Tonia Gebhart was born in Rutherfordton, NC and grew up on a farm in Lillington, NC. Growing up on a farm taught Tonia to be creative with what she had around her. The natural elements and old materials are used frequently in her pieces. Tonia is mainly self-taught, with a few private lessons. She grew up watching Bob Ross and making art out of anything. Today she primarily works with oils and about half are done with a palette knife.
Tonia started painting murals in 2001. She earned the name “The Barefoot Artist” when she painted her first commercial mural. She was caught painting with her shoes off and the local paper posted it on the front page. It’s been a name that stuck and has since become a corporate brand that has proven to be very successful. Since then she has painted over 1500 murals from D.C. to Florida and as far west as Texas. Most of them are large scale and required lifts or scaffolding to complete. Her commercial work can be seen at Anfesa’s Grand Marque Ballroom in Garner, NC; on the streets of Lillington, NC; Trader Joe’s throughout the southeast region; and several other restaurants and schools along the way.