Ben Parekkada, left, and Richard Cooper hold a painting that Cooper painted. A Camden resident and the electrophysiology lab floor technician at Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center, Cooper is a self-taught artist.
CAMDEN — Walking into the Environmental Services office in the cellar of Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center, one will find walls covered in original artwork.
Purchased at an art gallery? No.
Like a proud family member, Lisa Ford, director of Environmental Services for Lourdes Health System, says, “This is all Richard’s work.”
Most people would describe Richard Cooper, the electrophysiology lab floor technician and Camden resident, as quiet and polite. But those who know him well also know he is a talented artist.
It wasn’t until recently when Cooper painted for Ben Parekkadan, the medical center’s pacemaker representative, a replica of his favorite painting, that Cooper’s talents became the buzz around Lourdes.
After overhearing Parekkadan telling the coffee cart barista about the famous painting from the movie, “Good Will Hunting,” Cooper casually glanced at the image on Parekkadan’s iPhone and said, “I can paint that for you.”
A week later, Cooper presented Parekkadan with a 2-foot by 4-foot replica of the man in a rowboat combatting the rough waters of the sea.
Amazed by the resemblance to the original painting, Parekkadan brought the work into the executive offices at the medical center to show Lourdes Health System President and CEO, Alexander J. Hatala.
“I got goose bumps when I saw the painting,” said Parekkadan. “I have seen Richard nearly every day for the past year and had no idea of his unbelievable, hidden talent. He truly has an extraordinary gift that deserves recognition.”
While Cooper’s job for the past five years has been making sure the hospital keeps up with its code of cleanliness, his lifetime passion since the young age of 8 has been painting. A self-taught artist, Cooper learned techniques from watching painting shows on TV growing up.
“My career at Lourdes and my painting have given me great balance in my life, which is very important to me,” said Cooper. “While you need to be able to pay the bills, it’s also important to be able to spend time at home doing what you love.”
Although Cooper doesn’t foresee trading in his day job for a paintbrush any time soon, he nevertheless hopes that his lifelong dream of showing his work in gallery exhibits will one day come true.
Cooper’s paintings, which mainly consist of landscape, still life and contemporary art pieces, can be viewed at www.artwanted.com/rcooper.