Be the Captain of Your Own Ship: an Interview with the Multi-disciplinary Erin Cooper
Erin Cooper, the Creative Director of CooperHouse and an abstract figurative artist, certainly wears a lot of different hats on the daily. Her most recent venture is Halcyon Works, a co-working space in Oklahoma City that she started with her friend, John Handy Edwards. Erin believes in bringing together a local community through art and design. I had the pleasure of asking her a few questions that centered around her work, what got her here and what inspires her everyday.
Q. First of all, congratulations on opening up Halcyon Works! That’s so exciting. Can I ask what made you start a one of a kind co-working space in Oklahoma City?
EC: About 2 years ago, my partner John approached me about this concept for a co-working space in Oklahoma City. The trouble we ran into was that we couldn’t find a place that we could house it in. After a long time, an old friend of mine introduced me to this gorgeous space that led me to envision Halcyon Works right there.
Although, I don’t want Halcyon Works to just be a co-working space. I want it to host workshops that teach basic Design programs, social media strategies and marketing, business law, etc. I am a strong believer in Serenity & Productivity so we could even host classes on finding the right balance between work and family, and finding inner peace that can allow your business to flourish.
Halcyon works is my pet project. I feel like everything I have been doing has been leading up to this project. My love of art, culture and design all come together in hospitality. When we started working on Halcyon Works, we thought about every little detail that would make it an experience. The interior design, the music, the art on the walls, the branding and the website. Creating a space where the community can come together and feel welcome was the main goal.
Q. You were in Denver, Colorado before you moved to Oklahoma City. Was there a reason you chose Oklahoma City to be the place for you?
EC: Well, I was born in this small town in Oregon and then got stationed in Denver. I felt like me and my husband just couldn’t break in there, like we couldn’t have that big of an impact in a big city like Denver. Oklahoma City has just been so good to us. We wanted the sense of community and wanted to make a difference. We initially thought the move to OKC was going to be temporary, but here we are eight years later!
Q. You are a jack-of-all-trades. Is there a specific skill you would want to learn?
EC: Oh man, that’s a good question. I have about 14 years of experience in Visual Branding, but I would have to say the new skill would have to be Advertising & Marketing. My clients ask about advertising and marketing all the time, and I dabbled in it a little bit last year but I really want to hone in on it this year.
Q. Is there any advice you would like to give young women who want to work for themselves or just starting their business?
EC: I would tell them to paint a clear picture of where you envision yourself in about 10-20 years. Get real with your goal and stick to it. Figure out what your strengths and goals are, and connect with people you admire. Having a clear direction and plan will bring you closer to your goal. Make every decision based on whether it will bring you closer to your goal or distract you from your goal. Honestly, nobody is going to give you a direction or a plan. You need to be the central voice that tells yourself that this is the direction I want to go in. Be the captain of your own ship and don’t lose sight!
Q. Are there any exciting things in the pipeline for you?
EC: Not really. I mean we are mostly just going to focus on delivering what we promised on both fronts, CooperHouse as well as Halcyon Works. We want to keep focusing on building a community in Oklahoma City and bring people together.
Erin's work from Erin Cooper Studio and CooperHouse:
Aditi Panchal is a graphic designer, illustrator and hand lettering artist based in Oklahoma City. Aditi's work tends to be quirky and whimsical with a strong feminine quality. She loves working with local entrepreneurs, small businesses, and people who enjoy stylish handcrafted goods that have a sense of humor and purpose. In her free time, you can find her doodling in coffee shops around the city, trying new cuisines or on the hunt for new inspiration. Her work can be found at aditipanchal.com and you can follow along her lettering journey on Instagram (@aditipanchal).