Be Creative: Toonky Berry, Muralist

with Joan Allison | photo courtesy Toonky Berry

On a scale of 1-10, how strict were your parents?
Dad 10 and Mom 5

Who was your favorite teacher? Why?
I had too many great ones that got me here! If I had to pick it would be my high school art teacher Ms. Hendrix, if it wasn’t for her I wouldn’t have come to Memphis and attended Memphis College of Art.

What was your favorite toy growing up?
I had a Tonka Dump Truck that me and my friends would take turns and get on and ride down the hill, lol!

What is the best piece of advice you’ve received?
“A closed mouth dont get fed.”

If you had to pick a new name for yourself, what name would you pick?
I did technically lol my name was Tookie then I changed it to Toonky, for many reasons but mainly because I drew a lot of cartoons and it looks and sounds better.

What accomplishment are you most proud of?
Being the first in my family to go to Art school and Graduate from one.

What’s the most beautiful place you’ve ever been?
When I visited one of my friends in St. Louis we went to The Missouri Botanical Gardens it blew my mind!

What’s the most courageous thing you’ve ever done?
I’ve jumped in front of a dog charging at my sister and her friend. My arm went in its mouth but luckily it was at a weird angle so it didn’t bite me.

When you’re having a bad day, what do you do to make yourself feel better?

Draw only personal work and binge watch anime or a tv series.

What is the funniest thing you have ever seen a stranger do?

I saw this guy in a truck showing out by burning rubber in a walmart parking lot. He did it so much that both back tires popped lol..

How many days do you wear the same pants in a row before it becomes a problem?

Since I paint, I re-wear shorts that already have paint on them to avoid messing up my nice clothes, lol! I would do that up to 3-4 days max but i try to alternate days.

What would your perfect Saturday be like?
No work, sunny day, music blasting, and a drawing sesh w/the homies at the park!

What’s your dream job?
I’m doing it…Artist. I still have much to learn but grateful for what I’ve done SO FAR..

Cake or pie?
Love them equally, but Cake all day!

Who is the kindest person you know?
My mom would give the shoes off her feet to anyone who needs them.

What was the funniest way that you have been injured?
Not funny at the time but I was hit by a tree branch and it separated my collar bone from my shoulder. I had my earphones on while listening to my Walkman, and I suddenly noticed my family running away from where we were standing. Then BOOM! something hit my shoulder and I looked down to find a log- sized branch. Luckily I was the only one hit and it didn’t hit my head.

If your life was a movie, what songs would be on the soundtrack?
Let it happen – Tame Impala Neighbors – J. Cole M.I.S.S.I.S.S.I.P.I. – Big K.R.I.T.

What tv catch phrase do you most enjoy using?
“Did I do that?” – Steve Urkel, Family Matters (classic ‘90s TV)

What song do you have to sing along with when you hear it?
“Dragonball Durag” by Thundercat

What are your 3 favorite movies?
Friday, Soul, Black Panther. Honorary mention LoveCraft Country (series)

As a child, what did you wish to become when you grew up?
I knew early on that I wanted to be an artist.

If you could have dinner with anyone from history, who would it be?
My Granny just to tell her how the fam is doing and show her my art I created for her.

Who would play you in a movie of your life?
My lil brother, he’s a mini version of me but skinnier, lol. If I had to pick a real actor, I would choose Brian Tyree Henry from Atlanta, just perm his hair and add glasses, lol!

What television show do you plan your day around in order to see it live?
106 and Park on BET back in the day.

If a genie granted you three wishes right now, what would you wish for?
End of COVID-19. End of racism. End of hate.