Parker County Today September 2016 - Page 51

our art: RYLIE JOHNSON A helping hand and determined artistry take a young man from hopeless to hopeful BY MEL RHODES L Rylie Johnson with Parker County Sheriff Larry Fowler his number and at a later date when she called again Rylie said “yes.” It’s worked out well. “Dayna took a very large interest in me and took a chance,” he said. “They [Dayna and her nephew Cameron Fowler] have helped me and supported me and just loved on me ever since... .” PA R K E R C O U N T Y T O D AY of-the-blue phone call from Dayna Fowler of Professional Innovations LLC in Fort Worth. She’d been given his number by a neighbor. She needed help at an event she was planning and asked him if he wanted to pick up a few bucks. Already committed to helping someone with an estate sale, he declined, but Fowler kept SEPTEMBER 2016 ife has its ways of twisting us into uncomfortable positions, of dealing us cards no one would want to play. It happens. But it’s what happens next, after the rough patch that often determines the course of a person’s life. In 22-year-old Rylie Johnson’s case, it was art and a couple of good people paying it forward that came to the rescue. It takes but a glance at Rylie’s skull carving to recognize his innate artistry. Working with a Dremel tool he creates intricately carved longhorn skulls which can fetch up to $1,600. And honestly, it’s the dollars that got him started, “necessity” being the “mother of invention.” “My parents divorced [when I was 19],” he explained. “My dad ended up abandoning us. He took my truck; I had no way of going to work. That was the whole reason for me doing these skulls, to help out [my mom] with bills and to help support my brother.” Rylie, who’d painted and sculpted but never carved a notch in his life, took a chance and bought three cow skulls to practice on. He revved up the Dremel and buzzed around on the braincases until he’d figured out some techniques and felt ready to craft some keepers, which he posted on the Internet. Out of school and out of work, one day he picked up an out- 49