Your Community Partners: 2017 Distinctively Southern Gentlemen


Roy Laws has been painting ever since he was a small child and has never stopped doing what he loves. You may be familiar with Roy and his iconic paintings, as he is known for “painting music,” and for the live paintings he does at events and on social media. He grew up in a house where there was always a record spinning, an eight-track running or cassette tapes playing; so naturally he continues to listen to music as he “paints music.”

Roy started working the live-painting aspect about three years ago and has expanded his audience through these live paintings. “I love the interaction with people who come to watch and it helps me spread awareness of my art and lets me make personal connections that I’d otherwise miss out on,” says Roy.

The live paintings help make an event memorable to all in attendance, as he encourages his viewers to come by, get close, ask questions and even take part in the work. “Having a good story behind a piece of art in your home always makes you connect more with it and nothing is as good as being there when it was created,” he says.

Living right outside Music City, in Williamson County, has given Roy the opportunity to incorporate two of his passions – art and music.

“Williamson County is probably the best place in America that you could live,” says Roy. “It has everything you look for in a small town, while having access to everything you could want in a major city. There’s a pride in Franklin that you feel when you talk to anyone who lives here.” He is also a big fan of the music and art scene around Franklin with the monthly Franklin Art Crawl and the music venue at Kimbros, for their intimacy of the room and friendliness of the guests.

He also has two children who attend school in Williamson County and couldn’t ask for a better education for them. They are the ones who encourage him to work harder and be better. “I always get a kick when my kids introduce me to their friends as ‘a famous artist,’” Roy says. “I suppose, in their minds, I am so I’ll keep at it.”

If he could change one thing in the world or Williamson County, it would be to increase the empathy levels of everyone with all the polarization going on in the world. “Having kids made me realize that most people in the world are just trying to get by and do what is best for their own families. Just because something doesn’t affect you or your particular community doesn’t mean it’s not a real issue that others have to deal with every day. I think that because we live in such a prosperous area that we have the ability to help out others who are in need,” he says.

He has had the opportunity to paint in front of various groups of people at concerts, fundraisers, sporting events and music festivals. He likes presenting himself and his art in a way that people can see the project from start to finish. Some of his work has even been seen by the people he has painted, like Shirley Manson of Garbage, and has had stars buy reproductions of a painting of their instruments, like Brian Setzer of Stray Cats.

Being a distinctively southern gentleman to him means a number of different things. “I think the best you can strive for is for your character, to be a good role model to others,” says Roy. “Always keep your temper in check, be generous with your time and your attention, treat others with dignity and honor and have a good sense of humor about yourself.”

Aside from painting music, he also does custom artwork for those that are searching for a new and distinctive piece. He constantly works with clients to help them to come up with a great design and color scheme that fits them.

Roy is continually eager to create new works of art and has a huge backlog of works he would like to create one day. The goal is to bring these new works to reality and discover new ideas and techniques he hasn’t even imagined yet.

“I think the best you can strive for is for your character to be a good role model to others.”

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