Local artist flips Memphis homes on new HGTV show

A standalone television pilot for HGTV that features a Memphis artist flipping a home in Orange Mound premieres this week.

<strong>Aided by other Memphis creatives, Carl and Christina Hess plan to renovate Orange Mound homes.</strong> (Courtesy Carl Hess)

The show, called “Moving Memphis,” features portrait artist Carl Hess flipping the Orange Mound home of Britney Thornton, Shelby County commissioner for District 10.

The pilot was shot for HGTV in May and June.

Hess is an Orange Mound native who graduated from Overton High School and has gone on to paint portraits of numerous high-profile figures, including President Barack Obama and longtime Shelby County commissioner Walter L. Bailey Jr.

Hess conceptualized the television pilot after flipping 11 homes in the Dallas area from 2018 to 2020. He contacted HGTV directly to pitch the idea.


Civil Rights pioneer Walter L. Bailey Jr. honored with commissioned portrait


“It was a little persistence mixed with a little faith,” Hess said.

While Hess is traditionally known for portraiture, he wanted to bring his newfound home-renovation talents to Orange Mound.

He was artistically inspired by a gallery art show in May. The show was hosted by Tone , an Orange Mound-based nonprofit that seeks to empower Black artists and communities.

“‘Moving Memphis’ is about documenting and pulling the history from the neighborhood; about galvanizing and encouraging the people of Memphis and Orange Mound to take ownership and take the reins of renovating and bringing up our own properties and being in charge of our future,” Hess said. “We’re not flipping to make a profit.”

In August, Memphis residents of District 10 in Orange Mound elected Thornton as the youngest county commissioner ever elected.

Thornton is a lifelong Orange Mound resident and founder of the nonprofit organization Juice, which locally fundraises for innovative neighborhood project ideas crafted by community members.

“At the time of filming, she actually wasn’t in office, but she is now,” Hess said. “We teamed up with her to help her renovate the entire house and give it an amazing design.”

Hess noted the artistic talents of local Memphians are far-reaching and multi-faceted, something that can be used as a resource for neighborhood and city rejuvenation and social progress.

“I have quite a few friends that are artists and creatives in Memphis, and I think it’s time these individuals overtake the news coming out that is negative, and I think this is the time,” Hess said. “I think this will shock Memphians to see the creativity that is here that the majority of Memphians do not already know about.”

“Moving Memphis” premieres on HGTV Thursday, Dec. 22, at 11 a.m. CST.

This was originally published on “dailymemphian.com”

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