Segment of 'The Inter-office Memo - part 2', from Coin-op #6 (2016).

Peter and Maria Hoey are a brother-sister team of American artists, who work as illustrators, graphic artists and cartoonists. Their art has appeared in The New Yorker, Playboy, Rolling Stone, The New York Times and other major market American newspapers. The work of these notable cartoonists, praised for their avant-garde approach to visual storytelling, was initially showcased in the BLAB! comic anthologies (Kitchen Sink Press/Fantagraphics) between 1995 and 2007. A year later, when the BLAB! anthology ended, Peter and Maria Hoey launched their self-published press and the series 'Coin-Op.' 

Early life and career
Peter Hoey was born in 1960 in Syracuse, New York. As a child, he had a passion for early American animation (particularly Max Fleischer's 'Betty Boop' and Paul Terry's 'Mighty Mouse' cartoons) and the alternative comic magazines RAW, Weirdo and ZAP. Hoey attended art school at Kutztown State University, graduating with a B.F.A. in 1982. He began his career as designer and art director, working with the Denver Post, the Hartford Courant and the Washington Post, before turning to magazine illustration. By 1990, he learned the finer points of digital art production, and established his own illustration studio in 1993. When Peter's little (and only) sister, Maria Hoey, graduated from college in 1997, they began collaborating on comic art together. Born in 1973, Maria Anne Hoey, the youngest of six siblings, grew up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and graduated from Alfred University in New York. She grew up enjoying the comic section in The Philadelphia Inquirer and MAD Magazine, and shared her brother's wide-ranging interest in pop culture.

Animated infographic comic about climate change for Wired Brand Lab.

Illustration careers
Represented by Rapp|Art, the Hoey siblings specialize in conceptual illustrations and infographics that make complicated financial and technological topics clear and understandable. Among their clients are international magazines, newspapers, book publishers and advertising agencies. Their art has appeared in U.S. News, Fortune, Smart Money, Time magazine, the Boston Globe, The New York Times, Forbes and The L.A .Times. Their venture into comics started in 1995, when editor Monte Beauchamp asked Peter Hoey to contribute to his anthology series BLAB!. His first story, 'Angry Grey Robot,' appeared in the BLAB! #8, (Kitchen Sink Press). After the series moved to Fantagaphics Books, Peter and Maria Hoey remained regular contributors until the eighteenth and final installment in 2007. Since then, they have been self-publishing comic books through their Coin-Op Studio.

Working methods and influences
Even though the Hoeys live all the way across the country from each other - Peter is based in Arcadia, California and Maria in Brooklyn, New York - working in an all-digital format easily allows their bi-coastal productions to be true collaborative efforts. They send artwork for 'Coin-Op' pages back and forth to each other electronically across the country. After the Hoeys plan a plot of a 'Coin-Op' story, Peter does the sketching, basic linework and initial coloring. Maria then adds textural and photo collage, and applies the final coloring. Journalist Chuck P. Freund (AKA C.P. Freund) often collaborates with the Hoeys on 'Coin-Op' scripts. Growing up with a mother who listened to oldies radio stations, Peter and Maria Hoey inherited a fascination for vintage pop culture. Many of their stories refer to 1930s/1940s jazz musicians and classic movie stars. Graphically, they take inspiration from early American newspaper and comic book artists, such as Frank King, Winsor McCay, Harry G. Peter and Charles Forbell. With their slick design and narrative innovations, the comics are also reminiscent of contemporary artists like Chris Ware and Seth.

First two pages of 'anatomy of a pratfall', from Coin-op #2.

The first 'Coin-Op' issue was released in 2009 with a print run of 1,000 copies. The 'Coin-Op' name was inspired by the many coin-operated laundromats in San Francisco, Oakland and Bay Area cities near Peter Hoey's home in the northern California town of Arcadia. Each issue is filled with innovative complex graphic design and narrative experiments. Page lay-outs and panel shapes form an integral part of the storytelling in Coin-Op's stories. A coin-like circular motif constitutes an important part of Coin-Op's graphic design. The Hoeys often use round-shaped panel formats to drive their narratives, snaking the reader through the curves of their surreal worlds. In the story 'The Inter-Office Memo' (Coin-Op #6), a succession of round panels and panels-within-panels show the transformation of an office space into a swirling river. Other stories, such as 'anatomy of a pratful' (Coin-Op #2) present large single-page illustrations - often street scenes - with individual panels spotlighting many simultaneously happening details and activities. To guide the reader through each little element, the illustrations are divided in twelve equally-sized square panels. Succeeding pages show the same scene over a short period of time, each page advancing a few seconds. Gradually, all the separate elements in the individual panels interact with or trigger each other, culminating into a climax on the final page. 'Salt and Pepz', two hapless anthropomorphic dogs, are regular characters in the 'Coin-Op' canon. Their misadventures are rendered in a style that evokes classic American Sunday newspaper comics and the streetwise attitude of Fleischer Brothers cartoons. Other recurring 'Coin-Op' elements are joke-telling birds, existentially disturbed androids, collages and biographical portraits of jazz musicians and movie stars.

Panels from a 'Saltz and Pepz' story.

Operating within the small press scenes of Northern California and the New York City boroughs, the Hoey siblings take great care in the production of their 'Coin-Op' series. Most of their comics are sold at conventions and other comic shows, with Maria covering the East Coast gatherings, and Peter attending West Coast events. Their books use good quality paper and an overall consistant design aesthetic. Besides the 'Coin-Op' comics, the team has also produced a series of double-sided flip books, and a series of limited edition accordian-fold books ('The French Drop' [2015], 'American Noir' [2019]).

Also notable are the 'Coin-Op' "7 inch" series, 12-page picture books, designed to look like 45 RPM "singles" in their sleeves. In 2017, a limited edition collectable box was issued to store the 45s. In 2018, Top Shelf Productions released an anthology of the best of the joint productions by the bi-coastal siblings under the title 'Coin-op Comics Anthology 1997-2017'. In 2020, Peter and Maria Hoey began work on 'Animal Stories', their first full-color graphic novel of 6-interlocking stories about animals and people, slated for release by Top Shelf in December 2021.

Peter and Maria Hoey are widely praised for their inventive and groundbreaking comic work. Two of their 'Coin-Op' comics have been nominated for Eisner Awards. Their story 'Little Nemo in Coin-Op Land' was included in the Eisner-winning 'Little Nemo: Dream Another Dream' (Locust Moon Press, 2014). The Hoeys received awards for their illustration and design work from American Illustration magazine, the Society of Illustrators and the Society of Publication Design. 'Coin-Op' comics have won Silver and Gold Medals at New York's MoCCA Arts Festival (2017, 2018, 2020), "Best Anthology" at Denver's DiNK festival (2019), and "Comic of the Festival" by Broken Frontier at Thought Bubble UK (2019). Their anthology was named "Comic Collection of the Year 2018" from Page 45 (UK) and their books have appeared on Fantagraphics Bookstore's Annual Favorite Comic List (2016, 2018, 2019). Their accordion-fold book, 'The French Drop', is in the Spencer Collection of Illustrated Books and Manuscripts and Fine Bindings at the New York Public Library.

'Valse Mecanique', from Coin-op #4.

Series and books by Peter & Maria Hoey in stock in the Lambiek Webshop:


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