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my name is

tom coyle


i decorate old boards and other substrates that appeal to me. the result isn't for everyone, but what is? to me, these are simply what paintings should look like.

i'm inspired by scratchiness, imprecision, and rot. my pictures look like something left outside and kicked around. they seem to attract collectors inspired by wabi-sabi, iconoclasm, and dark humor, leavened by an appreciation of genuine folk art. 


most of the images here are cropped. all measurements are in inches and accurate within half an inch. website formatting makes some pictures look bigger or smaller (relative to one another) than they really are. i tweak things continuously, so the images aren't always up-to-date -- more or less they are, but not entirely. all prices are american.


i use acrylic paint, oil pastels, pencils, pens, markers, tape, tempera, glue, house paint, binding media, tempera sticks, and whatever else i can find.


pardon the glare on some of the photos. 

use the chat thing if you have questions or just want to say hi.

a day at the beach.jpg

a day at the beach
24 x 35 x 0.25

am i an outsider artist? no. first, i don't think you can be an outsider and know the term. and the moment you learn it, and begin to think it applies you, you're automatically wrong. also, i enjoy the patronage of an art gallery and collectors. so i'm in the loop, and can't pretend not to be.


48.25 x 24 x 0.25 on masonite

i'm self-taught -- i can't imagine anyone being surprised about that. if we had art classes in grade school, they weren't memorable. on the other hand, i've been a doodler all my life, which must count for something.


20.5 x 48 x 0.75 on metal and wood $5100

a sheet of tin bolted to warped plywood. i'm obsessed with sumerian eyes.


15 x 29.25 x 0.25 on plywood

i cribbed the pictographs from the indus valley civilization, but i don't know what they mean. mind you, no one else does.


an evening in
36 x 21 x 1 on wood

inspired by a friend from prince edward island.

out for a walk
11 x 25 x 0.5 on wood

i'd like to know from bird watchers if this creature (the bird, i mean) resembles anything in nature.


octobre 1970
32.75 x 21 x 0.25 on tileboard

when i was seven, the flq and the manson family were in the news, and feelings ran high.

36.5 x 11.75 x 1.25 on metal

found this metal substrate on a roadside near bar harbor in 2019. it was a piece of a file cabinet or something, but already detached. metal is one of my favorite things to paint on. oh, and this is one of my "animal friends" paintings, depicting unusual interactions.


11 x 22 0.5 on plywood

ripped off from a depiction of the english king ethelred the unready (in an old sense of the word meaning poorly advised). the original is in the thirteenth-century chronicle of abingdon.


16 x 30 x 0.25 on wood

an oak veneer i peeled off an old sewing-machine cabinet.

this is my neighborhood
20 x 8 x 1.25 on canvas

is it obvious i painted this in the first days of the lockdown in 2020? the words on our whirling friend's top tentacle are "everything will be fine." i guess the raised (and also tentacled*) glob in the top right is the invader. no points for subtlety, right? i can't remember what the big letters say. it's the leftovers of what i remembered from a homeless guy's sign, which I'd thought to include in total, but then i decided to cut it off.

* or are they cilia?

16 x 20 x 0.25 on wood

i could draw turbans all day.

Heading 4


41 x 14.25 x 1.25 on a wooden crate top

so she goes, "the word bitch has been used to describe a female canid since approximately 1000 ce, and as a derogatory term for a woman since about 1500 ce," and the guy twirling his mustache says nothing, but then mickey is all, "i wonder what took them so long." The background is simple. i came across a discussion of the word bitch online somewhere, in which someone posited something like what the young lady says, and mickey's musing was the first thing that popped into my head.


caro diario
17 x 15.5 x 1 on wood

next to turbans, i love berets here, i was thinking about the time, ages ago, i saw the caro diario, the old (and not very interesting) movie by nanni moretti.

Heading 4


47 x 31 x 1 on plywood

thing has a metal rim, like it was maybe the top or bottom of a crate. i can't remember.


20.5 x 48 x 0.75 on metal and wood

a sheet of tin bolted (only at the top) to some warped old plywood. the words say, "this is [crossed out: a kitten] a lion cub that froze in [crossed out: ice] the ice age."


charles xii and the
reconquest of greenland
22.75 x 22.25 x 0.25 on plywood

as far as i know, charles xii didn't dress like this, hold a big white shield, or have anything to do with greenland.


blue room
40 x 38 x 0.50 on strand board

i should have been a fashion designer. right?

29 x 15 x 0.25

one of my favorite turbans -- and though it doesn't doesn't show up well here, maybe one of my best boards.

statue of the man who made the statue of the horse
96 x 48 on hardboard 

too bad this looks so puny here. i have to get used to big surfaces cuz over a few days in august im collaborating with russ d'alessio on two pieces this size. he'll open his gallery for free wine and music and whatnot while we each work on a board, and then we'll switch off the next day, and either work to complete each other's vision or utterly fucking vandalize it.

yellow field 
30 x 16 x 0.25 on plywood

very damaged board, which is always exciting.

