“Paintings and words from the lusty depths of a generous soul driven by a childhood of forced labor and extravagant rewards resulting in a life of marrying everyone who asked followed by quietly leaving in the dead of night.” — Coco B. Moore
Through six marriages and six divorces, Coco B. Moore found happiness in her art
The truth isn’t nearly as brutal—or as dramatic—as it sounds, and yet it reveals everything you need to know about Coco B. Moore.
On the day we meet she has light blue hair. But sometimes it’s pink. Her eyes are dark, her face is round, her lips are pouty—she looks almost exactly like the women she paints.
Coco B. Moore isn’t just larger than life; she’s practically make-believe.
When we dig into it, her “childhood of forced labor” sounds a lot like a normal, happy childhood. She laughs when I ask her about it. “There’s a picture of me when I was four, I wasn’t even five yet, and I’m standing on a chair, a tea towel around my waist, at the kitchen sink. I was always expected to help out. I was making biscuits when I was nine. That’s just kinda the way it was.
“I love to put a clothesline in a painting. It’s from my childhood, I went to my grandparents in the summer. You washed on Mondays; Tuesdays were ironing. Every day was so structured. My grandparents believed the most important thing to learn was to bake a pie, embroider, how to iron. Maybe knowing those things helped me get so many husbands,” she muses.
We move onto the extravagant rewards. “When I was 12 they gave me a beautiful filly, wrapped up with a big bow around her neck. In high school I was the first one to get a car—a 1967 Camaro.” I ask her the color and, when I’m disappointed to discover that it was tan, she squeals, “Then let’s make it turquoise!”
Coco lives in her own world. If it makes for a better story, a better memory and a better time, then the car is turquoise.
There is some truth in the description of her tumultuous love life. Married—and divorced—six times, Coco knew her most recent husband just two months before they got married. “I told a friend I was ready to get a train out of town…I just got on the wrong train,” she says. The marriage lasted just three months.
“My third was very short as well. The others were from four to 12 years. One was 15 years, but he was gone every two weeks. We never knew what he did…but he was very entertaining!”
“He could have had another family!” I exclaim.
“Who knows?” she replies. “It worked out well—I had time for me before I had to start frying steak.”
Cooking, cleaning, housework … these dull necessities of life don’t appeal to Coco B. Moore.
There’s no fun or adventure in doing the washing or ironing your husband’s shirts.
It’s a theme which pops up in her paintings. One in particular shows a family sitting around the dinner table. Their plates are empty. “They’re all sitting there helpless, waiting for mom,” she explains. Another depicts a sullen redhead in a kitchen. “She was tired of cooking,” Coco explains. “So tired she was starting to look for the knife drawer,” she adds.
Another common theme is wine. Women drinking wine. “It’s happy hour, women getting together and drinking wine. I do this a lot. I think most women do.”
At The Shops at Legacy, Coco likes to go to Del Frisco’s and Pepper Smash. She also likes to meet friends in Deep Ellum and Uptown Dallas. Rick’s Chophouse in downtown McKinney is a favorite. “I go straight to the back and sit down in their nice, comfy, old bar where it’s quiet.” She adds that it’s key to find quiet bars when dating older gentlemen.
We bond over a shared love of margaritas. When I tell her I’ve never been to Chuy’s because of the line she says, “Oh no no no, you walk past the line and go straight to the bar!”
She has some pretty good advice when it comes to men too.
“You feed a man chicken fried steak and mashed potatoes. If you don’t give him a heart attack, he’ll fall in love with you.”
“This life has given me fodder for my art,” she says. She’s lived in San Francisco and Chicago. She’s spent time raising longhorn cattle in Oklahoma and Louisiana. After her father died, she left everything—including her husband at the time—to go travelling with her brother and sister-in-law. They went to Paris and Amsterdam, and found a place to stay in Costa Rica. Her brother and sister-in-law still live there; she left when she eloped with husband number four.
For now, Coco B. Moore is dividing her time between Plano and Corpus Christi. She paints and she meets her girlfriends for happy hour. She’s single and plans to stay that way.
“Life is short,” she says, “so why not make every day a new adventure?”