These emerging local artists are young, inspired, and appreciative of those from whom they have learned

Emerging Artists, Tom Coute | Cape Cod ART

Art by Tom Coute

When someone has it—whatever rare talent or gift “it” may serve to represent—it is undeniable. Oftentimes, it’s unexplainable, too. Many others want it, while others hope the “it” in question is simply not squandered.

In conducting interviews for this article on eight emerging artists who live or work on Cape Cod and the Islands, that “it” factor was evident from the start. Basically, the eight artists profiled on the following pages, who range in age from a 17-year-old high school student to a blossoming 30-year-old painter, are blessed with it!

Through the use of paper or photo clippings, paintbrushes or a quill pen, glass or animation technology, these artists create colorful, creative, and inspiring work. A number of the artists also credit the training and instruction they received from teachers, mentors, and employers for helping them get to where they are now. We think readers will enjoy these artists’ work—and will likely be seeing more from them in the years to come.

Traditional tools, modern medium | artist profile • Tom Coute

Tom Coute’s love affair with cartoons began one lucky night when he was 7 years old. With his mother away working a night job, Coute’s father let he and his brother, Mike, watch whatever cartoons they wanted. “I have a very specific memory of my dad letting me watch The Simpsons with him,” Coute says. “It was the best night ever.” From that night on, Coute was allowed to continue watching The Simpsons, which he did every night through seventh grade. “It’s a very nostalgic thing,” he says.

A freshman at the Rhode Island School of Design, Coute, 19, has won gold medals through the nonprofit Alliance for Young Artists & Writers for his comic art, which he creates using a traditional dip tool pen. “I still use a quill and dip it into an inkwell,” Coute says. “I use it for a grotesque appearance, which is a nice contrast with the silly world of cartoons. I like playing on an irony between how cartoons are supposed to be very silly and fun, childish almost, and my cartoons are very adult-like.”

Coute, a Dennis Port native and a graduate of Dennis-Yarmouth High School, draws inspiration for his comics from real life experiences—including his “Ain’t no sunshine in the nighttime” character. “My friend and I were out one night walking around Providence, and we bumped into this guy playing saxophone for tips, and he was just saying the most random stuff.” When the musician said the phrase in quotes above, Coute was moved. “It was very oddly poetic.”

As a sophomore, Coute plans to begin studying animation, with hopes of one day creating his own animated cartoon for the Cartoon Network. To learn more about Coute and his work, email tcoute@risd.edu