24 x 36 x 1.5 on canvas

this was a canvas art photograph i bought at a thrift store. once home, i covered that shit in paint forthwith and then buried it in at least six inches of spray-foam insulation. then i outlined the central figure, and cut the shape out of the foam with a paring knife. (in the end, i scraped most of the foam off, leaving a nice bumpiness, but my method was overkill.) for some reason all that took like a year, off and on.


22.75 x 14 x 0.5 on wood

it's on part of a yard-sale haul: an old cradle. not sure if for a baby or a doll -- too small for one and too big for the other, if you know what i mean. it depicts a young woman who was murdered on stalin's orders.


22 x 23 x 0.25 on plywood

i don't know why people get excited about that stupid old painting american gothic. here's a version that looks good and makes sense. fuck wyeth too. that's not glare on the pic, it just kind of shimmers.

24 x 36 x 1 on canvas

an example, i think, of constructive auto-vandalism.


17.5 x 30.5 x 0.75 particle board

maybe I'm still sore about the purges, maybe I'm making fun of how the word is getting chucked around again these days. anyway the bolsheviks made nice posters.


white fez
22 x 25 x 0.50 on plywood

this almost square painting was the top of the crate my washing machine came in. thematically, it's the mate to another one called red turban (which was painted on the bottom of the same crate). the thing with the tentacles back there is supposed to be pulcinella, a stock character from italian theater (i'm told) -- which doesn't normally have tentacles (i'm also told). the foreground character reminds me of an old boss.


25.25 x 30 x 1 (irregular) on wood

murnau, the village south of munich, not the old film director. st. george, the dragon slayer, is its patron. the place has a  myth from ancient times involving a creature said to have inhabited a nearby lake. plus kandinsky.

24 x 18 x 1 on canvas

this painting got slashed in a passion. for real -- and not  by me.


23 x 19 x 0.75 on pressboard

minoans or something.

believe it or not!
17 x 43 x 1.75 on wood (slates)

this used to be a door on my kitchen cabinets (before i ripped them out in search of fun substrates), probably from the 1920s. anyway, when i was young, i really liked these little believe it or not paperbacks we had around, and maybe it was in a comic strip too, like in the newspaper.

i'll show you ugly

24 x 24 x 0.25 on metal



found the sheet in the middle of the road after a wind storm. it was pretty clear where it came from but i took it anyway


red turban
22 x 25 x 0.50 on wood

this one stems from a conversation about stock characters in italian comedy (about which i know nothing, so i was all ears). that's supposed to be arlecchino (sp?) in the back there, whose basic disposition i'm told i got wrong, which makes sense because i was guessing. i'm more interested in the guy in the foreground.

24 x 24 x 1 on wood

i don't like being called an artist. my business is decorating boards, not trying to be cultural. i always assume people who call themselves artists aren't.

land and freedom

24 x 42 x 0.5 on wood


dedan kimathi was killed for trying to talk about land reform. more or less.

this is you

18 x 24 x 0.25 on cardboard


the more you deny it, the truer it is, you fucking pig.


27.5 x 31.5 x 1 on wood planks

remember, look at the measurements I provide, not the relative size on this website.


bora scura
24 x 24 x 0.25 on hardboard

i know a place where the wind starts up out of nowhere and freezes shit immediately.

the old king

24 x 37 x 0.25 on wood


a guy who spent a year less a day in the manhattan detention complex told me he experienced sensory overload on his way back uptown.

6 x 23.5 x 1 (irregular) on wood

our guy is on a small plank that tapers at the bottom, about to be devoured by a burrowing creature coming straight out of the ground. plus it's small enough to hit someone with.

47.5 x 31 x o.25 on wood


from my "animal friends" phase.

email if you have questions.

snake lady
20.75 x 33.5 x 0.25 on tile board

about 80% of the snake is a big swirl of adhesive on the back of some ripped-out tile board i found in a thrift shop. it depicts a late victorian person, and there's a cork in it. 

design for a pirate flag
29 x 17 x 0.50 on some old board

everyone should have a pirate flag and this is mine.


plague dr
30 x 34 x 0.5 on plywood and the board is a bit askew


who doesn't enjoy the sight of an old leech?

40 x 20 x 0.25

bronze-age people had insane ideas about the shape of rocks.


fool's gold leaf
24 x 36 x 2 on canvas

that's gold-leaf-bound paper towel in the background. tom for the crafting win!


30.5 x 32 x 0.50

shitshow monk from florence. 

18 x 54 x 1 on wood

i had a paper route when i was a kid, and one of my customers had a black and white print (i guess? an etching?) of a medieval knight, a little like this one (if memory serves), and it always impressed me. they were a very nice english couple, refined in a nicest way. i left this board out all winter one year to age it properly.

54 x 27 x 0.50 on warped plywood


homage to a foal that was flash-frozen 42,000 years ago. 

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