Tullahoma native Griffin Rone is sprucing up the town just in time for the holidays.
By creating Christmas paintings on the windows many of the buildings in Coffee County, Rone is spreading holiday cheer one painting at a time.
If you drive down North Jackson Street or visit either of the local Sonic Drive-In restaurants for a quick meal, you’ll see Rone’s paintings, including The Grinch, Santa Claus, reindeer, snowmen and Christmas spirits.
While Rone’s artistic abilities are evident, his love for art comes from his family and growing up immersed in creativity.
“I’ve been painting all my life,” Ron, 19, said. “My mom [Tullahoma artist Annie Rone] was always painting or creating art, so it’s what I grew up around. Art has always been important to me because of my family history.”
Growing up around art was just the beginning for Rone. It became the stepping stone for his artistic abilities and future endeavors.
While attending The Webb School, Rone remembers his art teacher, Mike Quinn, being an inspirational figure in his life.
“He was just a super caring and optimistic guy,” said Rone. “He really got me inspired just by how he ran the class.”
Rone was so inspired by his high school art teacher that he began to help his mom teach art classes at The Painted House in Tullahoma. Throughout his high school years, Rone would teach drawing and painting classes alongside his mother. The Painted House has been in Tullahoma for approximately five years, and Rone has been sharing his passion and ability with others who come to paint, draw and learn more about art.
Learning to take on projects as big as his most recent paintings has been a long time in the making. Working alongside his mother over throughout his life has helped Rone establish a presence within the community as an artist. Over the past few years, Rone has helped his mom create themed paintings on businesses that have led him to working alone on this year’s Christmas paintings.
“My mom was always incredibly influential,” Rone said. “She always made sure to push me to try my best. She did a good job of critiquing me honestly and not just telling me what I wanted to hear.”
When Rone was asked to take on the projects this year, he was extremely excited and a little nervous.
“This was a really big project,” said Rone. “I enjoy the big projects, but it’s also intimidating. I have this big blank space and I have to figure out how to fill it. However, once it’s done, it feels good because it’s a huge accomplishment.”
Rone believes that art in the community is important.
“When the businesses offered the opportunity to me, I was excited. Art livens up a space, and I think when it’s incorporated into the community, it makes a big difference in how people see the town.”
Rone has not only left his mark on Tullahoma businesses, but businesses all over Southern Middle Tennessee. His paintings span as far as South Pittsburg and as close to home as Manchester and Decherd.
His biggest painting can be found on the windows at Tullahoma City Hall. This painting is an acrylic painting on the front windows of city hall of the Grinch and Santa Claus smiling at passersby on North Jackson Street. These paintings are approximately 10 feet tall and 20 feet across, and they took Rone two whole days to paint. Rone found himself using a ladder to complete the paintings.
“It was a lot of incline and decline,” he said. “I’ve worked with a ladder before, but it’s still a huge restriction on mobility.”
His other paintings are located on the windows of both Sonic Drive-In locations in Tullahoma, Sonic Drive-In in Manchester and at First Bank in Decherd. These paintings are smaller in size and feature Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, a polar bear, Christmas trees and Santa Claus. They are all painted in acrylic paint and have a lot of intricate details that make them unique to Rone’s painting style.
While the task may have been daunting, Rone feels accomplished by the holiday cheer that his paintings offer.
“An artistic environment gets people in the Christmas mood,” said Rone. “I’m glad that I was able to contribute to the community and offer some holiday spirit.”
Rone’s love for art has expanded into his college degree. Rone has recently finished his first year at college at Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Georgia. He is an aspiring architect, and he credits art for helping him hone his eye for design.
“Art has given me and understanding for design and what makes objects around the world beautiful,” said Rone. “Art is important in any scenario, whether it be for fun or for work.”
Rone wants to continue to paint art for the community and hopes to complete a mural in the summer when he is home from school.
“I’d love to have a huge blank wall as a canvas and paint something permanent,” he said.
“I believe art has taught me to see the beauty in the world,” Rone added. “Everything is art. It was once designed and I believe the influence of art has led me to better see it and express it.”
Anyone who would like to contact Rone about his artwork or for future artistic endeavors, can do so through his professional Facebook page under Griffin Rone.
Faith Few can be reached by email at email@example.com.