'Toonky Art' making its mark on Memphis

MCA graduate makes his mark on Memphis

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A Memphis College of Art graduate is making his mark on the Bluff City, one mural at a time.

When Quantavious Worship was a little kid growing up in Mississippi, he told his mom he was going to art school. Today, at age 23, he's in demand, creating digital art, making t-shirt designs, and painting murals.

WMC Action News 5 met Worship inside Penny Hardaway's Christyles Celebrity Salon on South Main Street on Tuesday night. He was just starting to paint a new basketball-themed mural, commissioned by the salon owner's daughter, Crystal, whom he met at art school.

"I just zone out and go into my own little space," said Worship. "A lot of people make fun of me, but I listen to country music and all that kind of stuff. I surprise myself sometimes. I look up and I'm almost done. It's crazy!"

Just last week, Worship used his skills to cover up graffiti on a truck in a downtown parking lot. The lot and truck are owned by the Pentecostal Church of the Church of God in Christ on MLK Blvd at 4th Street.

The graffiti was replaced by a mural, commissioned by the Orion 5K organizers and WMC Action News 5 anchor Joe Birch, and approved by the church. It features mascots for the University of Memphis Tigers, the Memphis Grizzlies and the Memphis Redbirds.

"Oh yeah, that was fun!" Worship said.

"I think the mural's beautiful!" said church member Maurice Reed. "He was meticulous in what he was doing. And when he started, it was hard to get him to stop."

Worship said his mom is finally seeing how his boyhood dream is becoming a reality.

"Growing up she was like, 'Why aren't you playing sports?'" he said, "And I was like, 'I don't know. I don't want to mess up my hand.' But now she realizes this is what I do. This is what I'm supposed to be doing."

Many of his commissions come from Instagram, where he's known as "Toonky."

"My whole family is run by Tookies," he said.  "I've got like six cousins named Tookie. I wanted to be different, so I changed it up to Toonky, because of cartoons. I can draw cartoons. That's where that came from."

But "Toonky" can do a lot more than draw cartoons.

"I do digital art, logo designs and t-shirt designs," he said, "Like I have one of my own t-shirts on right now. Anything I can draw, I do. I did a food truck for the Grisanti family."

Worship's goals for the next 10 years of his career include travel and opening his own business.

"I want to go to different states and different cities and do murals,"  he said.  "And I want to have a great clothing brand by that time."

His passion for his craft is obvious to anyone who meets him, and anyone who's seen his art.

"The beauty of it is perspective," said Maurice Reed. "And that's what it is. It's all about love."

If you'd like to see more of Toonky's art or hire him to create something for you or your business, contact him through Instagram.

Copyright 2018 WMC Action News 5. All rights reserved.