Name: Terrence James Coffman
City/Town: Jefferson, Wisconsin
Places: I currently live in Jefferson, WI. I was born in Washington, DC and grew up in Falls Church, VA. In the mid ’90’s I lived in Lacoste, France where I began writing about Vincent van Gogh. In my research of Vincent’s life and work, I travelled several times to Holland, Belgium and many cities, towns and villages where Vincent painted.
Loves: I am fascinated by history and how it shapes the present. Most of my writing entails history and period characters. Artists and creative people are a recurring theme in my stories.
Teachers/Education: After leaving high school, I attended the Corcoran College of Art in Washington, DC. In 1966, I received a scholarship to the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine, where I studied with Elmer Bishoff, Larry Rivers, and James Brooks. I have been the president of two American colleges of art, artist-in-residence at two colleges and I currently offer workshops for established artists.
Occupation: I am an abstract painter, historical fiction writer, musician and actor. Recently, I adapted my novel, A Walk Through the Wheatfields: the missing journals of Vincent van Gogh, into a play, allowing me to bring Vincent to life in front of audiences.
Creative Works: My website as a visual artist is www.terrencecoffmanstudio.com. My van Gogh site is www.vincentvangoghlive.com.
Quote: I am inspired by a line in one of van Gogh’s letters to his brother Theo: “It is just as interesting to paint with words as with a brush.”
What would one find in the pages of your Paperblanks journal?
Within the Paperblanks Embellished Manuscripts, Van Gogh book cover I inserted yellowed manila paper revealing my hand-distressed fictional journal entries purportedly written by Vincent. The storyline is that these three journals were lost in the vast warehouses of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC and after 50 years, they were discovered and published under suspicious circumstances.
Do you have any personal philosophies you’ve come to develop about writing, art, creation or culture?
I seem to move through the world as if I am a character in a novel. Being an artist and a writer has taught me that there is always another canvas to paint or another story to tell.
Do you have any specific themes you refer to frequently?
In painting, it is the landscape that inspires me. In writing, a good yarn.
No matter what type of creative art you make, what or who first inspired you to make it an essential part of your life?
I was born with a gift. I believe that is the case with all creative people. We are given a little piece of God. It is the ability to create something from nothing.
How did you find Paperblanks?
I was in the Paper Source store near Chicago and came across the Old Leather Handtooled journal. At the time I had finished the re-write of my van Gogh book. I immediately thought this Paperblanks journal would make a nice cover for the novel. I emailed, and eventually spoke to, the US Sales & Key Accounts Manager at Hartley & Marks, the publishers of Paperblanks, about my idea. I asked if it would be okay to insert my van Gogh writings between the covers of the journal. I was happy when she told me that since childhood van Gogh has been her favorite artist. She then informed me that there was a new series of journals entitled Embellished Manuscripts. AND there was a van Gogh one!!!!!! When I saw it I was amazed and excited. I am so grateful and honored to be able to put my creation inside such a perfect cover.
What sets Paperblanks apart from other journals you’ve used?
Craftsmanship and beauty. They make you want to write or draw in them.
Do you have a favourite Paperblanks design?
I love the Embellished Manuscripts Collection and, of course, my favorite is the Van Gogh, Sketch in a Letter Ultra.
Do you have any advice for other creative people?
As Joseph Campbell said, “Follow your bliss.”
About Paperblanks: At Paperblanks, we believe that art should have a place in all aspects of life. That’s why we follow the artist’s way in everything we do – creating, crafting and releasing designs we believe have the power to touch people. For more about Paperblanks, go to our website at paperblanks.com.
Loved seeing this about and from Terry…an amazing and creative artist.
Milwaukee’s CAVT Museums are fortunate to have Terrence Coffman, the Grand Prize recipient of our 2014 Forward Exhibition, bringing his Van Gogh Live performance to the Charles Allis Art Museum on October 25. As we continue to learn more and more about Terrence, we look more and more forward to this one-night special event.
He truly is! What an interesting take on telling an artist’s story.
Milwaukee’s CAVT Museums are fortunate to have Terrence Coffman, the Grand Prize recipient of our 2014 Forward Exhibition, bringing his Van Gogh Live performance to the Charles Allis Art Museum on October 25. The more we learn about Terrence and his work, the more we look forward to this special theatre event.
Thanks for sharing this with our readers, Ann. Visitors to Milwaukee’s 2014 Forward Exhibition are lucky audience members, indeed!
Ooooo this sounds so interesting and mysteriously delightful! I MUST have one!
It’s truly a beautiful, unique work of art. For more information about getting your own copy, please check out Terrence’s Van Gogh Live website: http://www.vincentvangoghlive.com/#/books/.
Terry is a gift to all of his students and friends!
my mother died last year – my dad is alone – let me know about your buckeystown book I can send him one for xmas – loved toby and cori – amy hughes (miss buckeystown 1980)