Winfield Coleman grew up on Bainbridge Island, a thirty-minute ferry ride from Seattle. His parents were both artists, and he started drawing and painting early. His first subjects derived from natural history, indigenous peoples, cowboys, knights, and other historical figures. These remain favorite subjects.
While in college, he majored in cultural anthropology and minored in art, matriculating from Cornell University. After graduate work at Harvard, he changed his major to art, receiving an MFA from New York University.
He has done ethnographic research in the U.S., including Alaska, and in Mexico, Canada, Peru, West Africa, and Borneo. Two consecutive grants from the NEH allowed him to pursue archival research in many major museums, such as the Smithsonian, the Heye, and the Field Museums, and afforded the opportunity to begin extensive, ongoing field work, mostly among the Cheyenne. He has worked for several museums, including the Cantor at Stanford, as well as galleries specializing in tribal art; the Arms and Armour Department at Bonham’s auction house; and also as a muralist and an illustrator.
Published works include books, articles, and museum catalogs on a variety of subjects, including arts of the South Pacific, Amazonian Indian shamanism, and various aspects of North American indigenous cultures. He has curated exhibits on the shamanic world-view in the Americas; on art and ritual in Amazonia; on Native American masks; and he has lectured broadly on these and other subjects, such as women’s roles and third genders.
Winfield worked on American Indian Horse Masks, written by Mike Cowdrey and Ned & Jody Martin, which received the George Wittenborn Memorial Book Award for excellence in art publishing. He recently contributed writing and illustrations for the upcoming book, Hitched Horsehair Bridles, for Ned and Jody Martin.
He is currently working on the manuscript and illustrations for a book on Cheyenne art and culture, his primary focus of research for the past 40 years.
He works in pencil, pen and ink, ink wash, pastels and watercolor. He lives in San Francisco with his wife, Solin. He may be contacted at:
159 Central Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94117