Conner Burns is a studio artist in Natchez, Mississippi ... but that was not always the case. Once upon a time there was an active and curious child named Conner Burns.
His father made pottery when he was a child; but young Conner showed little interest in clay. His interest instead was in the natural environment ... exploring the woods was his main focus, but he also enjoyed attending art festivals with his father. Art festivals, theatre and the Burns home filled with art were the variables that produced an understanding in this child that ‘art is a part of life rather than simply entertainment’.
This active child grew older (and hopefully wiser) and after completing his master’s degree in biomechanics he worked in Health and Wellness (while constantly retreating to his studio to create art - yes - his love of creating art had developed). Eventually Conner stepped out of the predictable life and departed the corporate world; the new adventure of working full time in art was his choice.
His first two years were spent helping start a teaching studio as the artist-in-residence at Red Star Studios in Kansas City. Conner then returned to his hometown of Natchez and established his personal studio ... traveled to participate in art festivals throughout the US ... taught workshops across the country ... opened his own gallery ... founded Natchez Clay (a community clay studio) and founded the Natchez Project (an artist residency program). As you might guess, Conner was busy. In fact, more busy than he desired ... so he started to refine his focus. How? He stopped participating in art festivals and sold Natchez Clay (to his students, and yes he still teaches there). This helped him focus his time in the studio on new art, new techniques and new materials … and his time out of the studio was focused on a very limited number of workshops and a equally limited number of exhibitions at exceptional galleries and museums.
Conner’s work continued to change ... his functional vessels became more sculptural and purely sculptural items were added to the mix. That child that enjoyed the outdoors and art still enjoys both. He continues to makes time to explore the natural environment, experience the artwork of others and make his own art. His studio is his retreat ... his creative world.
The child has grown older, but still appreciates the rich subtleties and organic influences that dominate the natural environment and are important in his art. Conner’s intention is for his work to look as if it grew that way – rather than being ‘made’. Texture, both visual and tactile, are components that are used to encourage you to take a closer look - to reach out and touch.