Local artist paints Dolly Parton’s face in eastern Tennessee

Jessica Ramsey painted a Dolly Parton mural and another and another …

KNOXVILLE, Tenn – A Knoxville artist has a penchant for the fabulous. She gained notoriety by painting the face of Dolly Parton in town.

Dolly Parton is loved and admired. She is the royalty of eastern Tennessee. Dolly’s paintings must therefore be perfect. They have to capture its spirit, its magic and a local painter does it very well.

“Someone said to me ‘you’re the painter Dolly, you’re the girl Dolly’. I just think that’s really cute,” Jessica Ramsey said.

It all started at Grow, a West Knoxville salon.

“I really spent a lot of time doing her lips, her eyes and her hair well, especially Shane for Grow’s hair,” Ramsey said.

And after that mural of Dolly, Ramsey’s business took off painting Dolly over and over again. And Marilyn Monroe. Nacho Libre. Even her husband, Shea Ramsey.

It’s a good thing that she’s good at faces, a passion that started with a class project at West High School.

“I loved drawing faces especially in high school, I remember drawing all of my friends,” Ramsey said.

After graduating in Fine Arts from UT, she worked for a mock finisher in Nashville.

“We made Tanya Tucker’s house, we made the director for Rascal Flatts, we did tons of fun projects there and she taught me a lot about how to cite a job, how to get a job” Ramsey said.

Jessica moved to Knoxville to marry her high school girlfriend and took some time to have babies. And then came Dolly.

“I love her so much. I love the feminine with its strong sense of self,” Ramsey said. “She’s just a wonderful human and I think painting her is a great way to celebrate her.”

And now this girl from East Tennessee is making her mark on Knoxville.

“I can just drive around the Bearden area and now downtown and point out all the different things I’ve done and it warms my heart that all of these people believe in me,” Ramsey said.

You can see more of Jessica Ramsey’s work on her Instagram.

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