Punk Cooper is a fourth generation New Mexican who grew up on his family's sheep ranch in the Hondo Valley, a part of Lincoln County which is rich in history as well as art. This enviroment helped him to develop an eye for art and a desire to paint. He graduated from New Mexico State University with a bachelor's degree in Animal Science in 1970. After graduating, he served as an army helicopter pilot. Upon his return from military duty, Punk resumed the responsibilities of working on a ranch.
Punk has been an artist for over thirty years. He says of plein air painting, "While I've been drawing every chance I get from an early age, and completed about ten bronze sculpture editions ten years ago; I have recently become infatuated with the idea of "Plein Air" oil paintings completed on site outdoors. There is something about the discipline of direct painting, the merging of a place and a moment in time that breathes life into a landscape painting. Often this direct response to my surroundings, even the sounds and smells seem to become as much a part of the process as light and color. This inspiration of scene gives me oportunity to paint vibrancy and composition that I don't think I could otherwise achieve."