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When art lovers travel through Clarksville, Louisiana and Hannibal for the 50 Miles of Art show this weekend, they will have a new experience.
Wire sculptor Josh Coté and his wife, Pam, will be showing his unique creations from their new home on the banks of the Mississippi River in Louisiana.
It won’t be hard to find. The green, round studio and residence at 102 N. Water St. is just across the railroad tracks from the riverfront parking lot. It once served as the city’s water treatment plant.
Directly in front of the building is one of Coté’s creations, a sculpture of the grim reaper on a bicycle that already attracts tourists with cameras.
“We found this building online,” Coté said last week. “Being on the Mississippi River is so awesome. This is a world class view.
“Our jaws dropped when we saw it,” he added. “It’s so incredibly unique. It’s like living in a contemporary sculpture.”
“We feel very lucky to be here,” said Pam, who assists her husband with his creations.
The reasonable cost of the building and the closer proximity of art shows were major reasons for the Cotés relocating to Louisiana last November from Oregon.
“I got sick of driving for four days,” Coté said, to shows all over the Midwest, east and southern United States.
Coté grew up in a small town in northern Michigan and prefers the quiet atmosphere of rural America.
“My dad (Daniel Coté) was an artist and he was an influence on me,” Coté said. “He traveled to art shows in the 60’s and 70’s. It’s in the DNA.”
Prior to becoming a full-time artist, “I was always an artist in my spare time,” creating paintings and sculptures.
Coté went to college originally “to be a doctor and then I went to art school.”
That didn’t settle well with Coté, but it pointed him on his life’s path.
“I decided to do it on my own,” he said. “Now I feel like I have to do it. It’s just part of my nature. I have to get it out. I go crazy if I’m not making art and working.”
“He’ll work every day, all day and he’s unstoppable,” Pam said. “I have to stop him to eat lunch or get a glass of water.”
Coté started out with wood sculptures.
“And then I made a wedding present out of some old wire I had from a trailer,” he said. It was a copper salmon.”
“Everyone who saw the wire fish said they had never seen anything like it,” Pam said. That’s when she suggested to her husband that he start selling wire sculptures.
That was seven years ago and Coté has been making his living from them ever since.
“I wanted to know what wire looked like in a dense form,” he said. “You can get a lot of character and lines with the wire. It has a sort of sketch nature to it.”
In the near future, Coté will be selling his wire sculpture at art shows in New Orleans, Houston, Minneapolis, Des Moines and St. Louis, just to name a few.
Prior to that, he’ll be showing his wares this Saturday, March 23 and Sunday, March 24 from his Louisiana home and studio.
“I’m excited to be a part of the 50 Miles of Art,” Coté said. “I’d like the community to come out too.”