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The Black Coat Project

The Black Coat Project began a s a simple notion that was produced by a sensory

reaction. A number of black coats were acquired as costume pieces for a chapter of

The Journey Project, entitled, The Gateʼs Of Heaven. One coat stood out from the rest in

its pure luxury and sensual quality. I pondered the idea of whether or not a complete

project might be ignited by this one single article of clothing.

By choice I made everything as simple as I possibly could, eliminating everything but the

coat a woman and a pair of shoes. The coat and shoes became a uniform. From painting to

painting they remained constant and unchanging amplifying the unique beauty of each

woman. The women are not idealized clones. Their beauty is represented as it exists in real

life. Itʼs is the individuality of each woman and how she responded to the coat that is


As a narrative artist my fist challenge was to completely eliminate the narrative element from

this new body of work. Without my interference the experience of bringing together woman

and artifact would reveal itʼs purpose and support itʼs artistic merit. To create beautiful

images is in itself a sufficient motive for making art. There are, as I have proven constantly

over my career, many other levels that can be interwoven into a painting or series of

paintings that enrich itʼs value. The beauty is not optional but is a necessary constant as is

truth and sincerity and passion.

In the past I have conceived and constructed my projects as vehicles to support socially

relevant narratives. Many of which have dealt with difficult and disturbing material. In the case

of The Black Coat Project I have challenged my own methods of creating a theatre in which

to support the idea by allowing the object itself to suggest itʼs purpose. The fist year of

The Black Coat Project has been dedicated to following itʼs inspiration and overcoming the

logistical obstacles in itʼs translation from idea to physical form. During this time, bit by bit the

tiny pieces of a much bigger picture were presenting themselves to me.

Over my my more than 25 year career working with countless women I have developed

wonderful friendships with many of them. During that time I have learned more than I

expected and wished to about the physical and psychological abuse of women. This was

not a feature of The Black Coat Project when I first started though I cannot say that it did not

lurk deep in my subconscious.

In working with the women who now represent the first phase of the Black Coat Project I

spent many hours with them. Not outlining my grand artistic vision and what function they

would supply to it because they had no function. The were the entire point. Instead I asked

and listened and observed to best understand who each of them were as individuals. This

crystalized the potential of the Black Coat. What is represented in the first 15 paintings is a

disturbing proportion of these women that are or have been victims of abuse.

It is from this that the Black Coat Project takes itʼs purpose. Not as a Narrative vehicle but a

symbol of this specific social crime that is committed against millions of women every

minute of every day. The ambition of The Black Coat is to first be art. An Exploration and a

celebration of female beauty. In conjunction with womenʼs groups and organizations It can

also provide a tangible means of providing awareness of this social injustice and financial

support to those working on the front lines.

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