Atlanta Artists In Their Own Words

Feb 2, 2017

In metro Atlanta, art is all around us.

We asked some of the city's creative minds to share their perspectives about the Atlanta art scene, why they work in their particular medium and the value of public art.

Check out a slideshow of their favorite works above, and listen to what they had to say below.

FAHAMU PECOU | ARTIST, SCHOLAR, ACTIVIST

Credit Fahamu Pecou

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I find that as a fine artist, as a painter, I'm able to tell stories to provide narratives to give a glimpse into the existence and the lives of black men that most people are unable to have access to.

Having access to public art improve the lives of everyday Atlantans by allowing us to not just move through the world with blinders on.

It allows us to think about the world in ways that we may not have previously considered. I always say that in the future historians will tell what happened and artists will tell how it felt.   

CATLANTA | STREET ARTIST

Credit Catlanta

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I chose to do street art kinda by accident.

I started spray painting in the city, and the neighborhood groups weren't necessarily into that.

So I found other ways to bring art in a nondestructive way to the city of Atlanta.

Public art forces the viewer to engage in their environment and notice the city around them, even if it's just a simple drawing on the side of a building.

It can change someone's day completely and change the way that they look at their neighborhood.  

KHALILAH BIRDSONG | LARGE-SCALE PAINTER

Credit Khalilah Birdsong

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I'm a large scale abstract contemporary artist and I paint very expressive colorful pieces.

I chose that particular medium because I learned early on that I had a lot to express without being tied to line or form.

I think having access to public art really does improve the lives of everyday Atlantans.

It inspires you. I can see other people being pulled in by it.

And for a brief moment, it transports you from your everyday thoughts and concerns and provides a means of escape.  

SARAH HOBBS | PHOTOGRAPHER

Credit Aaron Coury

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I am a photographer and an installation artist from Atlanta.

I chose photography because I studied art history as an undergraduate, photography seemed to speak to me the most.

Resources that are available to artists are many – The High Museum of course, the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, several galleries...

There are many ways to see art.

Having access to public art in Atlanta improves the lives of everyday Atlantans, because it gives someone a step out of their everyday life.

If you're driving down one of our streets and you see a mural, it really can take you out of whatever mundane thing you may be thinking of and take you to another place.  

MOLLY ROSE FREEMAN | MURALIST

Credit Molly Rose Freeman

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I chose to be a muralist after being a studio artist for a number of years.

I helped out friends on murals, and through that process got to understand the value making art in the streets –being not only the artwork itself, but also the process of the art making being in public.

I think that if you compare us to other cities that have larger infrastructures for art (and especially for public art) we just we don't have as strong a history.

But I think that that can also become an advantage and a resource.

Having public art as part of your landscape builds on this idea that art and life are not separate.

You don't have to go to a museum or a gallery in order to have some communion with creativity, or with somebody's imagination your own imagination that art and life can be symbiotic.

They can be seamlessly integrated and interwoven.

SCOTT INGRAM | MULTIDISCIPLINARY ARTIST

Credit Scott Ingram

Website

I've always been a big fan of public art.

I'm very interested in site-specific sculpture.

I think it really becomes a really nice kind of wayfinding device in addition to conversation.

I grew up in the Midwest, and there's actually a lot of permanent outdoor sculpture there.

And I can remember back when they first put them in place people would say "Yeah, that's a terrible thing why do we need that?"

And then years later it became a landmark for the community.  

I think that it's accessible to people in a way that is not like going to a museum or paying admission to get into something.

It's something that just becomes part of your life and it becomes very natural, and something it's very easy to do and access and see and appreciate.

KAREN ANDERSON | TINY DOOR CURATOR

Credit Karen Anderson

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Having access to free and public art improves the lives of people in Atlanta exponentially.

I think that tiny doors fits into this sort of free public sphere in a really specific and unique way.

It is small. You can touch it and it's on the ground level.

We try to keep it all accessible to people of all ability levels. If you can get outside, you can reach it.

And that's something that we wanted: to create tangible art that reflects the community around it.

Tiny Doors ATL does not stand on its own. It stands as a reflection of the community.