We had the good fortune of connecting with Cole “The Renaissance” Douglas and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Cole “The Renaissance”, what are you inspired by?
I’m inspired by my feelings. I channel emotional bouts through my artwork. The fun part about it, is I don’t have to decide how I feel, it comes naturally, so paintings flow effortlessly. Because of this emotional sensitivity, I’m very cognizant about who and what I surround myself with. For example, weekend camping getaways with friends in Idyllwild never fail to inspire my artistic drive.

I’m grateful to be able to feel everything and have the privilege to change my surroundings to more enjoyable scenery.

With this my work is almost decided upon for me. I am simply channeling these emotions into various abstract forms exemplify how I’m feeling. It’s up to me to get out of my own way and let the art flow.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My art centers around emotions, and people. I’ve always been a people watcher.

I’m beyond fascinate with “why” behind people’s actions. Asking this question about myself and others brings me immense joy. The engineer in me loves understanding the fundamentals of how things work. My art is to life as physics is to engineer – questioning the fundamentals of how people operate, including myself.

From a photography standpoint, my photos tell a story. I’ve never been a good verbal story teller but through my photos, I am able to evoke emotion, and draw interest on the most mundane of events. When people look at my photos I want their heart to melt. I want people to empathize and feel because that’s such an important human experience.

From a painting standpoint, my improvisational abstract style is jazz music in the painted form. I start with a foundation and intention for each piece. Building layer by layer until I have my symphony. My art stands apart because I’m able to inspire people to feel – both themselves and their surroundings. This matters especially in a world where we’re encourage to be numb to our surroundings. The chance to feel is a privilege in our society.

I’m most grateful for the fact that I can create art that’s true to myself that moves people. I would create art regardless of my career or profession, but the fact that I have the opportunity to create something true to me that impacts others is always cause for gratitude. A lot of my photography is simply my daily life. The beautiful things I see during my travels, yet I’m able to turn these experiences into meaningful artworks.

I’ve gotten where I am professionally by constantly believing in myself. Although I’m new to the professional art world, I have had full faith that I can make it here and beyond, but I faced a lot of trials and tribulations with finding opportunities. It’s a simple fact that you’ll be rejected much more than you’ll be accepted, so maintaining your practice and believing yourself has proved difficult but fruitful. The main lesson I’ve learned along the way is to make genuine connections with people. To be frank the art world is so saturated. Absolutely nothing will be given to you, so these genuine connections can allow you to have a support group that can open up opportunities you wouldn’t have otherwise. Lateral networking of sorts.

I want the world to know I put my soul into my work. If it doesn’t move me, if I don’t feel it, I don’t put it out into the world. It’s imperative that I speak my full truth in every bit of art that I show the world. I speak only from my soul.

Moreover, my wisdom comes from pain, and my experiences aren’t necessarily unique, so my art can serve as inspiration for people going through the things I have.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
If we’re in San Diego, my first stop is Tasty Noodle House on Convoy street. Top notch shanghainese food. After that, we’ll check out the glider port and take a hike down to blacks beach. Hike around the gliderport for the day. At night, we’ll check out the best taco spot in town: Lucha Libre Taco spot in North Park. At night, we’ll see DJ Edroc, the DJ in residence at The Office in North Park.

For some hole in the walls around City heights, we’ll check out Folk Arts Record store off of University. An amazing selection of records and a great group of people. We’ll then walk over to Addis restaurant. The best Ethiopian in town. If we’re really feeling froggy, we can also get some pupusas at El Salvador Pupuseria Y Restaurante a few blocks away. All of these places are in walking distance.

Then we gotta hit the best park in town, Kate Sessions. Have a picnic and watch the sunset on a beautiful spring day.

If they’re there on a Thursday night, open mic at Queen Bee’s is mandatory. You might even catch me doing some poetry;)

If they’re there for long enough, we’ll take a camping trip to Idyllwild. Stop in town for lunch and find a remote camping spot somewhere secluded in the mountains. We can call it “Art camp” if they’re an artist too.

If they’re not tired of tacos yet, we can go to tacos El Gordo in Chula vista. The second best taco spot in the city.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would say my former college roommates all had an amazing impact on my art career. From a photography standpoint, my good friends Kevin and Juan supported me from the beginning. The loaned me their cameras and showed me the ropes. They trusted me the $5,000 equipment that I barely knew how to use haha. I would take their cameras and shoot at college events and give them a cut for letting me use their equipment. They also gave me time to develop as a photographer and come into my own. Critiquing me in constructive ways that encourage my growth.

My third roommate, Ariela, was the one who got me into painting. She came home one day with some paint and canvases from the student center and we all had a fun paint night. I kept painting for fun and she kept supplying the paint and canvases. She would hang my art up around the apartment like it was an upscale gallery. It felt amazing to share my art with the guest in the apartment.

This gave me the confidence to share my art with the rest of the world .

Website: https://www.coledouglas.art

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/Coletherenaissance/?hl=en

Twitter: https://twitter.com/cdougie12

Image Credits
Personal photo and photo in front of art talking to client is credited to Juan Miche Rosales. He gave me permission to use them.

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutSocal is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.