By Isadora Pennington
You’re driving home from work, or heading to Murder Kroger for groceries, or stuck in endless traffic, and you see it. A sarcastic mural that makes you laugh, a fake Lost Cat poster (obviously misspelled and somehow instantly iconic), a wall of colorful tomahawks peeking through a gallery window, or a vibrant portrait chalked on the sidewalk. In that moment, you’re captivated, and by thinking whatever you think about what you see, you’re engaging with art and the artist who made it. Pretty cool, right?
It can be easy to forget how amazing Atlanta’s art scene is. We all kind of take it for granted that there’s a continuous ebb and flow of art decorating the walls of our city. With numerous neighborhood galleries peppered throughout the city, festivals all summer long, and a culture that embraces graffiti art, this town is ripe for artistic expression, and we’re lucky to have so many artists who love and lend their talents to their communities.
The history and funkiness of Inman Park and Old Fourth Ward have aided in an influx of new residents and projects like Ponce City Market, Krog Street and the Atlanta BeltLine’s Eastside Trail. Despite the new apartments, condos and adaptive reuses, the art that has decorated and defined these neighborhoods has persisted and flourished throughout all the city’s evolution and growth.
You may have seen the work of the artists we’re spotlighting this month on the wall inside your favorite local restaurant, displayed at a local art gallery, sketched on a sidewalk during a street festival, or sprawled across a wall of a nearby business and wondered, “who made that?” Here are four of them in their own words.
“I moved to Old Fourth Ward about a year ago, though I was born and raised in Atlanta. I have a BFA from GSU [Georgia State University] and a MAEd from UGA [University of Georgia] both in art education. I’ve worked at the Hunter Museum of American Art, Marietta Museum of Art, and High Museum of Art, among other places. I currently work at a nonprofit where I administer aptitude tests. A few years ago, while working in Marietta, I helped organize the Marietta Chalk Fest and I was inspired to try it myself.
Since then, I’ve won multiple awards. I can make and do anything, but I am primarily sought out for my expertise in chalk art, street paintings, murals, menu boards, corporate events, and the like. I’ve spent up to 36 hours, possibly more, on a single work of chalk art. When it rains, it washes away completely. You can see a list of my upcoming events on my website at artkatie.com. You can reach me at Katie@ArtKatie.com or find me on Instagram @not.kate.bush.”
“I’ve lived in the 4th Ward area since around 1999. I’m an artist for hire and my favorite medium of choice is spray paint. I got my start as an artist by painting in abandoned buildings and under bridges. After painting for a while, I started taking commissions from online websites. I attended AIU [American InterContinental University] for schooling in graphic design but got sick of looking at computers, so I focused more on murals and canvas work.
Lately most of my jobs come from social media outlets like Facebook and Instagram (@caveal). Other than that my work can just be seen around town in places like the Highland Bakery, King of Pops headquarters, Little 5 Points and my “I miss Buckhead” wall on Ponce. This year has been off to an amazing start with lots of great projects planned. Painting for Forward Warrior, Grind House Killer Burgers, Fire in the 4th, and much more are in the works.”
“I’ve lived in my house on Dixie Avenue for five years. Before that I lived on Waddell Street. I got a late start with art as a senior in high school after I transferred out of a soul sucking DOS computer programming class. I made my first painting on canvas and fell in love. It was a cheesy surreal beachscape with a bed on the beach. I pursued painting with a BFA from University of Southern California in 1992. I received my MFA from GSU in 2004 and have been teaching mostly drawing at SCAD ATL the last 10 years.
I’ve shown both nationally and internationally and my work focuses on psychologically driven narratives of that involve figures. As of late, I’ve been drawing slayers that hunt chimerical creatures that are a mix of rooster and desert landscape. Locally, I’m represented by Whitespace Gallery, also in Inman Park. My latest solo exhibition was at the gallery last fall. You can find my work there, but also participate in group shows at alternative spaces such as Kibbee Gallery or Hi-Lo Press. For my most recent work, go to annmariemanker.com. I’m also on Facebook and Instagram.”
“I’ve been living in Inman Park for about 16 years now and in Atlanta for more than 25 years. My mediums range from paintings on wood, incised multi-layered pieces were a thing I specialized in 15 or 20 years ago, paintings on car hoods (over 100 in the last 20 years), but in general I don’t think I see any particular medium as the go-to. I have always been someone who has enjoyed finding ways to express my ideas, but I don’t know if I have ever considered myself an “artist” in the sense that I think of artists that I respect and admire.
I just love people who establish their own unique category or niche in the world – where when you see anything that they are involved creatively with you immediately know who’s behind it. Maybe not just from a style standpoint alone, but also sensibility. I have been doing this for over 30 years full time; 12 to 18 hours per day! It’s the only way I know how to be. You can see more of my work online at RLandArt.com, and contact me by emailing RLand@RLandArt.com.”