GULFPORT -- Adam Cook's kindergarten artwork never consisted of stick figures and macaroni shells.
The 24-year-old Gulfport man said he remembers drawing lavish caricatures and things out of the ordinary.
"While other kids were drawing trains and clouds, I was drawing robots and rocket ships," he said.
Cook's interest in art never faded, he said.
By the time he was a young adult, Cook was drawing images and abstracts onto graphite paper. Last year, he decided to transfer one of his drawings to canvas and start painting.
"It [painting] gives life to what I'm doing," Cook said. "You can make it breathe."
Cook considers himself a neo-impressionist painter. He also said he draws inspiration from cubism.
"My style is loose and avant garde," Cook said. "It's very visual."
Cook looks to interactions with people for inspiration, and uses vivid color and brush strokes to create his experience. He has painted faces of his housemates, Grammy Award-winning pop duo Daft Punk and a waitress who served him at a local Waffle House.
"You kind of just have to let your thoughts breathe," he said.
Two years ago, Cook's parents made a career move out-of-state. He moved in with his friend and his family in Gulfport, where he was exposed to Latin culture.
His adopted family gave him the nickname Galleta, Spanish for Cookie, a play on his surname. Cook signs his Spanish nickname on all of his artwork.
"Spanish is such a beautiful language," he said.
Although he can't afford to paint full-time, Cook spends every moment he can with a brush in his hand. After working during the day at a linen shop in Pass Christian, he spends his evenings creating on his front porch.
Cook has about 20 paintings displayed at Alternate Reality Artist Gallery in Bay St. Louis. He's sold paintings at By The Slice in Gulfport and at Coffee Fusion in Ocean Springs. He said while the money is nice, he's happy just to have his art on display.
"It's more about sharing my vision," Cook said.
Recently, Cook has started painting on large-scale surfaces and doing mixed media. He has created art from old plywood and hubcaps he found on the side of the road.
Four months ago, Cook transformed concrete slabs on Beauvoir Road into statement pieces. Nine slabs have been painted with various images including the Biloxi Lighthouse, a crab and people.
Cook found the slabs while scouting locations. He saw some graffiti on one slab and decided he would leave his own mark on the empty ones.
It took him 3 weeks to finish the nine paintings. Cook worked on the paintings early in the morning or at sunset after work.
"I would do one or two every weekend," he said.
Cook has also painted backdrops for the Biloxi Little Theater and helped create three Blues-inspired tables for the 100 Men D.B.A. Hall in Bay St. Louis. Cook said he is looking for more blank spaces so he can continue to paint large-scale pieces.
"Anything I can use, I'll paint on it," he said.
Cook said he can't escape art, and he will create as long as he can.
"I'll always do art, he said. "It's always something that will be in my blood."