Sculptor, painter and mixed media artist Doug Coffin, a Potowatomi and Creek Indian, was born in 1946 and raised in Haskell, Kansas, but for the last eighteen years has lived and worked in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He attended the University of Kansas, Lawrence, earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. After serving in the United States Marine Corps, Coffin returned to the study of art, earning a Master of Fine Arts degree in metalworking at the Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, in 1975. The same year, he received a national teaching fellowship from the Fort Wright College in Spokane, Washington. He has since been an instructor at the College of Santa Fe, New Mexico, and the Institute of American Indian Arts, Santa Fe.
He is best known for his monumental, brightly painted steel and mixed media sculptures. In both his sculptures and paintings, the artist has developed a style that suggests a fusion of the ancient totemic form used by many Native cultures with the abstraction and geometric forms of the modernist. Coffin says, “I have always been fascinated with the medicine and war shields that were often painted from visions. The heart of my work continues to reflect their spiritual significance.” His work has been exhibited widely throughout the world, including the Grand Palais in Paris (France) and the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.