Coffelt is the son of John Henry and Dorcas Ann Shadrick Coffelt. He and his two sisters (Joanna and Janie) were raised in the towns of Palmer and Griffith Creek in the East Tennessee mountains. He began painting when he was eight years old, learning at his grandfather's side and developing a strong sense of color which still forms the foundation of his art.
Coffelt began his professional career as a fabric designer for Willi Smith in the mid-1980s. Once he decided to devote his full energies to art he was commissioned to paint over 100 works for the Parisian department store chain. In 1989 Coffelt received "Outstanding Ten Year Alumnus" from the Southern Institute. Coffelt was the inaugural artist at Space One Eleven when it opened in 1989 in Birmingham.
In 1991 Coffelt was commissioned by Absolut Vodka to kick off its "Absolut Statehood" campaign representing the state of Alabama; the result was shown in a full-page ad in USA Today, Time, Genre, Out and Science Digest among others. Coffelt at the time was the youngest artist ever commissioned by Absolut Vodka. Absolut added other works by him to their corporate collection displayed in Stockholm, Sweden.
From 1994 to 1996, Coffelt served as editor and publisher of Alabama Art Monthly, a first-of-its-kind art magazine in the state. In 2002 Coffelt closed the gallery in order to move to New York and give his own art undivided attention. Over the last several years his work has been shown across the United States and in several overseas exhibits.
In 1999 Coffelt was chosen to be part of a special exhibit at the Birmingham Museum of Art called "Galore: The Continuous Painting Wall" which was curated by David Moos. In 2002 Coffelt received the "City of Birmingham Distinguished Artist Award" at the Magic City Art Connection. David Moos wrote the foreword for the published festival guide. The same year, Coffelt's work was selected to be part of "The Longest Winter" curated by Gean Moreno for Florida Atlantic University.
Coffelt's work has evolved from minimalist, op-art paintings into collages using duct tape and vellum. Among his recent works are a series of full-size motorcycles in bright-colored polyurethane resin.
Coffelt is included in many prestigious public and private collections including American Express, ASCAP, Birmingham International Airport, Birmingham Museum of Art, Capitol Records, Absolut Museet (Stolkholm, Sweden), Lord International (US Headquarters), Mercedes Corp, Progressive Insurance, Saks Fifth Avenue, Southern Living, and many others.
In 2007 Clayton Colvin curated "Art and Place II: Material at Hand" for Center for the Living Arts/Space 301 featuring the work of Coffelt and nine other artists.
On January 31, 2008, Ten Cubed of "Second Life" launched its inaugural exhibition, Crossing the Void II. Owner and curator, Haydn Shaughnessy selected Coffelt for the exhibit along with four other artists who work and with art and technology.
As a curator, Coffelt has produced notable group shows. In 2005 he curated "Going Within" on behalf of Visual AIDS. The exhibition included works by Barton Lidice Benes, Robert Blanchon, Bruce Wesley Boyce, Félix González-Torres, David Krueger, Chuck Nanney, David Nelson, Eric Rhein, Clifford Smith, Paul Thek, Nora Wallower, Bruce William Witsiepe and David Wojnarowicz. The following year he curated an exhibit of drawings, paintings, collages, installations and photographs entitled "Contour: The Definitive Line". Artists represented included Sara Garden Armstrong, Steve Baris, Luis Carle, Travis Childers, Clayton Colvin, Jacob Hill Grad, Louis Hill, Lee Isaacs, Antjuan Oden, Amy Pleasant, Eric Rhein, Jessica Rosner, Virginia Scruggs, Joel Seah, Yuko Shimizu, Sean Slemon, and Jess Marie Walker. Coffelt curates Artist's Book exhbitions for [Http://www.centralbookingnyc.com Central Booking in NYC.
- O'Brien, Glenn (1991) "Absolut Statehood: 51 Painters' Visions of Their Home States." Teaneck, New Jersey: Carillon Importers. ISBN 0893815632
- LeGrand, Lissa (April 2006) "Interview with Jon Coffelt" for WBHM's Tapestry program.
- Moos, David (2000) "Twists on Domesticity." Catalog. Birmingham: Space One Eleven.
- Coffelt, Jon (2005) "Curator's Statement" for "Going Within" exhibit at Visual AIDS - accessed May 12, 2007
- Coffelt, Jon (2006) "Curatorial Statement" for "Contour: The Definitive Line" exhibit at Amanda Schedler Fine Art - accessed May 12, 2007
- Nelson, James R. (March 22, 2001) "Works of 2 Contemporary Artists Make for Fascinating Show." Birmingham News.
- Raabe, Nancy (February 25, 2001) "An Artist's View of Art, Life, and Inspiration." Birmingham News
- Peng, Qi (April 23, 2009) "Assassination: Jon Coffelt, Artist Represented by AMMO and Haydn Shaughnessy Gallery and Curator" Salt Lake City Fine Arts Examiner