Artist Interview: Coye Conner

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Q&A With The Artist

Artist Inter­view: Coye Con­ner

What are your ear­li­est mem­o­ries relat­ed to art?
Spend­ing my sum­mers with fam­i­ly mem­bers on their ranch­es in the
Texas Hill Coun­try, find­ing var­i­ous objects that had served their pri­ma­ry pur­pose, and envi­sion­ing a re-pur­pose for it, began in ear­ly teen age years. Dur­ing my years of law prac­tice, friends and col­leagues, after wit­ness­ing what I cre­at­ed with­in my own home and law office, asked my to help them with inte­ri­or design of their own homes and offices.

How and when did you start becom­ing an artist your­self?
As a part of my reha­bil­i­ta­tion, fol­low­ing a 2012, 75 mph head-on col­li­sion, I walked my Texas Hill Coun­try ranch and dis­cov­ered shed antlers of var­i­ous exot­ic ani­mals, dried sun bleached bones, and oth­er objects to re-pur­pose and began to cre­ate masks, from the pelvic bones of exot­ic deer in the work shop of my ranch. I pro­gressed into var­i­ous mul­ti­ple medi­ums, and adorn­ments for the masks. Var­i­ous char­i­ties have request­ed some of my art to be auc­tioned at their annu­al fund rais­ing ven­tures. At auc­tion, my art has sold from $1900 to $4000, to aid chil­dren in need. When my cre­ations began to sell, I began to real­ize that oth­ers appre­ci­at­ed my work, as unique and unusu­al as it is, and I began to look at mar­ket­ing the art that I had cre­at­ed, and share it with others.

What was the evo­lu­tion like toward find­ing your cur­rent voice and visu­al vocab­u­lary?
The evo­lu­tion has been rapid and fun. I have pro­mot­ed into var­i­ous forms and medi­ums of paint, con­cen­trat­ing with blend­ing spay paints, and cur­rent­ly com­plet­ing my work with acrylic paint pours. I have searched the inter­net for any­one else cre­at­ing the art that I do, and thus far have not been able to find any­one else. I have come to dis­cov­er my PURPOSE is to RE-PURPOSE, bring­ing to “life” that which had passed and was forgotten.

What is your process like?
My process involves pri­mar­i­ly, tak­ing sun dried, weath­er bleached bones (most­ly exot­ic ani­mals pelvic bones), clean­ing and sand­ing the object for the best pour result. Envi­sion the look I want to achieve with the par­tic­u­lar piece, and begin the selec­tion of col­ors, and begin the paint pour. Once the pour is dry, add a lay­er of clear gloss enam­el. Then I begin to com­plete the mask with var­i­ous objects of adornment/art that speaks of the piece. Some masks are hung on a wall. Oth­ers I will con­struct a deer horn stand for dis­play of the mask. The base of the stand is nor­mal­ly the antler of a white­tail deer, and the por­tion that ele­vates the mask, is nor­mal­ly com­plet­ed with a fal­low deer antler, red stag antler, or one of my pieces — six masks are mount­ed on one elk antler shed.

Is there any­thing from your artist state­ment that you wish to expound on, that you nor­mal­ly don’t have the chance to dis­cuss?
I am cre­at­ing a “new form of life” for some­thing that passed away years before. New life to some­thing that was old and for­got­ten. Some of my inspi­ra­tion comes from the music I lis­ten to in my stu­dio, while always work­ing bare-foot­ed. Work­ing with music and being bare-foot­ed keeps me cre­ative, yet ground­ed. I may spend 8 to 10 hours at a time in my stu­dio work­ing on a piece, and nev­er real­ize that the hours have passed.

What do you try to con­trol in your sur­faces, and what do you leave to chance?
I con­trol the selec­tion of the begin­ning piece (antler, pelvic bone, oth­er bones, skulls, tur­tle shells or ver­te­brae ) and the col­ors that i will use in my art. The final out­come of the paint pours are the “chance” part, and it is all flu­id until all the paint has dried. After dry­ing and gloss­ing, then I begin to envi­sion the look of the final piece and select the adorn­ment and col­ored feath­ers to achieve the final look.

Where do you see your work going from here?
I believe that our minds are our only lim­i­ta­tion. If we can see it, dream it, or envi­sion it, then with some cre­ative juices we can make it hap­pen. The begin­ning mate­ri­als for my art are lim­it­less. I recent­ly com­plet­ed my art on an oil field work­er’s hard hat, and have just been com­mis­sioned to do a wild hog head skull. Anoth­er recent com­mis­sion is a gas tank from a motor­cy­cle and a diesel tank from a farm. So, as one can see, the body of my work is limitless.

Coye Conner
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