Artist Behind Nine Odessa Jackrabbits Shares Her Story, Inspiration

Artist Behind Nine Odessa Jackrabbits Shares Her Story, Inspiration

By Alicia Neaves
NewsWest 9

ODESSA - If you live in Odessa or simply driven through, you've probably noticed the colorful jackrabbits placed around town. On Thursday, NewsWest 9 got the opportunity to talk with one of the faces behind these iconic symbols. Her name is Sonya Haynie and she isn't just an artist, she's a teacher too.

"I was driven to always be an artist. It just came to me when I was young," Odessa artist, Sonya Haynie, said.

Haynie is one of the artists behind the iconic jackrabbits seen all across Odessa.

"People come and they try to find all of them. There's a book at the Chamber of Commerce and they try to go around and find them. Pretty interesting," Haynie said.

Before the jackrabbits were built, Sonya entered her artwork in a contest to see who got to paint the famous statues.

It turns out, she didn't just paint one. She painted nine.

"I have a picture of all those in my backyard. We painted them white first, we had to prime them. It was the funniest thing. They were all in the backyard and one of them was facing the window over my bathtub," Haynie said.

But it's not just painting that's Sonya's forte. It's also jewelry, absorbing ideas from her personal experiences like her time studying fine arts in San Miguel de Allende in Guanajuato, Mexico.

"I absorbed a lot of the missions and the churches and the look of it and I came back and Texas has the same look. Southwest has the same look," Haynie said.

During her time teaching at Sul Ross, UTPB, Odessa College, even Hood Junior High, her philosophy was simple.

"Don't ask kids to paint the Swiss Alps. They don't know it. Paint what you see and what you know," Haynie said.

To get in touch with Sonya and to learn more about her work, visit SonyaHaynie.com or call 432-337-3958.