Guy Cobb

Read Imitating Art: Guy Cobb, Shelby Farms and the Distillation of Life and Place
by William Gill.

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Guy Cobb was born in 1963 and raised in St. Louis, Missouri. In 1977 Guy and his family were transferred to Jackson, Mississippi where Guy attended four years of high school and one year at Ole Miss before leaving school to join his older brother, Ty Cobb, as a co-founder and performer with the Bud Light Daredevils. The Bud Light Daredevils were an acrobatic basketball show who performed during the half-time of NBA and college basketball games. The BLD performed throughout all 50 states, Europe, Japan, China, Norway, South America, Australia, Israel, and Puerto Rico and were featured on such television shows as ABC's That's Incredible, Incredible Sunday, Showtime's "Super Dave Osborne Show", and Disney's "Mickey Mouse Club".

In 1985 Guy moved to the Missouri Ozarks and began painting during the Daredevil's off-season. His paintings, which he calls his "thorn paintings" are sheets of metal covered with layers of mixed media, including paint, arrows, and locust tree thorns. These paintings explore the relationship between Faith, isolation and violence in the rural heartland. Art critic John Simmons wrote of Guy's work, "'Down in the Valley of Rural Violence' is typical of what Cobb calls his 'thorn paintings.' His use of tortured metal, abstract forms and an overlay of projecting thorns all combine in this and the other paintings in the series to produce statements of anger and frustration. An environment that should be peaceful, pastoral, and filled with the beauty of nature is invaded and degraded by human corruption. These paintings seem to cry out in protest . . ."

This exhibit is of interest, and more importantly, Guy Cobb is an artist worth watching. He could well become a real force on the regional art scene." Art critic Camille Howell wrote of Guy's exhibit "...incorporating barbed wire, locust tree thorns and arrow tips, and painted on metal sheets that have been blasted with shotgun pellets, Cobb's works are unsettling, disquieting, and impossible to ignore."

In 1988 and 1989 Guy returned to Ole Miss to study poetry and creative writing under Southern novelist Barry Hannah. He has seen both his poetry and photography published in the literary magazine "Type" and in 2001 his play, "Garden at Memphis" received a staged reading at "Theatre Works" in Memphis.

In 1991 Guy married and settled in Memphis where his paintings underwent a dramatic shift from the contemplation of rural isolation and suffering to an exploration of "color therapy" for individuals who suffer from depression and mental illness. Guy's "Tennessee" paintings reflect influences from the school of Fauve's Matisse, Derain, and Dufy, to Rothko's color fields and Mississippian Walter Anderson's natural scenes from Horn Island.

Guy lives in Memphis, Tennessee with his wife, Laura, and their two children, Elise, and Jack. He is currently writing a play titled “The Memphis Electric Chair Company” which explores the lives of three generations of Memphis women. He is also painting an experimental collection of paintings for the Tennessee School for the Blind. This series intends to explore the use of “sight blended” colors to achieve unique works of art that only the visually impaired can see.

You can see more of his paintings at