Somojo Magazine

Jon Coffelt

Hi Jon, How are you?
I'm great. I have no complaints.

How did you discover your talent for art?
When I was very young my favorite things were pens, pencils and sketchbooks.

What or who inspired you to paint/draw in the first place?
When I was 8 years old my grandfather started to teach me to paint. He made me paint what was on the outside (trees, leaves, horses, deer) so at some point I would understand how to paint what was on the inside (emotional impulses)

What do you think is the most important influence in your art?
The single most important influence in my art would have to be my environment growing up in the mountains in Tennessee around nature and lots of animals.

Where do you do your work?
I live in a Loft in downtown Manhattan.

Do you work from life, from photographs or from imagination?
As a formalist, I am more inclined to say my work deals more with methodologies created through my imagination.

What are you currently working on?
I am currently working on a series of 14 pieces for a spa in Costa Rica called "The Falls" and I am also readying work for my solo exhibition at House Gallery in Salt Lake City that will open in November 2010

Do you have any new projects planned?
I was just asked to include my "Miniature Clothing Project" in an upcoming 6 month exhibition at the Kohler Art Center that will include a book about the exhibition.

Which is more important to you, the subject of your painting, or the way it is executed?
Always the execution s the most important to me. Without craftsmanship there is no masterpiece.

What techniques do you use?
I paint, sculpt, make artists books.

What are your favourite materials to work with?
I love to work with experimental mediums that include, poured latex, thread, Tyvek and duct-tape among many others.

Jon Coffelt
Mayan Circuitry Fetish
duct-tape on Tyvek
51x51"  (132 x 132 cm)

Do you concentrate mostly on content or technique in your work?

Do you work certain hours each day or only when you are inspired?
I sometimes paint every day for a while and then I take breaks. If I really get into a piece I may work up to 14 hours a day on it until I am exhausted of it and then sleep and pick up after I awaken. Sometimes I forget to eat or sleep or turn on the heat or even turn on the lights.

Where do you feel your art is going?
I feel and I am told my work has a timeless formalist quality and I hope I can expand that to many more venues.

What do you think the role of the artist is in society and do you think that role is changing with the advances of technology?
Artists are the heartbeat of society. Everything we are goes back to where arts align in any civilization. With advances of technology art will surely change as artists are the forefront.

Do you prefer a perfect smooth technique or a more energetic expressive technique and why?
Not sure what you are asking here but I feel that as a formalist my work must convey something across society through technique.
I do, however, love to see expressive work and I think there is certainly a place for that but to me that comes and goes.

What is your favourite period in art history?
Modernism and Neo-classicism.

Who are your favourite artists?
I have so many.  I really love Moira Dryer, Mona Hatoum, Kenneth Noland, Ana Mendieta, Jules de Balincourt, Lee Bontecou, Pinky Bass and Agnes Martin.
As you can see mostly female artists tend to be my favorite with Kenneth and Jules being the exceptions here.

What is your favourite painting/piece of art and why?
I have way to many to name. That said 
Jean-Louis David, Death of Morat
Ana Mendieta, Silueta Works in Mexico
Pinky Bass, Contemplating My Internal Organs
Jules de Balincourt, Blind Faith and Tunnel Vision

How do your market and promote your work?
I have been painting for so long that much of my work is word of mouth at this point. I do continue show in galleries, not-for-profits and university settings.

Jon Coffelt
Flesh/Ballet Pink Cosmos on Space Blue Field
acrylic on canvas (bas relief)
36x36" (91.5 x 91.5 cm)

Have you held any exhibitions?
I have been in more than 50 solo and over 150 group exhibitions in many diverse areas including Atlanta, Birmingham, Boston, Brooklyn, Chattanooga, Cincinnati, Los Angeles, Nashville, New Orleans, New York, Miami, Minneapolis, Mobile, Philadelphia, Salt Lake City, San Diego and San Francisco in this country as well as, Barcelona, Cork (Ireland), London, Manuel Antonio (Costa Rica), Mexico City, Montreal, Tokyo and Venice(Italy)

Do you use any online services like ‘’, ‘redbubble’ or ‘cafepress’?
I like OPP  (Other People's Pixels) I like how they format and give the artist more control over their own sites. I really feel that this is so important for artiss to have more hands-on in their own work. I sometimes use

Do you think the internet has changed people’s appreciation of art by making it more accessible?
This is a two-way street to me. I think the internet has become a threshold for getting more people to see art but with so many people doing art, many who should not be, the whole idea of what is appreciated has changed with little or no acumen or aesthetic involved.

What advice would you give to anyone who wanted to take up painting or drawing?
Follow your heart. Dont get into it just because you feel its an easy way out or that you think if you have a degree in art that it will help you. Art is not easy not for the fainthearted especially in these lean times.

Is there anything else you would like to add?
Beyond anything else, as an artist, trust in your own instincts and let others do the same.

2010 “Cosmos” House Gallery, Salt Lake City UT, November
2010 "A Gathering" curated by Shannon Morris, Focus Gallery, GCSU Georgia College and State University Museum, Milledgeville GA

2011 tba Memory, Kohler Art Foundation, Wisconsin
2011  "Home:  Growing up in Appalachia," Jon Coffelt and Dana Jo Cooley, Bryan Gallery, Coastal Carolina University, Loris, SC
2010 "The LA Guilde to the Gallexy," curated by Michael Arata and qi peng, West Los Angeles College Art Gallery, Los Angeles, CA (catalogue)

Jon Coffelt
"Operation Sweet Ride"
Cherry Operation Sweet Ride (Miniature)
Crystal Clear #207
12cm x 24cm x 11cm

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