• Toni Jo Coppa, Food Chain
  • Toni Jo Coppa, Caution
  • Toni Jo Coppa, ­Snuggle
  • Toni Jo Coppa, detail, Chitin
  • Toni Jo Coppa, Creatures, Mike Taylor Photography

In my work, I delight in trauma, deviance and anything psychologically charged. The goal is not to shock, but to share. I objectify and then subjugate fear, anger and depres­sion. In this way I find victory over what haunts me and create opportunities to connect with people on a visceral level.

Harvesting emotions from personal memories, I change the original superficial ‘happening’ into suggestive intimate truths. In the paintings, the creative process is inspired by family patterns repeated over generations, and the drive to break from destructive behavior. Using the repetition in wallpaper to represent the death of autonomy, I fight back with performative mark making to destroy the implied result. I play with contradiction as I create, and simultaneously destroy. This becomes a physical and psychic birth­/death­/rebirth cycle that is crucial in my work. Ideally, we all take the hardships of life and turn them into a source of strength. I strive to create something tangible to represent that.

The creatures are the three-­dimensional versions of the fantastic hybrids in the paintings. Inanimate, yet imbued with complex human emotions and expressive body language, these sculptures are my little ‘Frankensteins’. These are also made by the processes of destruction and creation. Vandalized taxidermy forms, they all literally lose their heads before they get new ones. Making the transition from the underworld, they live on the fragile border of reality.

Portland, ME