The video below is The Mighty Mighty BossTones on Jimmy Kimmel Live! Featuring The Art of Nan Coffey.
Nan often paints large format paintings that span hundreds of square feet. She posts progress pictures as she works on social media so that her audience online can view her process and see the progression along with her. Once complete, she has San Diego photographer John Schulz photograph her with the finished works to show the scale of the finished paintings. In July 2015, Nan experimented with her first “Audience Participation” painting in which she asked her Facebook followers to tell her a little bit about themselves (what they love and what makes them happy) and from all this information, she would give shout-outs to them within the painting as she worked. The joyous reaction from her online audience to this project and their inclusion in it prompted a change in Nan and dynamically altered her mission in life. She has taken to calling this “Inclusion Art.” In Nan’s words:
“When I did my first public participation painting in 2015, it was a social experiment to see if people would respond if I asked them to participate in one of my works. I wanted to see if I could take all this information from friends and total strangers and flow it into one unified piece. I felt that by doing that, I could free myself from my comfort zone of making paintings to sell in galleries. Before I started that first project, I was in a place of frustration and boredom. Quite frankly, I was utterly, miserably unsure of my place in life. What ended up happening is that through that project, I started to find my purpose - not only as an artist, but in life.
My art is now focused largely on inclusion. We should all work in this world to include, not exclude people. My art is about breaking down walls, not putting them up. It's about learning more about each other, listening to each other, connecting with each other, recognizing each other and in the end, simply loving one another. What I have noticed, thanks to everyone that participates and shares their stories, is that no matter where we come from or where we are in life, we are not all that different from each other. It is the connections we make in life and the love we show to one another that really matters. I intend to use my art as a vehicle to demonstrate this visually to as many people as I can..”
Nan has a BA in Animation from the SF Academy of the Arts. From time to time, Nan will paint live at galleries or public events for people to view her process. Locally, Nan has art hanging at the Bali Hai Restaurant and Tender Greens locations in Liberty Station and Downtown San Diego.