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.