His artwork can be seen all around Knoxville and Knoxville can be seen in many of his pieces too. It makes for a beautiful partnership.
Scenes of a city, the movement, the color, the beauty captured on canvas by Mike C. Berry.
"I spend most of my time downtown and so that's what I'm influenced by. I'm influenced by city life and the urban growth and just that energy and that buzz that's going on downtown," says Berry.
Mike is known for cityscapes, iconic scenes from East Tennessee and he's not even from here. He's from Arkansas. The son of a preacher started drawing in church.
"Sitting in the pew at church my mother was, I don't know if it was to keep me quiet or she saw that I had a gift, but she would always bring a pad of paper and pencils or crayons or something," says Berry.
He followed his passion all the way to Savannah, Georgia where he got his Masters in art and met the love of his life.
"She accepted me and understood me. She's very business-like and I'm very artistic so there's moments when she keeps me on track," says Berry.
Leah got a job promotion and they moved to Knoxville. It is where he really found his style.
"I reached a point where I was kind of stalling out with my work and I wasn't really happy with it," says Berry.
His wife and mentor gave him some good advice. "These colors you are using they are not saying anything. You need to say something with your colors. You need to be more expressive because you are just kind of blah," said Berry.
So, he found new inspiration in East Tennessee.
"I just started experiencing downtown and loved the vibrancy and all the revitalization. All this life was being pumped into downtown and it just spoke to me," said Berry.
It's reflected in many of his pieces. Soon, the Dogwood Arts Festival took notice.
"I was working on this piece and my wife said, 'You should enter that into the Dogwood show'. And I thought that's crazy. The Dogwoods are these beautiful creek scenes, these beautiful mountains vistas, that kind of stuff," said Berry.
But people loved it. "People came out in the rain the day that it was launched and told me, 'I came down here specifically to get this print in the pouring rain.' And that just blew me away," says Berry.
The limited edition print sold in record time. Another Knoxville staple, Pilot, took a liking to Mike Berry's work, too.
"Pilot is part of our community. They're a good company and they support the arts and they supported me. Gosh, I can't thank them enough," says Berry.
Mike is responsible for several billboards. He also runs the Downtown Gallery for UT and is licensed to paint UT landmarks like The Torchbearer.
Mike C. Berry, brings little bits of our bright city to life in a new way and in a community he cares about deeply.
"East Tennessee means to me support and family and I think about my little girl's face and the happiness that she has. It's about community and all the love that people have embraced with me through my work," says Berry.
One of Your Stories. There's no place like this one.