Physician Emily Cook also pursues art—and encourages other physicians to follow their passions, too.
NAME: EMILY COOK, D.O., FAMILY PRACTICE PHYSICIAN IN OGDEN, UTAH
UNDERGRADUATE: BRIGHAM YOUNG UNIVERSITY
POSTGRADUATE: ARIZONA COLLEGE OF OSTEOPATHIC MEDICINE
RESIDENCY: NEW HANOVER REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER, WILMINGTON, NORTH CAROLINA
Emily Cook, D.O., (EmilyCook.Art) juggles art and medicine. She uses many different
mediums in her art, such as clay, acrylics and metal. She displays her art at The Monarch in Ogden,Utah.
What do you like about being an artist as well as a physician?
If you know you are going to be taking on a patient’s problems, which you cannot help but do, you know you have an outlet that is not medicine. I bring watercolors with me everywhere I go and a sketchbook. I can take 10 minutes and draw something, look outside, take a breath and put color on paper. It does not have to be pretty. In fact, sometimes the uglier, the better. Everyone can do it, and watercolors are a cheap gift—which is why I give so many out to people and my homeless patients. Time for play is what is missing from society. That’s where you start. You aren’t crunching 100 notes and finding a solution to everyone’s problems. You are just in the moment with your hobby.
“I bring watercolors with me everywhere I go and a sketchbook. I can take 10 minutes and draw something…”
Is there anything you don’t like about pursuing art
I’m definitely pulled between being an artist and a physician. At the Monarch Art Studio, I have a fellow artist. That is that person’s primary job. I don’t feel I’m acknowledged that I’m an artist in my own right because I’m also a doctor. I’ve been doing art since I was little. I went to school for art. On the flip side, as for being a physician, it’s always like the imposter syndrome being in both worlds. Sometimes I just want to say enough is enough; I’m legitimate in both fields. I spent thousands of hours mastering both.
Was there anything about doing this that surprised you?
I never realized how much I would love sharing art with other people. Originally, I thought it was more of a selfish undertaking. I was trying to heal me. From time to time, I think about how I can get my art out there. How can I make money on my art? How can I market my art and get people to buy it? Then I get disappointed if someone didn’t buy it. Whenever I go to that place, I’m not happy. When I return to my caregiving self, my physician mindset, that part of me when doing art creates beautifully and freely, it’s happy, and that’s so much better. That’s where creative energy lies.
“Instead of watching Netflix, work on your hobby,” says artist Emily Cook, D.O. “…You make your hobby, whatever it is, part of your life…”
Do you have any advice for physicians who might want to pursue their hobbies as well?
I would suggest getting your supplies and working on your hobby when you have free time. Take a backpack and bring it with you. When you have down time, take five minutes. When you’re home, instead of watching Netflix, work on your hobby. My kitchen table is my workspace. You make your hobby, whatever it is, part of your life, part of your routine, so that it happens. People always say they don’t have time, but we insert other things into our hobby’s place.
How would a physician go about pursuing art?
My friends and I have put on workshops, and there’s always little art hubs in most places. There’s always someone trying to offer a class on whatever hobby you do and make a living…always someone with a talent. It is as simple as desiring to try it and then looking online to get the materials. You don’t have to spend a lot. Go to a specific class and then do it. •