Markus Pierson credits a 1976 Joni Mitchell song for inspiring the coyote paintings hes made over the past two decades. Eighteen of the pieces are now on display at Contessa Gallerys 20 Years of Changing Lives. Theres an emotional integrity that coyotes offer, says Pierson. If theyre heartbroken, you cant miss it. If they feel something good, theyre not feigning themselves to become something theyre not. Its cool that something feels so deeply that youre not going to get anything other than what they are.
When Pierson started the project 20 years ago, he had just been diagnosed with Crohns disease, a potentially deadly ailment that attacks the digestive tract. To cheer him up, Piersons friend recommended he listen to Mitchells Coyote. You cant tell if shes referring to an actual coyote or a man she had nicknamed that, says Pierson. But in a crisis situation, where it looks like youll lose everything, the song helps you get to that place where nothing weighs you down.
Fridays, Saturdays, 10 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sundays, 12-7 p.m.; Mondays-Thursdays, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Starts: Dec. 29. Continues through Jan. 28