Nicholas Hankins is in the Chat Room

Nicholas Hankins

Nicholas Hankins

Age: 27

Single, son of Jerry and Brenda Hankins

Occupation: Consumer Finance/art instructor

Nicholas “Nic” Hankins is in consumer finance by trade, but he says his true calling is as an artist and art instructor. While he spends his day sat Classic Credit Co. in Maryville, he spends his off time in the Smokies drawing sketches for paintings, painting at his home or teaching painting at Hobby Lobby in Maryville.

The Greenville native came to Knoxville to attend the University of Tennessee, and his current job brought him to Maryville three years ago. Along the way he spent a couple years working at Dollywood conducting the steam train. “I’m railroad fanatic,” he says.

Hankins says Maryville reminds him of Greenville because of the friendliness of the people. “Everybody is goodhearted, and everybody feels like your neighbor,” he says.

Hankins says being this close to the Smokies is another reason he loves the area. “Being in this close proximity to the Smokies and Cades Cove is easy inspiration for me for painting. I go up there a lot to hike and photograph the area. I keep a sketch book and work that into bigger, more finished paintings,” he says.

Hankins first got the art bug as a child. ‘My dad is a photographer, and he has always had a knack for artistic composition and drawing and was very good at pen and ink. I remember when I was little looking at his drawings on the wall. I didn’t know he was the one who drew them until I was older. I was amazed. He started showing me how to draw.”

Hankins says when he’s teaching new art students, he tries to remember what it was like for him when he was first learning about art. “I also remember how that opened up my eyes to the everyday world. You don’t look at things the same when you start painting. I hope I’m passing that on. Art enriches my life, and I hope it’s doing the same with folks just getting started. The more you know, the more you want to learn.”

Here is Nic Hankins:

Who are you most like, your mother or your father and why?

“That’s really tough to answer, because I have so many attributes of both. If I have to make the call, I’d say my mother. It’s almost frightening how similarly we think and feel about things. Although, people always tell me I look like my dad.”

How do you like your steak cooked?

“I like it cooked just long enough that it won’t ‘moo’ when I put a fork in it.”

What are you guilty of?

“Daydreaming. I do it all the time. I think that is a result of painting for so many years. I see something I like, and I’ll paint a painting of it in my mind many times over before I ever put any information on canvas. I also love to travel, and daydreaming is by far the most cost-effective form of travel in the world.”

If you could do one impulsive thing, unrestricted by cost, what would it be?

“I’d love to spend a few weeks out west painting the landscape, taking photographs and enjoying the culture. I would maybe start in Oregon, my second favorite state, in the overwhelming rainforests and work my way down to Arizona and the beautiful colors and eerie landscape of Monument Valley.”

What is your favorite material possession?

“I’m privileged to own a painting by the late William (Bill) Alexander. He was a talented, eccentric and inspiring artist from Germany whose life’s journey led him from very humble beginnings in East Prussia during World War I to Canada and then the United States, where his love of painting and people afforded him the chance to host a public television program called ‘The Magic of Oil Painting.’ His was the only TV art instruction program ever to win an Emmy award. ”

Are you a cat person or a dog person?

“I’m a dog person and would love to have a Jack Russell.”

What are you reading currently?

‘”Dare to Desire’ by John Eldredge.”

Who has been the most influential person in the 20th century?

“This is a generational question, I think, so I’ll just answer from the perspective of my generation - David Letterman.”

What was your most embarrassing moment?

“Probably when I lost the button off of my pants in the third grade. I was doing this groovy thing with my friends in which you go down the slide belly-side down. By the 10th trip or so, my pants declared, ‘Enough,’ and betrayed me. This wasn’t the embarrassing part, though. That came when we were back indoors, and I discreetly related my troubles to the teacher, who not so discreetly stapled my pants shut in front of God and everybody. I haven’t been the same since.”

If you only had a week to live, what would you do and why?

“Pray for one more week.”

What was your favorite Saturday morning cartoon and why?

“Has to be ‘Garfield.’ Garfield and I go way back, and I think we have a similar sense of humor.”

What is one word others often use to describe you and why?

“Mature. I’ve heard the saying, ‘Boy, you’re wise beyond your years,’ all my life, and frankly, there are many times I wish I could throw caution to the wind with ease.”

With whom, living or dead, would you most like to have a long lunch?

“Both of my grandfathers, my Granddad and Papaw both passed before I came along, but so many people have told me how great those two men were. I’m sure we’d have a lot to talk about.”

What bugs you?

“Negative attitudes. Why sulk when the world is filled with so much to be thankful for?”

What is the best present you ever received in a box?

“The Bible I was given by my church when I graduated high school. It’s nice to live life with an instruction manual.”

What is the best advice your mother ever gave you?

“Life’s too short to waste time doing stuff you don’t want to do.”

In the workplace, would you rather be powerful or popular?

“Popular. It’s much more fun.”

Who is your hero?

“I would say my Mom and Dad. They’re my best friends. The older I got, the more I appreciated it. They set such great examples for me and gave me such love. I feel they gave me a real solid foundation to pursue what I wanted to do and taught me to believe in myself to do it. That’s a debt I can never repay.”

Do you use Myspace, Facebook or Twitter?

“I Facebook, but I don’t update my status every time I clean my plate.”

What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?

“The worst job I ever had was also the best job I ever had. I worked as a steam locomotive engineer for a few years on the Gulf & Ohio Railroad in Knoxville. It was the most fun I’ve ever had on a job but also the most stressful and strenuous job I’ve ever had. I gained a lot of patience and problem solving skills from the experience, though.”

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