Cartoonists Paige Braddock, Marshall Ramsey, and Danny Wilson have used their skills as illustrators and artists to document the experiences of those who lived through the Chimney Tops II wildfires that swept through the Great Smoky Mountains in 2016.
The artists’ work was inspired by interviews with those who lived through the catastrophic wildfires. Those interviews were recorded as part of Rising from the Ashes, an oral history project of the University of Tennessee Libraries, the City of Gatlinburg, and the Anna Porter Public Library.
The February 10 Rising from the Ashes: Artist Panel Discussion is intended to promote community healing from the shattering impact of the wildfires. Fourteen people died in the tragedy, and mountain communities were devastated. The event is supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Paige Braddock is best known for her Eisner-nominated comic strip, Jane’s World, the first gay-themed comic work to receive online distribution by a national media syndicate in the US. Braddock concluded the comic strip after completing its 20-year run in 2018. To celebrate the groundbreaking comic’s 20th anniversary, Braddock released a special anthology with Lion Forge in August 2018, Love Letters to Jane’s World. In 2019 it was selected as a Lambda Literary finalist for best LGBTQ graphic novel. Braddock published the first novel inspired by the comic series in 2016 with Bold Strokes Books. She has also written a series of lesbian romance novels with this publisher under the pen name Missouri Vaun. Two of her novels won Golden Crown Literary Society awards in 2019.
Marshall Ramsey is the Editor-At-Large for Mississippi Today, a non-profit news website. He’s a two-time Pulitzer Finalist (2002 and 2006), and his work is nationally syndicated by Creators Syndicate. His cartoons have appeared in the New York Times, USA Today and the Jackson, Mississippi Clarion-Ledger. He is the author of several successful books including three cartoon collections, two short story collections (Fried Chicken and Wine and Chainsaws and Casseroles), and the delightful children’s book Banjo’s Dream. Ramsey’s cartoons, photos, stories, and posts are frequently shared on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. Ramsey is also the host of the weekly statewide radio program Now You’re Talking with Marshall Ramsey, and the television program Conversations on Mississippi Public Broadcasting.
Danny Wilson is a freelance illustrator based in Knoxville, Tennessee, having earned is BFA degree from the University of Tennessee. For almost 40 years he has built a reputation for versatility, illustrating in many different styles and genres. Primarily working as a digital concept artist for event and experiential marketing, Wilson has created work for Disney, Warner Bros., Netflix, Amazon, Coca Cola, HGTV, Taylor Swift and many more. As a poster artist he was selected to create posters for the 2017 and 2018 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Games, The Battle at Bristol (Tennesee vs Virginia Tech; the world’s largest college football game) and the Official University of Tennessee 1998 National Championship poster, among others. Through the years he has also worked as a magazine and newspaper illustrator, including athletics branding work for the University of Tennessee Volunteers and the University of Tennessee-Southern Firehawks.
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