angeles to Asheville to pursue their small custom furniture making company located in the mountains of Western North Carolina. Over the past 11 years he has taught full-time and part-time at various universities and colleges including, The Professional Crafts Program at Haywood Community College in NC, Art Center College of Design in CA, University of Southern California, California State University Long Beach, as well as having given various artist talks and presentations.

Preparing students, families, and educators to lead the 21st century with an authentic sense of self.

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