John Coker was born in September 1952 in Los Angeles, California. Following two years of college at the University of Denver, he began work as a brakeman and fireman for the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad in 1973. In 1981 he went to work for the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, and was promoted to engineer in 1986. In 1990 he returned to the Cumbres Line, and worked as an engineer until his retirement in 1995.
John's artistic ability was recognized when he was young, and he has been painting seriously for the past twenty years. John has taken several art classes during that time, but he is basically self-taught. The long winter layoffs from railroading were spent developing his artistic skills. He became a full-time artist in 1995.
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