Curtis Glover is creating vibrant murals throughout Knoxville, but while his work is gaining recognition, not many know the man behind the murals.
Being an artist was not always the plan for Glover. After college, he returned to his love of art and started working at local art galleries. Creating murals was a side project before he realized it is his passion. His first major mural project was the stage backdrop at Boyd’s Jig and Reel in the Old City.
“And it spawned from there,” Glover says. “I was getting emails and phone calls. The demand for what I can do superseded the two-week-paycheck job. At one point I said to hell with it—let’s take a chance.”
Glover kept his nine-to-five job until the death of his father last year, when he realized that he didn’t want to play it safe anymore. He’s recently added large-scale paintings at Jerry’s Artarama in Bearden and near the Outdoor Knoxville Adventure Center at Volunteer Landing. He has upcoming several projects, including the new First Watch restaurant in Fountain City.
“It’s just a plethora of different people that see something that they like and they reach out to me,” Glover says. “So none of it is guaranteed. I fight for everything so that I can convince them to the best of my ability to show them that artists are needed. It can enhance your business. It is visually stimulating—customers are appreciative of it and enjoy the atmosphere based off the art.”
How much freedom Glover has with creating a mural depends on the client. With First Watch, he must stick to a rustic theme. But he appreciates it when clients give him room to stretch his imagination. Jerry’s Artarama is a prime example: They simply asked for koi fish and left the rest up to Glover.
“That’s the kind of stuff I’m capable of if you give me free range,” he said. “Someone gives me a wall and says, ‘Curtis, go crazy,’ then the work is better than what they hired me for if they said, ‘I want this and this.’ It constricts you. …I can still get to do what I want to do but I’m confined with thin those parameters. But if they are like, just make it look cool, then it’s passionate. That’s what turns me on and gets me going, and people respond to the colors and vibrancy and enjoy it. That’s what I love to do.”
Glover says he has no regrets about his decision to become a professional artist. There have been challenges, but he knew what he signed up for.
“It’s a struggle,” he says. “It’s stressful. It’s frustrating. It’s awesome. I wake up scared and excited every day. I don’t know what’s going to happen. Who’s going to call me? But there is nothing better than hearing ‘I like what that guy does.’”
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