Dan Coe’s education began at Carnegie Mellon museum in a Saturday art class in Pittsburgh PA during his elementary days. He was chosen along with a few others who showed artistic talent and interest to sketch the masters. He then practiced his style with yearbook projects in high school and commissioned art sales through college. The late David Bashline, a Grove City printer and art professor, mentored and inspired Dan to incorporate his art into the business community while this part-time shop job which fueled his studies. Dan snuck into the art department rooms every chance he could to use easel space and ﬁnd solitude.
After graduation, Dan worked for an office supplier then began a tie-dyed clothing business with a college classmate in the south-side of Pittsburgh. Their store featured a variety of unique designs including a “color-ﬂage” design (sunbursts of yellow, chartreuse and magenta) for Levi jackets and jeans. A debut on a nationally syndicated television show, press releases in The Pittsburgh Press, and two trade shows in New York launched his entrance into the East Coast art scene. Working on large “Warhol-like” canvases Dan freely melted pop design with commercial practicality.
Dan fell in love with and married a local young lady named Nancy who just happened to be an art connoisseur. Her love and practice of art crafts blended with Dan’s work as their love and family grew. Together they sought to conquer the “starving artist” myth with an alternative to minute proﬁts on originals in the suburban art community of Pittsburgh.
In the 90’s, Coes found a ﬂooded wall art market, which inspired him to turn his canvas to furniture. Antiques, ever popular to the middle age crowd opened the door to another medium for Dan. On a spontaneous trip to the beach, a Civil War era chest, beat beyond usage caught the Coe artistic eye. It lay for sale on the side of the road. Dan repaired and restored it, then painted a beautiful landscape on the very plain wood. Since then Dan has studied and appreciated ﬁne antiques restored to near perfection as untouchable. He turned to full time painting-using unﬁnished and stale “ugly” pieces for a local resort furniture store which sold everything that he painted. The only glitch became painting the growing demand for West Coast landscapes and wildlife.
Training began as that store turned their barn-like shop into a furnishings gallery. Dan took a night-shift design job with a local newspaper publisher. As he got used to working in darkness, he explored western markets for art and found Alaska to be an endless source of beauty. Dan and Nancy packed up the children in the summer of 2000 and traveled to see what this new calling was about. Sent by prayers and the commission to bring Light and Love to a pioneer state, the Coes drove to Anchorage where friends there said they must start. Amid commissions like the Bear Display at the zoo and the Salmon at Phyllis’s Clam Bake Restaurant Dan found colleagues like Bob Parsons, the sign painter and Ziggy the muralist to be very encouraging.
Fireweed Gallery sold pieces on consignment here at the biggest gallery in town during this time as HANDPAINTED furniture surpassed 500 original pieces and its ten year anniversary. Needing space for growth, Coes rented space beneath Bunnell Gallery where the art community tolerated sporadic hours and “bohemian” style creativity for a time. A sign commissioned for the upstairs cafe reminded Dan of the need to stay active in the effort to beautify and encourage the Peninsula business community. Brad Hughes suggested a new signage product and gave Dan some tips for sign longevity and HANDPAINTED signs was born. This enabled Coes to build a modest house with a “little help from their friends”-no, a lot of help. Lake Street supplied some much appreciated space in the transition with shop, showroom and suppliers close. With more than 50 signs around Homer, Dan and Nancy have met with many business owners and entrepreneurs who need more of an edge for their product or service. Again the need for space compelled the family business to spread out on their own 3 acres for production.
Dan currently builds and designs all pieces in his home workshop in Anchor Point Alaska. It is our family's passion to beautify your home or business surroundings.