By Debbie Adams
Even if you don’t know the name Tonya Weaver Kirk, if you drive through Vinton on a regular basis, you know her artwork.
Kirk created the giant “L” (the bride and groom) and the “E” (the flag) on the Vinton LOVEworks sign on the front lawn of the Vinton War Memorial. She designed and painted the Vinton Farmers’ Market stage when it was renovated in recent years. Another project was the iconic Clover Creamery sign downtown on Pollard Street. She used her faux painting technique and stenciling to spruce up the interior of the Charles R. Hill Community Center.
She has also completed commissions throughout the region, including the Book Nook at the Art Museum of Western Virginia, the exterior mural on Willow Tree Primitives and Antiques on Route 220, the entire lower level of Billy’s Restaurant in downtown Roanoke, Habitat for Humanity homes, and numerous residential jobs in Vinton, Roanoke, North Carolina, South Carolina, and beyond.
Kirk says she has been “painting inside the lines for 20 years because most all of my work is commissioned. I am painting others’ desires and to please their imaginations.”
Kirk grew up in Vinton and graduated from William Byrd High School with the Class of 1982. She currently lives in Roanoke; she and her husband have purchased acreage in Ferrum where they plan to build a venue to host a variety of events.
Her latest Vinton project and addition to her legacy and reputation in town is a secluded dining area, the “Vinton Motors Room,” inside the new Joe Goodpies pizza restaurant opening soon at Vinyard Station in downtown Vinton. (The former Vinton Motors property at the corner of Washington Avenue and Pollard Street is being redeveloped by the Wilkinson Group into Vinyard Station, which will house both the restaurant and retail shops.)
The space Kirk has painted will be used for larger dining parties, similar to rooms at the Jersey Lily’s restaurants owned by Jack Winston, who is opening Joe Goodpies.
Kirk has worked with Vinyard Station general contractor Greg Rhodes on several projects, most recently a gym in Blacksburg, and that’s how she got the commission for the room in Joe Goodpies. She had also helped with the faux finishing of the Jersey Lily’s in Salem.
Kirk said that Rhodes had a vision and came up with the “Vinton Motors, est. 1931” Ford logo which Kirk painted over a faux concrete finish – one of her favorites.
“Greg is an amazing contractor with unmatched attention to detail and so clean,” Kirk said in explaining why it is such a pleasure to work for him. She says the same about Vinyard Station developer Dale Wilkinson.
While her painting studio is located on property at her home, she is also the founder of Ezra’s Attic Market, now exclusively at Willow Tree and the Branches at 3434 Buck Mountain Road in Roanoke. The name for her business came from her “first and only grandson, Ezra,” who will soon celebrate his first birthday.
At Ezra’s Attic Market, Kirk says you will find “furniture, antiques, home décor, art, and ‘uniques’ to feather your nest in an environmentally friendly way. Buying antiques and pre-loved décor is a wonderful way to support a healthy planet while bringing a touch of character to your home.”
Kirk describes the “thrill of the hunt” in curating her collection to share with the world. Ezra’s Attic Market is her largest collection yet. Her business also offers their services to those wanting “to lighten their load or downsize as they accept estate and consignment items.”
Kirk started out in the decorative art world accidentally many years ago, experimenting with applying a faux crackle finish to the walls of a restaurant. She went on to study the technique at the Graham O’Rourke Studios in Atlanta, Ga., and at various workshops, learning the art and business of faux painting and turning it into a successful and rewarding career.
Faux painting basically describes decorative paint finishes that replicate the appearance of materials such as marble, wood or stone. The technique can be anything from a kitchen backsplash that appears to be tile, a floor that resembles stone, a marble finish on a table, or etchings on a ceiling.
“A paint treatment is one of the least expensive ways to change the entire feeling of a space,” Kirk says. “Faux painting adds many different elements to an environment from soft and relaxing to dramatic effects.”
For many years she has worked with her daughter, Sarah Parcell, who Kirk describes as “a self-taught artist originally using acrylics on canvas who has recently transitioned to oils. Sarah is an extremely prolific artist and has completed an array of custom commissions.” Her works can be seen on her website at https://www.sarahparcell.com/.
Together they own “Studio Faux Interiors” which Kirk founded over 20 years ago, providing faux and decorative art services. They “express their talents on interior and exterior walls, furniture, cabinetry, and more.” They do murals, glazing, marbling, texture effects, stenciling, lettering, glass reliefs and etchings, and more. Most all of their commissions come from word of mouth referrals.
Kirk says at this point in her career, she tends to “gear towards the more unique jobs, the fun projects” – like Vinyard Station, the LOVEworks sign, and the Farmers’ Market stage.
“As of late people, of course, are staying home much more, thus ‘redoing’ and kitchen cabinet redo has become in high demand. I have a team with over 40 years combined experience who enjoy the challenge and reward of such makeovers that thrill our clients,” she said.
Kirk says, “If they can dream it, we can create it!”
You can reach Tonya Weaver Kirk at [email protected]. Ezra’s Attic Market is open 10-5 every day except Sunday, when it is open from noon to five.