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

Hi Joe, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?

My grandma was a talented artist who encouraged me to be creative at a very young age. My father is a brilliant violin player and saw the importance of education and the arts. He motivated me to follow my passion and pursue a diploma at the local community college in the United Kingdom.

At sixteen, I studied all forms of art. When I started my 2 year diploma I wanted to be a fine artist. It dawned on me after I earned my diploma that art in all its various forms was not going to feed me and pay my bills. That was when I decided to specialize in graphic design.

I entered a two-year program at Suffolk New College located in Ipswich. As a Design Communications Major, I studied design, advertising, illustration, and typography. I continued to earn my Bachelor of Arts, graduating with honors in 1991. After graduation, I put graphic design on the back burner and worked in retail for nearly a decade.

In 2000, I moved from the U.K. to California. After having three children, I began to teach myself how to use Adobe Illustrator. By the time I moved to Gainesville, Texas in 2006, I decided that it was high time I returned to my first love; Graphic Design. I have been a full-time freelance artist since 2013, I originally started with graphics and marketing, then I built websites and starting taking care of social media for a wide variety of clients. I continued creating collage art after joining the local art group, Gainesville Area Visual Arts. I currently serve as President of the art group. Since 2014, I have volunteered my time to be the show chair for their two annual art shows.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?

I wear many hats as a creative. When I first began working as a freelance designer, I decided to combine what I love most: helping people and my community. From professional websites, logos, press ads, social media management, promoting an event with eye-catching graphics – I make local businesses and nonprofits stand out.

In 2018 I was honored to help the Woody Williams Foundation raise money to build a Gold Star Families Memorial Monument here in Gainesville, Texas. Cliff Yow, my close friend and confidant, suggested that I create an original collage of the monument to raise money for the foundation. 100 Limited prints were made and sold out at our fundraiser event. Our Gold Star Families Memorial Monument dedication was January 2020 with Woody Williams in attendance.

I love donating my art to help organizations that are close to my heart.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.

Gainesville, Texas is a small city close to the Oklahoma border in North Texas. When I considered moving here, the first thing I wanted to do was feed the giraffes at the zoo and learn more about the Community Circus. So, a trip to the Frank Buck Zoo and the Morton Museum of Cooke County and the Museum at the Santa Depot is a must!

Our Historic Downtown features unique locally owned stores, boutiques, and fabulous restaurants. I highly recommend stopping by Sarah’s on The Square for lunch and walking down to Krootz Brewing Company for a beer!

I encourage you to visit the amazing art shows that I help organize with GAVA. Our Annual Fall Art Exhibition at the Santa Fe Depot runs for one week in September. On the first Friday of February, we host the For the Love of Art scholarship fundraiser at the historic State Theater. It is a fabulous one-night art exhibition with drinks, food, live music, and awards.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?

When I first moved to Gainesville I met Sylvia Deaver. Sylvia was one of the founding members of Gainesville Area Visual Arts. She was a wonderful creative lady who wasn’t afraid to think outside the box, both in her life and with art. She encouraged me to join the art group and make a difference in my community with my art. Sylvia & her husband, Earl, put together the Annual Fall Art Exhibition for countless years and it’s an honor to take over organizing this art show and give back to the community.

We lost our beloved Sylvia in 2021 and our art group is not the same without her creativity, wit, and leadership.

Website: https://www.joeconnerdesigns.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/joeconnerart/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JoeConnerDesigns

Other: For all the best places to shop/eat join my FB group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/GainesvilleCurbside I started this group when the pandemic hit in 2020 to help local businesses survive. The group continues today with 18k members and anybody can join to discover all that our area has to offer.

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutDFW 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.