As a sixth grader, Ginger Williams-Cook made a bold declaration: “I have made the full decision to become an artist.” Even at a young age, she never had a doubt. Many children love dabbling in painting and drawing, but few pursue art past middle school. Ginger’s passion only grew.
“I have actually never been without art; I never stopped drawing. I feel like I had more interest than many children because a lot of my family members are artists,” says Ginger. “So, I knew I could grow up to be an artist one day.”
Wildly talented and with seemingly endless capabilities, Ginger has been making a splash in the art scene for several years. Her works are colorful and quirky, with a touch of humor and whimsy. Much of her talent and inspiration comes from a lifetime of sketching alongside her father.
As a high school student, Ginger’s father underwent a difficult brain surgery. Rather than give up on his art, he pursued his passion. Ginger reflects, “I was fifteen. He trained himself to draw with his non-dominant side and became a great artist. He actually drew better after his surgery than before!” His speech patterns were interrupted following his surgery, so he dedicated his time to art. Ginger marvels, “I spent a lot of time drawing with my father. He still draws everyday. He made a huge impact on me and is one of my biggest inspirations.”
Ginger’s father is a pointillist, and he uses dots to create magnificent portrait heads and busts; his style heavily influenced Ginger. She laughs, “It’s funny. Even if I am painting a dog, I also focus on the bust!”
A Jackson native, Ginger attended William Carey University in Gulfport, and received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting and drawing. The year before she graduated, Ginger joined a group of emerging artists in Jackson and landed her first job creating art. She and two other artists painted a mural on the patio outside of Walker’s Drive-In.
After graduation, she returned to her Jackson roots, and found a studio space in Fondren. Ginger spent time painting portraits, teaching art lessons, and working at the Mississippi Museum of Art. She continued painting to try and get her work into galleries, and submitted pieces to competitions all over the country. In 2010, Ginger decided she wanted to promote her work through social media. She had a few sets of nesting dolls and decided to paint them. People went nuts. One night her husband, Justin, said, “Ginger, you have to paint the Golden Girls.” She did and within hours, they went viral. Ginger laughs, “I was not prepared! I only had one set!” Ginger’s Golden Girls were featured on countless blogs, and she was featured on MSNBC and New York Daily News.
Ginger’s dog portraits are also wildly popular. Ginger says, “When Justin and I started dating, we gave a voice and personality to our dog, Stella. We talked about what she would wear to a party, and she would carry on inappropriate conversations with people. When we got our second dog, Banjo, we did the same thing with him.” Ginger painted a portrait of Banjo and Stella together, with one dressed as a Baptist preacher and the other in a dress and jean jacket. She laughs, “It was funny. I enjoyed doing it.” She shared her paintings on social media, and again, people went crazy. After all, doesn’t every pet owner imagine their dog’s personality and style?
Ginger also creates custom pillows, a product she will offer on her new website. Ginger says, “I wanted some large Euro shams for our bed. I created one pillow of Justin and one of me. It was so funny. We just laughed when I put them on the bed.” Her pillows caught even more attention on social media, and she was soon creating custom pillows. She laughs, “They are fun and have so much personality. They make a room come to life in this really fun way.”
Today, Ginger says she gets many ideas from her love of antiques and nostalgia. “Those two things kind of meet when it comes to what I like to paint. I like to go and wander flea markets and antique malls, and look at objects and think about the power the objects hold.” Ginger is currently painting porcelain dolls with high contrast patterns and colors. She says, “I am mixing two things that don’t seem to go together, but they somehow work.”
Ginger’s talent spans a little bit of everything. She says, “Being an artist is such an evolution. There is the career aspect of wanting to be an artist and the need to create.” When she isn’t painting, she is crafting with her daughter, or making ornaments and clothespin people. “It’s about being in that process,” she says.
As her work and style beautifully evolves, her business is equally booming. Ginger will unveil a brand new studio and beautiful new website this August!
For now, Ginger, Justin and their two precious children are enjoying life in Jackson. “There are a lot of ideas here and a lot of thinkers. My network of friends is a group of dreamers and doers. Our friends are a huge network of inspiration, and I want my family and children to experience that.”
Thank you, Ginger, for sharing your incredible talents with us! You can follow Ginger on Instagram (@gingerwilliamscook)here!