Our new video series showcases local artists across Fort Worth and Tarrant County. It highlights each artist’s career, diving into their inspirations, creative process, artistic style and contributions throughout the city.
Wes Coke doesn’t like to limit himself to one style of painting. For him, the subject of a painting should influence the end result.
“Some stuff wouldn’t look right if it was in the abstract,” he said. “Some of that stuff wouldn’t look right if it was done realistically.”
The end results are commissioned paintings that vary in style from piece to piece, and he’s only been painting for two years.
Coke has lived in Tarrant County his whole life. He was born and raised in Arlington, but lives now in Fort Worth. The only time he left was when he attended the University of North Texas in Denton.
He went to college for commercial design, but had a change of heart and did sculpture instead, Coke said.
After college, Coke took a step away from making any kind of art. He didn’t get back into sculpting until 2018 when he sculpted a 24-inch Death Star replica from Star Wars out of wood.
“I posted it on Instagram not thinking that anything would happen, but then I got good feedback,” Coke said. “I was like, ‘I enjoyed this,’ and then I did more. I got into casting and molding, and then two years ago I painted a picture of my daughter, so I’ve been painting ever since.”
Coke was hesitant to transition into painting, because of his late start he said. However, he saw painting as something an artist feels and does.
In September 2021, Coke had two of his abstract pieces, “Three Elephants” and “5 Lights,” included in The Art House Gallery in Southlake. In October of the same year, Coke’s painting “Texas Queen” received second place in the Keller’s Got Talent art competition.
“It’s incredible what I’ve learned since I’ve started painting,” Coke said. “The different tones and colors and shades and everything. It’s insane how much I’ve crammed down in my brain.”
In the accompanying video, Coke sat down with the Fort Worth Report to discuss the first time he ever painted, the challenges with creating portraits and how he is always pushing himself to improve his work.
David Moreno is a spring fellow reporter for the Fort Worth Report. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.