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Author Bio

Walter Cooper was born in Syracuse, New York, and earned his B.A. in American Studies from Hobart College. After a 10-year copywriting career in New York & Tokyo with J. Walter Thompson, he left advertising to pursue an art career in Santa Fe. His artwork has been exhibited in major galleries and private and corporate collections. He is author/illustrator of three books: Briefs: A Virile Display of Verse Witty and Gay, Unbuttoned: Gay Life in the Santa Fe Arts Scene and Shards: Restoring the Shattered Spirit.

Featured Books

For 100 years, the Santa Fe/Taos region of New Mexico has nurtured a rich gay culture, yet most people have no idea what an enormous impact lesbians and gay men play, have played, in shaping the art and cultural mecca of the American Southwest.
Cooper’s unbridled memoir paints a vivid picture of the queer folk who energize Santa Fe, America’s favorite art town. It’s packed with LGBT history, camp humor, 80s photos, and personal encounters with such icons as Georgia O’Keeffe, Truman Capote, Andy Warhol, Tennessee Williams, and Elizabeth Taylor. But the heart of his story spotlights the local painters, potters, writers, poets, photographers, designers, tastemakers, and opera people he’s known and loved for 40 years. Focusing on the 1970s & ‘80s when Santa Fe shifted from a quaint art colony to a cultural boom town, Cooper takes you behind Santa Fe’s fabled adobe walls and gives a voice to a dynamic gay community that helps makes “the City Different” truly different. While striving to establish his own identity as a full-time painter, Cooper tells what it’s like to risk everything to be an artist. 

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Walter Cooper set out to recover from life in the high-tension world of New York advertising. His quest for inner liberation led him to Santa Fe, where he found his spiritual center among the vivid colors of the earth and sky and the Anaszi Indians who left their spirit line in shards of pottery scattered thousands of years ago. In Shards we share Cooper’s discovery of the joyfulness and toughness of the spirit, the wisdom of animals, the connectedness of the human family. His carefully selected works, enhanced by more than 90 illustrations of ancient Anasazi petroglyphs, help us connect with something primeval, organic and whole. 

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“Walter Cooper’s thoughts, like his art, rise from a lovely stillness within. Shards is like a wise and uplifting companion who will stay with you always.”

- Hugh Prather