Coco Pekelis

Coco’s paintings, which she calls “scribbled auras,” combine words and images to create evocative portraits of her subjects, both human and animal—her pig Albert, her donkey Emma, and a neighbor’s cow, Bertha, are among the “people” who have sat for their portraits. In these images, Coco is as interested in the interior life of her subjects as in their physical appearance—hence the use of words, phrases, and stories in her paintings.

Coco explains it this way: “I feel the personality of whoever you’re painting is the most important thing. When you see a portrait, you want it to tell you what that person was like. Were they talkative, outgoing, or did they lead an active inner life that you discern beneath the surface? Sometimes I draw on tales from Greek mythology and the Arabian Nights because these stories express our fantasy life in a way that is often more true than the facts of our lives. We live most of our lives inside our heads and that’s the quality I wanted to express in these paintings.”

Aside from her shows at the Romany Kramoris Gallery, she loves participating in the annual flower show. Somehow she always manages to get her beloved animals in there somewhere. Besides, at she pointed out on a recent cable TV show, “cows and donkeys eat flowers, so it all connects somehow.”

Coco has had several sold-out shows in upstate New York and was recently featured in an Andy Warhol retrospective at the Chelsea Hotel in New York City. She also had the “great honor” of being banned in Walton, New York, where her paintings, hung in a bank lobby, were deemed “wicked” and “pagan.”

Who knows? This may be true. She is author of the best-selling Everything I Know I Learned on Acid. For many years she traveled the world performing in Meredith Monk’s avant-garde dance company—which included absolutely no dancing! And of course And of course there was a Bread and Puppet Theatre, which was an artistic adventure in itself.

More images and information available upon request