Objective abstract artist
Moe Cotton, born in 1935 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, got his start as an artist at a young age. He would often test the patience of his teachers in school by sketching comical poses of them. In the fifth grade, however, he was asked to draw a Greek bust using charcoal. The result was an incredible professional likeness that surprised not only Cotton’s teacher, but himself as well. This would serve as the beginning of Cotton’s life as an artist.
In 1958, he joined the US Marine Corps as an officer where he was assigned legal officer duty. While stationed in Camp Lajuane, North Carolina, he honed his artistic skill by painting portraits of his fellow officers for pocket money.
Cotton’s love for abstract art started in 1962 when he met up with abstract artist Ken Barauch, while he was stationed in Okinawa. Soon after Cotton married and then resigned from the US Marine Corps and remained in Okinawa for eighteen years where he and his wife had three daughters.
In 1977 he and his family moved to Guam, where he became well known as the owner and principal broker of Century 21 Commonwealth Realty. In addition, Cotton launched the National Institute for Continuing Education (NICE) where he and others teach real estate courses to aspiring agents.
For the next three decades, Cotton’s interest in art lay dormant as he tended his growing family and real estate business. In 2003 after a bout with cancer and open-heart surgery, Cotton picked up his palette again and began to paint with new passion.
Cotton’s work is referred to as “objective abstract” and is characterized as multi-media paintings that employ bold strokes and strikingly original images of ordinary objects. After completing one of his art pieces, he took it to Art and Frame Gallery for framing. It was during this time that proprietor Henry Kleckner suggested Cotton should see Filamore Palomo Alcon, the owner and curator of Guam’s only privately owned art gallery for guidance. Shortly thereafter, Cotton met and the two would go on to work very closely together.
Cotton is now a member of the Chamorro Artists Association. He participated with the association during “Fakmåta” Help Us Celebrate the Chamorro Culture through the Arts at the Pacific Trading Company in the Agana Shopping Center.
Over the past year, Cotton’s artwork has been selected for display in several prestigious Guam exhibits, including the University of Guam’s Isla Art Center for the Arts and the International Art Exhibit at the Council on the Arts and Humanities Agency (CAHA) Gallery at Two Lovers’ Point.
In 2004 he was chosen as one of Guam’s artists to represent the island in the 9th Festival of Pacific Arts in Koror, Republic of Belau where more than 4,000 artists from nations throughout the Pacific showcase their work. During the Festival, several of his paintings were displayed in the National Museum of Belau.
Cotton’s artwork is on display at The Guam Gallery of Art in Chamorro Village in Hagåtña. This venue also coincides with the Chamorro Artist Association’s “Orange Night Spondylus Night.”