Artist Joel Coplin

An example of fine art by Joel Coplin

Photo of Joel Coplin


In 1977 I hitched a ride in the back of a horse van from Minneapolis heading to New York to study under Frank Mason at The Art Students League of New York, which I did for eight years.
Frank Mason N.A. was a premier classicist painter versed in the methods and materials of the Old Masters which is why I was originally drawn to him. Later my studies brought me to realize he was much more.
I was in New York in the early 80’s . I was exposed to and hung out with many painters of that era. Jean Michele Basquiat, Kenny Scharf, Keith Haring, Rene Ricard were acquaintances through the club scene which was a wild time but I was always able to retreat to the venerable League to lose myself in the craft of drawing and painting the antique casts and working from the live model which they would have thought ridiculous.
Frank was not so different from the Post Expressionists. Although he taught thorough academic training his emphasis was on finding your own hand writing, your own idiosyncrasies , your own shorthand which is what the expressionists did out of hand.  Finding what you want to say through your work though was strictly up to you.  That I believe should take years to mature.
I moved out to Arizona in 1985 to a unique artist community in the Far East Phoenix valley.  This allowed me the time and space to find my hand and the opportunity to start showing.
My paintings and sculptures are intended to be reactions to our collective experience of living in the second decade of the 21st century. The titles may explain. Dangerous Dance, Fight in the Garden, Monkeys on a Rock, The Drunken Boat.  I also derive my inspirations from poetry, music, literature, theater and personal experience.
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