Daniel McCoy Jr.’s father was an Irish biker and his mother a member of the Muscogee (Creek) Tribe of Oklahoma. His paintings bear influences from both sides, the aesthetic of psychedelic counterculture melding easily with the modernist flat style of mid-century Native painters like Fred Kabotie and Woody Crumbo. The day we met, he reverently pulled out examples of his father’s drawings on old paper bags from many decades past.
There were images of cars, one still life, and a couple of self-portraits. In the self-portraits, Daniel McCoy Sr. pictures himself riding a Harley (he was once a member of Hell’s Angels) in concentric haloes of fluorescent color among beasts you might see in the movie Dune.
The campy color palette and frenetic, wavy line-work that the younger McCoy (Citizen Potawatomi Nation) perfected easily lend to comic, even ironic, meditations on everything from Aristotle’s Great Chain of Being, to Allsup’s famed hot sauce. Pop culture, Americana, punk rock—it’s all there. His experiences vary just as widely, and each, it seems, comes into play in his paintings, including a stint as a sign painter. All are entry points for stories. And when McCoy starts chopping it up, there’s always a bit of self-deprecating humor in the mix.