Paris Woodhull, 121 South Gay Street, Future Home of Paris Woodhull Illustrations, Knoxville, August 2022
Local artist, long-time downtown figure, and friend to many, Paris Woodhull is taking a big step in her career. She will open a space at 121 South Gay Street. The space, which most recently included Painting With a Twist, will include a studio to the rear and a retail space in the front.
When I last spoke to Paris, she was completing her colorful mural in Strong Alley. While Paris creates a range of sizes and types of art, her trajectory had been from smaller pieces to the much larger work of murals. Throughout, she has maintained a strong thread of producing merchandize with her art. With the new space, she’ll not only be able to more effectively produce her art, but she’ll be also able to sell directly to the public in person.
She told me, “Murals will never go away. That will always be a part of my business. A huge part is wholesale and retail.” She produces t-shirts emblazoned with her art and she said, “I screen print all of my t-shirts myself.” Last spring, when she saw the current space become available, she knew it would offer the perfect opportunity to purchase and install the large pieces of equipment that will allow her to do her work more efficiently. It will also allow her to take print screen orders from others.
The largest portion of the new space will be devoted to the machinery and the production of prints and screen-print production. There will also be a small studio space set aside for her to paint. She said she wants people to be able to enter this space and observe and learn about the process that gives them their art or merchandise. She said it’s possible she’ll offer small classes in the future.
The front space will include retail for the products they create. Many of these products are currently available on her website. Included are prints t-shirts, ornaments, cards, stickers, tea towels, and more. Local themes are often included, with her whimsical maps of different sections of Knoxville a long-term favorite. Expect to see them all in the new shop, which will include display shelving built by her mother.
“I’m super excited for this expansion. I think it is a natural step for me.” She said a good bit of her business is out-of-state and online. She’s also worked with Visitor Centers. “When I do custom product design, I’ve never been able to fulfill some of the product in-house because I didn’t have the equipment. I’m excited to be able to help my clients from start-to-finish. We can design a t-shirt and print it for them.”
She said screen printers in Knoxville are backed up. This allows her to control the flow. She said she’s used Riot Printing for years and they’ve been very helpful at helping her track down the equipment which can be difficult to get with current supply-chain issues. When everything is in place, she’ll have a six-color press, a conveyor dryer, a flash dryer, and a wash-out booth.
She has a studio assistant and once she is trained on the new equipment, Paris hopes to be able to devote more of her time to the creative end. “I’m super excited to be here. I feel like this section is becoming the Maker section with Jacks, Rala, and Honeymouth.” She will continue to have products at Rala.
Expect the shop to open by First Friday, September 2. She expects the shop to be open Wednesday and Thursday, 11:00 am to 5:00 pm, Friday and Saturday, 11:00 am to 6:00 pm, and Sunday Noon to 5:00 pm.