We had the good fortune of connecting with Riley Conn and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Riley, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I am 52 years old and have a variety of jobs in my career. I just recently have been a Tennis professional for the last 12 years. Throughout my life I have always been creative. I never went to art school or took any classes but I took an art history class in college and have appreciated art since. During covid with time on my hands I bought some paint and brushes and started painting. I them came across an article on Billy Schenck, western pop artist, and then tried his style of painting. I started to get a lot of compliments and thought well let’s see if anyone would buy these. I posted 4 or 5 paintings on Ebay and they all sold in a day! I then started a web page, got on Instagram and Twitter and it sort took off from there. Now Im in a Gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico, started doing commissions, and have collectors buying multiple paintings.

Im still learning as I go and and in the part time stage but would love to full time. Just need the confidence and more refined techniques. I only wish I would have gotten into art along time ago.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My worked is defined by bold colors I would say. I like to think I combine western history,landscapes,and pop art into my paintings. I am a self taught artist, so Im learning as I go. I started with acrylics and have recently started painting in oils. After I sold my first couple paintings I went to a few art shows and tried to compare my work to other sucessful artist. I felt that I could do this. My big break came when a Gallery owner bought some of my paintings. That was a huge confidence boost.

The challenges today are debating if I should go full time. You always here bad stories of starving artist and there is so much great art out there.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Well I live in one of the best towns in America. Coronado Island is awesome. One my favorite things to do is take the ferry from Coronado to San Diego and wak to Little Italy downtown. So many great restaurants and art. My other favorite spot is the Arts District Liberty Station. Balboa Park and the Zoo are also must see spots I take friends and family to.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Besides wife and parents, Jon Hoffman is my Shoutout. He was my first collector who bought like 5 paintings. We have a great relationship. I asked if he would critique my art and I respect his comments. He gave me my first confidence as an artist.

Website: rileyconnartstudio.com

Instagram: @rileyconnartstudio

Linkedin: riley-conn

Twitter: @RileyConnArt

Facebook: Riley’s Art Page

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutArizona is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.