JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - With a paintbrush in hand, Bobby Willlis has definitely left his mark on Region 8.
But, that won’t be the case for much longer.
Willis is best known for painting the town red.
He’s painted over 600 different places throughout Region 8 and calls Jonesboro his “adopted home.”
“I just had the natural ability to draw,” said Willis.
What started out as talent quickly evolved into something much bigger.
“The schools were the first one to notice it really, and they noticed that I could draw, so they had me start drawing these giant cheerleader pictures for run-throughs on Friday night football,” said Willis.
Learning how to draw the "bigger" pictures, led his canvas to become windows, and a business that he would pursue for 43 years.
“I was fortunate, I never thought it would go that way,” said Willis. “It started in Jonesboro but it kind of jumped and went all over the place, Greene County and all the schools and churches.”
Being able to share his talents across Region 8, is something that Bobby has always taken great pride in.
“To me, it was a pleasure and a honor to have businesses call me and say ‘Hey, can you put me on your schedule, can you get me painted this year,’” said Willis.
But, just as the stories he has brought to life through his artistic abilities must come to an end, so does this one.
“I think I’m officially retiring from the painting business,” said Willis.
Bobby and his wife, Debbie, are moving to Collierville, Tennessee to begin a new journey.
While he is moving on, that doesn’t change his passion.
“I will not paint Memphis State, Memphis stuff, high school stuff,” said Willis.
The city of Jonesboro, A-State, and a certain tradition will forever hold a special place in his heart.
“This is it, Jonesboro,” said Willis. “I don’t think I could ever duplicate another paint the town red, it’s that unique.”
Bobby said the paint he used stays on for years, and just like the paint stayed on, so will his legacy.
He said he hopes people will see this story as an opportunity to express their artwork and show their pride.