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Artist Spotlight: Allyson Burke Coffren


Allyson Burke Coffren was born and raised in northern Kentucky. She graduated magna cum laude from Savannah College of Art & Design, and afterward worked for their Exhibitions department in Savannah, GA. During this time she painted many murals and commissions as well as her first bull.  She then moved to Charlotte, NC and worked for the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art as the Exhibitions Manager. In her spare time she continued painting and began to use bovine as the subjects for personal storylines. In Charlotte, she met and married her husband and had their 1st child. Soon after becoming pregnant with their 2nd, they moved to New Orleans, LA where she started painting full-time. Though Coffren enjoyed being in Louisiana she missed being near family, so they moved to northern Kentucky where she gave birth to her 3rd child. Here she not only paints but works for the University of Cincinnati's Art Collection.

How do you want your work to affect your audience?

I want the viewer to feel seen.  My work is about my life and the experiences I've had, but I think to a degree everyone else has had these experiences too.  Even though I use bovine to represent me and the people in my life, the viewer sees that subject mad, tired, or struggling, and they identify with the gentle giant because they have been there before.


How do you overcome creative blocks?

I walk away from the studio for a bit, and change up my daily routine. If all that you read is sci-fi, try a historical biography. Never been on a ghost tour? Try one. Haven't been to that side of town yet? Go. You find inspiration through life so all you have to do is go live it for a bit. 


Who are some fellow artists, or artists in general, who have inspired you throughout your career?

Maurice de Vlaminck's work made me fall in love with rich bright color.

Gregory Eltringham was one of my favorite professors and his work is standalone incredible- @gregoryeltringham.

Mary Cassatt and Sally Mann's work made me feel bold enough to paint about my children and being a mother.

Kiki Smith and Marina Abramović's work showed me it's okay to show your dark side in order to see your light side.


How do you define success as an artist?

If your most recent creation doesn't look anything like your first one, or better yet, the one before. So I am not really there yet.


What’s the biggest challenge of being an artist?

Not enough time. You need money to make it and support yourself, experiences to fuel ideas, socializing to sell, and education to evolve.  All of these things require a lot of time.


Graeters or Aglamesis? Skyline or Gold Star?

Graeters and Gold Star.

Join us on July 11th for the debut of "Summer Portraits" and experience Coffren's compelling artwork firsthand! 

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