Coyote, sitting, standing, running


I began this series of painting in 2008 as a response to the rapid urbanization that was happening in the Phoenix metro area.  By 2009 the housing market collapsed in Phoenix as well as most other cities and towns throughout the country. Maricopa county’s expansive growth was fueled by the cheap and accessible desert, which situated developers and stakeholders at the forefront of conversations about challenging the sustainability of the region’s natural resources, as well as the economy and equity of it’s inhabitants. Ironically the industry that led the way in the regions immense growth was also the most impacted. Maricopa County specifically was driven by this single industry, the industry of building new homes.   

With this as a backdrop to the work, I soon found my way into a narrative, discovering layers of meaning through first hand experience and transforming the everyday into something new. Introducing coyote to a man-made environment added a new set of questions and curiosities forming a sort of reimagined story of the obvious, or at the very least quietly nudging the viewer toward considering relationships.

The coyote is a perplexing character, the outsider now in, evoking new considerations as a painted arrangement. I’m interested in coyote as a subject of possibility, one whose complex history and relationship with humans over time has shaped a number of perspectives: the mischievous instigator and antihero from cartoons, the invasive species challenging the livelihood of rural ranchers and farmlands, the symbiotic and illusive creature on the periphery of human civilizations, the backyard ornamentation painted in pastel colors, and the seminal figure/character found in many indigenous mythologies told throughout the Americas, whose role in these stories is one who performs mischievous and deceptive acts of taboo and transgressions in order to teach humans of their morality.

Coyote sits and stands on chairs, and runs through vacant man-made homes, wandering throughout quasi-utopian interiors, modern identities associated with place and time. Sometimes specific and not completely universal, the interior space is an evolution of clean lines, of sustainable architectures and ambitious designs available to the average consumer through trendy magazines (Dwell). Forms of the western imagination are now the resting place for nature’s deterministic fortitude on four skinny legs, no longer underfoot, but taking back the places we call home.