Jon Coffelt

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1991 Absolut Vodka ad by Coffelt

Jon Coffelt (born May 16, 1963 in Dunlap, Tennessee) is an artist and gallery owner who lived and worked for almost two decades in Birmingham. He is currently working in New York City.

Coffelt has been painting since he was eight years old. It was his grandfather who taught him how to work in this medium. Coffelt still considers himself a colorist and he actually started out in the fashion industry designing fabrics for Willi Smith in the 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.

From 1993 until 2001 Coffelt, with partner Shawn Boley and Jan Hughes, owned and operated Agnes, a gallery devoted to socially aware photography, short film/video and book arts.

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 in Atlanta , Birmingham [1], Boston, Chattanooga, Charleston SC, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, Mobile, Montgomery, Nashville, New Orleans, New York, Palo Alto CA, Philadelphia and San Francisco, as well as, Barcelona, Cork (Ireland), Kyoto, Leonard On Sea (UK), London, Mexico City, Montreal and Tokyo.

In 1999 Coffelt was chosen to be part of an exhibit at The Birmingham Museum of Art called "Galore: The Continuous Painting Wall" which was curated by David Moos. Other artists who participated in this exhibit include Lydia Dona, Dennis Hollingsworth, Ingo Meller, Thomas Nozkowski, and Leslie Wayne. In 2002 Coffelt received the "City of Birmingham Distinguished Artist Award" at the Magic City Art Connection. 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 along with works by Westen Charles, Udomsak Krisanamis, Vincent Fecteau, Sam Gordon, Anne Howard, Genie Kell, Robert Melee and Darío Robleto.

Coffelt has evolved from painting in a minimalist, op art vein to creating collages using duct tape and vellum. His newest work is a series of full-size motorcycles in polyurethane resin to look like huge chunks of Jolly Rancher candy each in a different flavor/color.

Coffelt is included in many prestigious public and private collections including American Express, ASCAP, Birmingham International Airport, Birmingham Museum of Art, Capitol Records, 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. This exhibition deals with the influence that a sense of place can have on the artist. The focus here lies in the significance of medium in artists' work "and how their chosen media may also function as the content or the subject. "Art and Place II: Material at Hand for Center for the Living Arts/Space 301, Mobile, Alabama".

On January 31, 2008, Ten Cubed of "Second Life" launched its inaugural exhibition, Crossing the Void II. Owner and curator Shaughnessy selected five artists working in and with modern technologies. These artists included Coffelt along with Chris Ashley from Oakland, CA, Claire Keating from Cork, Ireland, Scott Kildall from San Francisco, CA and Nathaniel Stern originally from New York, NY now in Dublin, Ireland.

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, Feliz Gondalez-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 J. M. Walker.


  • 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.

External links