- Joe Coleman (painter)
painter, illustrator and performance artist.
He was born Joseph Coleman, Jr. in
Norwalk, Connecticutto a World War II-veteran father and the daughter of a professional prizefighter. He was raised Roman Catholic. Despite his mother's excommunication, she regularly took Joe to mass, a major early influence on his work. His first drawings as a child were of bleeding saints, death by fire, and stabbing.
In first grade, Coleman was placed in a class for emotionally disturbed, disabled, and retarded children. At age 10 he received an art award from
Lady Bird Johnsonfor a drawing of garbage. At age 12, he set a fire in his elementary school yard and "confessed" to committing several murders, to a priest at Norwalk's St. Mary's Catholic Church.
Coleman briefly attended the
School of Visual Artsin New York Cityin 1976, but was soon expelled for refusing to paint in the abstract style.
Cosmic Retribution"] Coleman is best know for intricately detailed portraits of subjects both famous and infamous: artists, outlaws, serial killers, movies stars, friends, and family. He paints with a single-hair brush and uses a jewelers loupe; much of the detail is not visible to the naked eye. The majority of his portraits portray the central subject in the center of the canvas, lozenges containing biographical scenes and details from the subject's life ring the central image.
His work draws as much from Coleman's beginnings as a comic book artist as from historical precedents. His paintings are most often compared to those of
Hieronymus Bosch, and his work has been exhibited alongside canvases by the Dutch master.
In 2006, Coleman had a major retrospective at New York's Jack Tilton Gallery entitled "Joe Coleman: 30 Paintings and a Selection from the Odditorium," curated by
Steven Holmes. The following year he had one-man shows at two major European museums, in Paris at the Palais de Tokyo, and "Joe Coleman Internal Digging" at Berlin's KW Institut. In 2008, New York's Dickinson Gallery exhibited Coleman's work together with "Devotio Moderno: Joe Coleman/Northern Primitives" paintings by Hans Memlingand other 15th century early Netherlandish painters.
Edgar Allan Poe
Paul John Knowles
P. T. Barnum
Coleman's work has been featured on the covers of many books including:
*"You Can't Win"
The Mystery of Wolverine Woo-Bait"
Apocalypse Culture II"
Under the Empire of the Birds"
His pranks — including appearing to blow himself up and
medieval-style geekantics — have been documented in the " Pranks!" volume of Re/Search Books, along with the works of some of his contemporaries such as Boyd Rice.
Coleman is an avid enthusiast for weird, dark American culture and a serious collector of
sideshowoddities. He's a patron of Johnny Fox's Freakatoriumin New York City(where he lives) and was a supporter and good friend of the late rockabillyeccentric Hasil Adkins. He also acted in " Black Hearts Bleed Red", a 1992 film adaptation of Flannery O'Connor's short story " A Good Man Is Hard To Find", made by New York independent film director Jeri Cain Rossi, and also in " Scarlet Diva", Asia Argento's 2003 film debut as director.
Cosmic Retribution: The Infernal Art of Joe Coleman" by Joe Coleman ( Fantagraphics, 1992, paperback, ISBN 0-922915-06-7; Feral House, 1993, hardcover, ISBN 0-922915-13-X).
The Man of Sorrows" by Joe Coleman ( Gates of Heck, 1993, hardcover, ISBN 0-9638129-0-4; republished in 1998).
*"" by Joe Coleman,
John Yau, Jim Jarmusch, Harold Schechter, and Katharine Gates( Heck Editions, 1997, paperback, ISBN 0-9638129-6-3).
R.I.P., Rest in Pieces: A Portrait of Joe Coleman" (1997, directed by Robert-Adrian Pejo, starring Joe Coleman and Jim Jarmusch, DVD).
The Book of Joe" by Joe Coleman, Anthony Haden-Guest, Katharine Gates, Asia Argento, Rebecca Lieb, and Jack Sargeant( Last Gasp/ La Luz de Jesus Press, 2003, hardcover, ISBN 0-86719-578-9).
Muzzlers, Guzzlers, and Good Yeggs" (Fantagraphics Books, 2005, hardcover, ISBN 1-56097-628-4).
* [http://www.joecoleman.com/ JoeColeman.com]
* [http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/03/arts/design/03stra.htmlJoe Coleman Gets a Retrospective at the Tilton Gallery in Manhattan] in The
New York Times
* [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9804E7DE163BF935A1575BC0A96F958260&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss AT HOME WITH -- Joe Coleman; Saints and Monsters] in The
New York Times
*" [http://home.online.no/~janbruun/writings/coleman.html Joe Coleman Puts Pain Back in Painting] " by
*" [http://lacitybeat.com/article.php?id=481&IssueNum=28 The Horrible Happy Life of Joe Coleman] " in "
Los Angeles CityBeat", 17 December 2003
* [http://www.myspace.com/llikyouridols Official Myspace page] for "Llik your idols", a documentary about the Cinema of Transgression featuring Joe Coleman
* [http://www.ubu.com/film/rossi.html Jeri Cain Rossi's 1992 film "Black Hearts Bleed Red" starring Joe Coleman]
* [http://www.showhistory.com/coleman.html Short piece from showhistory.com on Joe Coleman's role as modern day "Geek"]
* [http://www.esoterra.org/joec.htm Interview with Joe Coleman: A Look Inside an Infernal Machine!!]
* [http://www.bizarremag.com/entertainment/heroes/7170/joe_coleman.html Joe Coleman] in
* [http://www.bizarremag.com/entertainment/heroes/94/joe_coleman.html Joe Coleman] by
Jack Sargeantin Bizarre (magazine)
* [http://www.rawvision.com/articles/64/coleman/coleman.html From the Sideshow to the Bigtop: Joe Coleman] by Rebecca Lieb in Raw Vision
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