You might already know that Mr. Cooper’s whole mission is to keep the dream of homeownership alive for our customers. The feeling of “home” is very important to us as a company, which is why we established an Artist in Residence program that brings artwork from local artists into each of our home offices. The woman who orchestrates it all, Lesli Marshall, is an artist herself — which definitely helps her do her job of curating art for Mr. Cooper. We talked to Lesli while she was working on location in Peru, hand painting a mural in the town of Magdalena De Cao. (Check out her recent coverage on WFAA-TV below.)
How or when did you know that you’d be able to bring Mr. Cooper’s vision of an Artist in Residence program to life?
In 2015 Kevin Dahlstrom, Mr. Cooper’s Chief Marketing Officer, was brought onboard he told me about the artists working in California at Facebook. I loved the idea and used that as the inspiration and thought it would be so cool to have ongoing art installs from local artists where they could bring to life what “home” means to them.
What was your biggest challenge with the AIR program — the corporate-ness, the space?
There were many challenges in the beginning — the trust of the executives to allow the program to grow and expand. The first few months were difficult, because there are so many different tastes and ideas. Now, people are very open after seeing the program as a whole and what it brings to the space and to employees. And as more and more artists participate the diversity in aesthetic and media is very inspiring.
Has curating the Artist in Residence program had an effect on your own artistic expression (or any other effects — collaboration, new opportunities, relationships with local artists)?
For sure! It has been amazing for me as an artist to collaborate with other artists who are doing things that I wish I could. I usually have an idea already in my head of what I want them to create for Mr. Cooper, and then we discuss it prior to them starting. There have definitely been collaborations outside of the program with a lot of these artists, too.
What does “home” mean to you?
Home means so many things — especially as an artist and having to travel a lot. I am always having to recreate my home away from home.
What do you have planned for the future in terms of your art?
I want to do so many things… Next up will be to do GIANT sculptures!