Profile: Corey Pane | From: West Hartford, CT | College: University of Hartford
Instagram: @CoreyPaneArt | Twitter: @CoreyPaneArt | Website: CoreyPane.com
How did you start your art career?
I've kind of always done art my whole life, it's always what felt natural to me. My first love was definitely drawing, I used to always draw my favorite cartoon characters when I was little. As I was growing up, I kinda out art aside sometimes to get into sports or music, but I still always came back to it at some point. And I came back to it really strong when I was in high school. I remember one day for whatever reason, I started drawing a picture of Jim Morrison out of the blue. (I was always big into The Doors) And then that set a spark in me and I never stopped, all I wanted to do was draw all day. It started changing the way I was thinking and looking at things too, anything could become an inspiration to me and I just always gathered my references and started to build off them. Shortly after that I started getting into painting and got an apprenticeship at a little airbrush shop in East Hartford. I quickly realized painting was my natural gift and what I really loved doing so I just never stopped creating.
Are you a full-time artist?
Yea I'm a full-time artist, I play music and do other things in between too, but usually, I'm always doing some kind of form of art, whether it's photography, film, writing, painting, or playing music, I like to mix and up and try different creative forms.
Did you go to art school or are you self-taught?
I went to school for art at UHart and I went to the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts in Hartford as a senior in high school. But I've kind of always just been self-taught, I like to learn things myself and figure them out from my many mistakes. I was never really into school or learning that way. But the Academy was a cool experience, I felt like that one year there would have been enough for me. But the most important thing I got out of any art schools was the people I met along the way, I met lots of other artists and creative people that I still work and collaborate with today.
Are you a sports fan?
Yea I'm definitely a sports fan, I was always a big Atlanta Braves fan growing up, I loved playing baseball too. I played football too but continued with baseball longer. I was actually always a Steelers fan growing up too, Kordell Stewart used to be my favorite player. So it was funny I ended up meeting Antonio Brown and he ended up being on the Steelers. He saw some of my artwork online and asked me to paint a picture of him and his son, and we met up in Pittsburgh and just kind of became friends and kept working on projects ever since.
How did you get involved with customizing NFL players cleats?
Last year Antonio Brown had the idea to paint a pair of his cleats for the first game of the season, and I happened to be out there in Pittsburgh the week before the season started. So I got some paint and painted up a pair with clouds on them, just for some extra inspiration. They went over way bigger than I was expecting and we kept doing different pairs throughout the whole season. Trying to keep them motivational and inspirational not only to him when he's looking down at them on the field, but also to whoever else happens to see them. I did a few pairs for some other players along the way, mostly during Week 13 when they allow players to wear whatever cleats they want in support of a charity or organization of their choice.
What’s the craziest pair of cleats you made?
The craziest pair I ever did was probably for Ryan Shazier for the AFC Championship game against the Patriots. I painted portraits of all different Steelers legends I think there were 16 portraits in total and doing that many little portraits on a pair of cleats and trying to make them fit together and flow, definitely took a lot of time and concentration. But it paid off in the end because they looked really cool and had a positive inspirational message. The message and meaning behind things in any art is always the most important to me, I'm always trying to tell and story and I love symbolism.
Are there any players that you really want make cleats for?
I like to make cleats for players with a lot of personalities, that I can build off of and add to. Someone like Chad Ochocinco would be the perfect kind player I'm talking about. He is more of an eccentric character and has the kind of personality that would be fun to build off of. I think Marquette King, the Raiders punter seems like he has an interesting personality too, I would love to do a pair of cleats for him. But also anybody that has a cool message or meaning they are trying to get across with the cleats is what I would love to do too.
I think my style is a little different than most of the other guys I've seen doing cleats. I go at them with more of a painterly style and treat them pretty much the same way I would with any other painting since that's more of my background. I also do a lot of portraits which sets me apart from a lot of the other cleat designs I've seen. So the can allow me to make them more personal in a different way, for example, I had a pair that I did for Antonio where I painted all his kid's faces on them. And then we also did a lot of tributes to different people like when Jose Fernandez passed away, we were able to capture his likeness in a portrait and honoring him so soon after he passed allows it to give off a different more emotional feeling, That's what I'm all about.
Do you plan on expanding to other sports such as baseball, basketball, soccer, boxing, etc? How about hockey skates?
After people started seeing what I was doing with the cleats, I've had some players from other sports reach out to me, and have done some cleats for other sports now too which is cool. Hopefully, it keeps expanding, I just like to kind of let it happen naturally, but doing art of some kind for boxing or hockey would be great, I don't think it always has to remain limited to the cleats or skates either. There are other things like maybe a hockey helmet or a wristband that I could paint too. I always like trying new things and pushing the boundaries and keeping it controversial. Doing some cleats for a more international star like Lionel Messi would be awesome because they would reach a lot more people and hopefully be able to inspire a lot more people throughout the world as well. My friend Ed always told me about his favorite soccer player named Zlatan Ibrahimovic and he has a really cool inspiring story, I would really love to work with him at some point too.
Have any of the big shoe brands contacted you?
None of the big shoe brands have really reached out to me yet. I did some work for bigger brands like Pepsi and Mountain Dew for more advertising promotional type cleats. But I just take each opportunity as a step to the next one, That's what cool about art, you never know whats gonna come your way or where your gonna end up with it.
What's in your future?
A lot of people have seen the work I've done with the cleats and know me for that now, but that is just a small part of what I do. My main thing has always been painting more canvas style and telling stories that way. Or painting big murals, I think murals can change a space completely and change the way people feel when they look at that space. I really love doing those. I also do a lot of work with musicians, music is such a huge part of my life. I think music is the truest art form, and something I really connect with. So its always really fun for me to do album covers and posters or t-shirts for bands of all different kinds. That what I would really love to always be doing, and want to keep pushing towards.