Markus Pierson

Markus Pierson’s work is likely to be unlike anything you’ve seen before. For veteran art collectors, Markus Pierson’s art can be a breath of fresh air. There’s something about his paintings that makes them stand out even in a lineup of exotic abstract art.

For over 20 years, the subject of Markus Pierson’s paintings has been the humble coyote. He feels a certain empathy with this bush canine; the fact that it’s rarely represented in human expression, along with the fact that it doesn’t fit in with other wildlife. Despite this, he feels that coyotes “celebrate life.” They’re undaunted by life’s speed bumps and endure anyway. Similarly, Markus Pierson wants his coyote art to endure for centuries after he’s passed on. He’s interested in creating something long-lasting and which has meaning for generations to come. He’s also very conscious of how unique a device he’s chosen to accomplish this. Over the years, his coyote art has evolved to account for his own life experiences, both glorious and tragic.

Picture of artist Markus Pierson sitting on a wardrobe with his paintings on display.

About Markus Pierson

“I wasn’t always an artist. In fact, I was a journeyman bookkeeper when I almost kicked the bucket from Crohn’s disease back in the mid 80’s. Thankfully, I didn’t, and when I woke up in the hospital I told everyone I knew that the bookkeeper was dead after all – but in his place was a man who was going to become a successful artist. They thought I was nuts. I wasn’t. Two years later, I started the Coyote series. My inspiration was a Joni Mitchell song “Coyote”. At the time I was 26, a dirt poor billboard painter. In fact, I couldn’t even afford a shower curtain to serve as a wedding present for two good friends. I figured they might like one of my Coyote drawings so I did a romantic one and took it there – the people at the wedding went nuts! Well, you know how these things go – somebody knew somebody who knew somebody in the art business, and within a year my art was being sold in galleries across the country.
“Many years ago someone asked me my favorite thing about the coyotes, and I said “They celebrate life. Sometimes life kicks them around, but they embrace it just the same. Heartaches, bad breaks, job problems, job triumphs, true love, rotten luck, vast fortune. Good or bad, they celebrate, I like that.
“The coyote’s are now in their second decade. The first was a hard, fun, nutty decade of dogs in suits, and the second promises to be that and more. For any budding artists out there seeking my advice, I would simply say this: never give up, outwork everyone else, and don’t be afraid to take risks. In this way, I feel I follow the paths of the greats, even if I am painting Coyotes in suits. Your vehicle may be the Oscar Meyer Weinermobile, it doesn’t mean your destination can’t be a great one.”
…on the 20th year of The Coyote
“As you may have noticed, the tenor of my work has changed as the years have passed. This is partly due to being happily married, partly due to my experiences, both glorious and tragic, and partly due to a better understanding of time. I want to make something lasting and impactful – something impossible to simply toss aside or throw away. Given that fact, I strive mightily to make work that has lingering resonance, not just for the persons who acquire it, but for their heirs. I have cast my gaze two hundred years down the road to dreamers I’ll never know who may, like me, hear sensible voices lovingly telling them to stay safe and not take foolish chances. I want The Coyotes to whisper in their ear wild, irresponsible notions about self-determination and destiny. I want them to grab people by the scruffs of their necks, to inspire them, to change their lives. I have seen Coyote Series paintings and sculptures do that countless times already, and it’s a beautiful thing to behold. I’d like to think my work’s desirability is timeless and permanent, but know this – I don’t paint them for you. Never have, never will. I paint them for myself, because there’s always a chance no one will like a given painting or sculpture, but that’s okay ’cause if I like it, I can just keep it. It’s an assumption I’ve made twenty years running and it serves me well.”
“Having said that let me now add this: it’s strange, but I don’t believe The Coyotes belong to me anymore. It’s like what I imagine a mother would feel if her child grew up to be a rock star or the president or something. Like her, I can get great seats to amazing events, but it’s not really about me. It’s about the thing I created and helped raise. I understand him better than anyone, but he belongs to the world now. The Coyotes live absolutely huge lives now, going to incredible places and doing amazing things. Me, I’m just an artist in a studio – a beautiful studio. My creation, my rock star son, bought it for me. He’s sweet, but I worry whether he’s eating the right things and getting eight hours of sleep.”
“To my collectors, many of whom have become Sher’s and my closest and dearest friends, you own our hearts. Try as I might, I could never properly express my gratitude for your many leaps of faith regarding my work. You have made my life a blessed existence of beautiful and profound truths. You humble me.”
Warmest regards,
Markus Pierson

Questions Answered

Pierson explains in his letter to his collectors that coyotes “celebrate life.” The world kind of kicks them around, they don’t fit in with other wildlife, and they just have to keep moving. He loves that about them and their nature. They’re misunderstood and rarely represented.

Yes! Many of Markus Pierson’s works have an accompanying prose. Pierson writes them all to enhance the story of the piece. Markus Pierson once said in the gallery, ” The painting is for me and the words are for the collector”.

We carry Markus Pierson originals, as well as prints! We have a large collection on display in our gallery and online. Markus Pierson’s pieces are truly a sight to behold.

Markus Pierson was listening to the song “Coyote” by Joni Mitchell when the series of the same name was born! Pierson has mentioned that each piece is created with the intent to make a lasting impact and to become cherished by its owner. He won’t publish anything until he is sure it’s worthy of being passed down from generation to generation. Each Coyote is dreamed up  with a passion he wishes to pass along, and to remind anyone who gazes into it  to be wild and fearless. 

The limited series is inspired by Pierson’s personal travels and cultural experiences. Each work from the series is given a number, resembling a chapter in a novel. Each piece also tells a unique tale of adventure; Speaking to the wanderlusters who can never get enough exploration. 


We’re proud to showcase a selection of Markus Pierson’s original art. He has an interesting take on his coyote paintings in that while he paints for and to impress himself, he doesn’t feel his creations belong to him anymore. His coyotes live “absolutely huge lives” now in the company of his collectors and patrons.

Limited Editions

Markus Pierson’s art pieces are available in regular and special limited editions. The latter pieces come to you hand embellished by the artist. Let the irreverent themes in Markus Pierson’s coyote art inspire you to change your life and live boldly as the artist intends.


After enduring serious issues as a result of Crohn’s disease, Markus Pierson knew he wanted to live out the rest of his life as a creative soul. A Boy and His Rocket is a personal essay by the artist that takes you on a journey through some of his own life experiences.

Explore Markus Pierson’s Coyote Art at Marcus Ashley Gallery

His work will continue to fascinate future generations, just as he intends it to. If you find yourself absorbed by Markus Pierson’s paintings, reach out to one of our art consultants for more information. They’ll be delighted to discuss his process in greater detail with you and provide advice on selecting the best artwork for your space.

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