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Dale Cochran Captures the Spirit of America

Returning Anderson Artists Guild member Dale Cochran was an artistic kid. “I cannot remember not drawing,” he said.

A Six Mile native, he earned an associate’s degree at Anderson Junior College and a bachelor’s in visual arts at Winthrop College.

He started his career as an illustrator and designer at the Anderson Independent-Mail newspaper before moving to Clemson University as an art director. Then he went to Coats and Clark to start an in-house creative team before accepting a similar position at Reliance Electric. He returned to Clemson in 2006 to lead the design team. He retired in 2022 as the executive director of creative operations, overseeing creative teams responsible for photography, web design, writing, video, and the Clemson World magazine. He enjoyed design and marketing and learned to like management, as well. “I ran from managing people my entire career but always seemed to land in a management position. I gave up trying to run from it,” he said.

Though he’d never been much of a painter in college, he took a watercolor class at the Anderson Arts Center with Carol McDaniel Clark. It was a way to counter the stress of deadlines at his newspaper job. And something clicked. Today he works primarily in watercolor.

His subjects are often old and familiar, such as barns or places he’s connected to. “I like to reveal the uniqueness and beauty in things seemingly plain, illuminating the stories and spirits behind the ordinary through my painting,” he said. “It makes you feel some nostalgia. It makes you feel good.”

He did a series some years back based on his interactions at a community center when he and his wife accompanied a youth group to Charleston to host daily activities for local children from a nearby housing project. One piece, titled God Bless This House, captured a boy using sidewalk chalk to draw an idealized version of home. Another, called Imagination, placed a little boy with a puppet on his hand into the middle of a field. “It showed the power of imagination to take you out of a situation,” said Cochran.

For more information about Cochran, visit


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