A Mural to Celebrate Books and East Tennessee

Liz Garcia, a friend from Hollins University days and now a doctoral student in the Center for Children’s and YA Literature at the University of Tennessee had the brilliant idea of adding an original, reading related mural to the new quarters of CCYAL. She invited me to submit a proposal and we went from there.



I love working in a trompe l’oeil style, so I conceived a big, fat, open book filled with the sights and symbols of the Great Smokey Mountains, Knoxville and the University of Tennessee Knoxville.
Of course it was essential to add as many of Tennessee’s state symbols as possible. This graphic, by Joanna Dee Studio was a huge help. I think the only one I haven’t included is the tomato–but Dolly Parton’s red boots will have to do!
Speaking of Dolly–originator of the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, the text in the mural is a line from Rocky Top, written by Felice and Boudleaux Bryant, and performed by the incomparable Dolly Parton, who hails from from nearby Pigeon Forge, TN.
To finish the mural I darkened the background dramatically and added shadows to enhance the trompe l’oeil effect. The day I left Tennessee the University sent all the students home because of Covid-19. I hope everyone stays safe and healthy and comes back to UTK.
We are Tennessee Strong!

6 thoughts on “A Mural to Celebrate Books and East Tennessee

  1. Tony Farris says:

    It was so nice to finally meet you in person after corresponding remotely for several years. You are beautiful, charming, and talented. My kind of woman! Your work as illustrator, author, and artist was on full display in your mural at my alma mater, the University of Tennessee. It is an accurate depiction of scenes from this region and an inspiration for future illustrators. Keep up the good work, and come back to Knoxville whenever you can.

    Like

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