Corey Pane has certainly left a mark on the city of Hartford, and a signature one at that.
His mural work can be seen on buildings across downtown and beyond, far beyond city lines. Just in the past couple of years, Pane has traveled Boston, Chicago, and the United Kingdom for work. He’s created art for local bands such as West End Blend and Among the Acres, and a Juice Wrld album cover that’s been seen and loved by millions. Our region has its fair share of talented visual artists, and Pane is certainly helping put Hartford on the map.
A graduate of the Hartford Art School at the University of Hartford, Pane had his beginning in the capital city, and those roots helped him establish strong connections which he continues to build upon today. Working with kids is his favorite way to collaborate; giving youth different opportunities and outlets to change their viewpoint is a significant part of his community work. He was inspired by this youthful energy when approached to paint the side of Webster Bank on Main Street in Bristol. According to Pane, they gave him complete artistic freedom, which resulted in a bright and youthful mural, looking towards the future.
He’s always been interested in murals and public art, but many of his first commissions came from a connection with the NFL. One of his friends asked him to paint cleats for his inaugural season, and it blew up from there. To this day, he’s been painting cleats for athletes of all kinds. He’s tried a multitude of mediums and materials throughout his career, for the purpose of building a repertoire, even if it’s something he doesn’t like. Whether he’s working on a pair of cleats or a multi-story building, he treats it all like a blank canvas. He may not know the material of this canvas in advance, but he applies the same basic skills of composition and technique that he learned in school.
If you’ve never seen him working, that may have something to do with the speed at which he works; Pane is sought after for his quick turnaround, which he attributes to his passion for the work. This may be why he’s able to work on so many different projects with differing scales at once. As mentioned above, music-related artwork represents a large portion of Pane’s commissions. He is a musician himself, so one can imagine that this connection plays a large role in his work. Whenever he takes on a musical client, he listens to their music as preparation, and internalizes their lyrics to use as inspiration for the artwork – whether it be artwork for a single, entire album, or show poster – no matter the genre. Pane views this work as a conversation between himself and his clients. A number of these conversations have resulted in synchronicity; the artist’s musical vision matching up with how he would have visually interpreted the work had there been no prior communication. At other times, his clients may not have a full idea coming into this conversation, and his work may inspire change for their overall vision.
While many of us are waiting until what this year brings, Pane is already planning some large mural work for a multi-story building in Hartford – location TBA. “That’s the kind of scale I’m most excited about.”
(All photography and artwork courtesy of Corey Pane)