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By KRISTIN FARLEY 6 News Anchor/Reporter
SEVIERVILLE (WATE) - An East Tennessee man has made quite a name for himself. He majored in political science and business, but this UT graduate is known better for his creative side.
Robert Tino, who began selling his paintings at a local gallery as a junior in college, has a gallery all his own and his work is known worldwide.
With each knife or brush stroke, Tino brings images to life. He started painting at the age of 12 and told us it's something he's done just about every day since.
Tino describes his work, whether with watercolor or oil, as composing, not just replicating a scene.
"A painting gets to a point where it says what you want it to say," he said as he was painting. "Now, it's just finishing it."
The day we stopped by the Robert A. Tino Gallery off Highway 66 in Sevierville, he was busy working on a painting of an iconic Smokies black bear.
He says it may be the subject he is best known for. In fact, he even found a way to work bears into his Christmas prints.
"This one was kind of a whimsical one," Tino said holding up a package of original cards. "Inside it says have a beary Christmas," he said with a smile. "I love the bears. I love the bears."
But when you look around the gallery, you quickly see much more than bears. Familiar landscapes from throughout East Tennessee pop off canvas.
He says one of our greatest treasures is one of his greatest inspirations.
"The Great Smoky Mountains," Tino said. "Every time you are up there, you are inspired to do something. It is just great."
Tino has such a creative mind, he sees art almost everywhere, from the historic family farm where his gallery is located to his childhood love of finger painting.
In the end, Tino says he strives to keep his work fresh. "I've been doing this for 35 years, so you got to keep doing new things to keep it exciting."
Some of Tino's recent work is much different than what he's traditionally known for, he has several contemporary and urban pieces now available for sale in his gallery.