Pinkie Mistry’s peaceful art gallery just a walk away from MC campus

Above Neighborly Books in Downtown Maryville, Pinkie Mistry’s self-named gallery showcases her work in various mediums. Pinkie Mistry Gallery and Studio shows different collections, ranging from her illustrations and drawings to her intricate oil paintings. With this variety represented, it prompts one to wonder how Mistry got to this point today.

While an artist’s journey is entirely unique to the individual, Mistry’s career path has shifted in unusual ways. With 20 years of experience in graphic design after graduating from Pellissippi State Community College, one might expect to see some of these influences in her gallery. 

“I still do a little bit of graphic design, but the majority of my work is paintings and mural art,” she said. 

A display of the mediums represented at Mistry’s studio stands at the top of the stairs, showcasing her collection of butterfly paintings used on the Hillside Winery labels. Courtesy of Maddux Morse.

Explaining her transition from graphics to paintings 10 years ago, the artist mentioned her experience with Hillside winery. As one of Mistry’s previously established graphics clients, Hillside Winery in Sevierville was one of the first transitional projects, with a series of painted butterflies for wine labels. Mistry attributes this project with helping to start painting mural art.

Another major shift in Mistry’s career was when she opened up her gallery and studio in Maryville. 

“I was actually doing an art showing, and Laurie [Meier], [Neighborly Book’s] owner, came up to the art show,” Mistry explained. “I’ve illustrated some children’s books, so I had those laid out, and she was looking at them. I met her there at the art showing and found out she was opening the bookstore.

“I think the next day I emailed her and asked her what she was doing with the upstairs space,” she added. “I remember how the light came in, and I loved it.”

Hand-drawn chalkboard outside Neighborly Books and Pinkie Mistry Gallery and Studio introduces the art gallery. Courtesy of Maddux Morse.

The gallery and studio opened in October 2022, a few months after the bookstore below. Doubling as a studio space, passersby might see Mistry hard at work, the tall windows casting aesthetic natural light into the space as she creates a commissioned oil painting for a customer.

“With these [oil] paintings, I have a story behind them,” Mistry said. “I like to do commissions for people with pictures that are meaningful to them. Then they have a piece that they can talk about.”

Mistry connects with the Maryville community through her space, telling a story through her art. Commissions offer a chance for Mistry to share the depth of emotion in a landscape while telling someone else’s story. By encouraging her customers to share these stories or photographs with her before she paints, Mistry is able to include those memories as she works.

Light from the gallery windows offer the perfect atmosphere for Mistry to work on Commission pieces while in her studio space. Courtesy of Maddux Morse.

“I like painting what’s beautiful, and I love the mountains and the water,” she added. “I come here to do the paintings, and a lot of my graphics work I do at home.”

Mistry’s art is representative of her journey, and the oil paintings hanging on the studio walls tell a story about recognizing the beauty in nature. With landscapes native to Appalachia, as well as canvases that tell stories from beyond this region, it is clear, even to the untrained eye, that the artist’s intentionality of strokes and attention to detail enhances her narrative. 

“I tell this to people a lot, but I hope we get more galleries in our town,” Mistry said. “I think we need it.” 

For MC students planning their next stop in Downtown Maryville, a gallery might be just the place. Offering immersion in the artistic creations of Pinkie Mistry, this cozy space is conveniently located within walking distance from campus.

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