J. Cheryl Bookout is a filmmaker and studio artist residing in Joshua Tree, CA.

Bookout produced the award-winning short films GLORIA’S CALL and the short sci-fi film PURE. She directed the short documentary film INSIDE THE BEATUY BUBBLE, which has just begun its journey in the film festival circuit. Bookout is currently producing a feature-length documentary ACTING LIKE WOMEN directed by Cheri Gaulke, and a short narrative film titled JUST A FRIEND – both in pre-production.

Cheryl is deeply involved in her community and active in the nonprofit sector. She believes nonprofit organizations provide a way for people to work together for the common good, transforming shared beliefs and hopes into action. She is the Executive Director/Founder of The Chimaera Project, a nonprofit championing women and non-binary filmmakers. Her nonprofit work includes sitting on the Board of Directors for FurstWurld, Joshua Tree Retreat Center and the Advisory Board for Mil-Tree Veterans Project. She is the past President of the Southern California Women’s Caucus for Art 2012 – 2016 and has been a guest on numerous filmmaking/art panels throughout the U.S. As an individual artist, Bookout is included in the California Women Artist Project archived at the University of Southern California and Special Collections and University Archives, Rutgers University Libraries, a project organized by Gloria Orenstein, Professor of Women in Literature and Art at USC. 

Fine Art Practice

Classic fairy tales and fables are my inspiration. I use frogs and other creatures to tell stories. My earliest childhood memories are the illustrations of Alice in Wonderland by John Tenniel.

The Clairvoyants, original painting, 12″ x 24″ x 2″

Why Frogs?

Most frogs require suitable habitat in both the terrestrial and aquatic environments, and have permeable skin that can easily absorb toxic chemicals. These traits make frogs especially susceptible to environmental disturbances, and thus frogs are considered accurate indicators of environmental stress: the health of frogs is thought to be indicative of the health of the biosphere. Frogs have survived in their current form for 250 million years, having survived countless ice ages, asteroid crashes, and other environmental disturbances, yet now one-third of amphibian species are on the verge of extinction. This should serve as an alarm call to humans that something is drastically wrong in the environment.

An ecological indicator they are
The most accurate so far
Pollution, destruction and disease
We need to hear their pleas
— Frog Poetry by Shruti Sengupta, 25, India

Branch Office, original drawing 14 x 17″