It’s Art Season In Atlanta

A home repair snafu resulted in me not working all day. Then a breezy Friday night in The ATL found me with many entertainment options for the weekend, all of which centered on the thriving art community. Kai Lin Gallery had an opening entitled Dreamscape; Ponce Crush was set to roll the following evening through three galleries on the Ponce corridor: Beep Beep, Young Blood, Kibbee; and Artlantis was a Saturday daytime event I regretted missing last year. Modern Atlanta had also just launched a multi-venue campaign called MA11. What to do?

I settled on Kai Lin and Artlantis. Kai Lin is a gorgeous destination gallery on Peachtree Street in Midtown, and Artlantis is an annual music and art event held in my neighborhood, right near the edge of old money Druid Hills and the current hipster headquarters, Poncey-Highland.

Music pulsed as Yu-Kai’s space was thronging with the Midtown gays, the fashion set, the hot girls, the urban swanksters, all dressed to the nines in overpriced casual wear. I immediately spotted the jovial Ted Bruner; he’s a friend of mine and work colleague of my wife and the immediate past president of the Atlanta Gay Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. “The girls are out,” he jokingly commented about my wife’s a bit too-revealing top. I looked around the space, concurring inaudibly.

You know it’s not a scene without the king, and cool Nick from King of Pops was there with product cart ready-to-sell. I commented on noticing his recent expansion to Athens. He said, “Athens, Charleston and Asheville.” My pop was blackberry mojito, and it “actually mixes well with the drink,” he informed. “We call it poptails.” I concurred again, this time with a slurp of free booze, which was being soaked up by the delicious homemade pop. Ted said, “Your popsicle matches her dress.”

My attendance had been in doubt and when Yu-Kai noticed me he said, “You came.” I felt so welcome and really got why Yu-Kai is at the top of his game as one of the most creative businesspeople in Atlanta. So many nametag-plated reps, so professional, and the free food by Sufi’s, flowing cocktails and hot art didn’t hurt.

Interior designer Gil Hammond and I explored the work, which as he commented is “certainly affordable.” Small, fun, childlike wood block pieces by Janie Stamm amused me. Greg Noblin’s color-saturated, whimsical detailed photographic story paintings captured my eye. And Adam Wellborn’s urban image, orange-red mixed media pieces reminded us that this is the city. My favorite was his tank-like train rumbling through urbanity, called “Mass Transit.” I utterly adore taking the train.

My art train next saw me super bouncy bright and early up the block by foot to Artlantis. An ice coffee from Aurora got the day started right, and then I made the mistake of accepting a free Red Bull from the hot Red Bull girls. So I was amped.
The Beep Beep guys arrange this great outdoor event, and the usual faces from the local lowbrow art scene were well represented in artists’ booths with works for sale. WonderRoot and Burnaway are local non-profit organizations that fight the good fight for local art, so I enjoyed rapping with them. The Dashboard co-op folks were also on hand with stickers stating, “Awesome Rides our Coattails.”

Body painter and fine artist Stephanie Anderson was painting away on the sweaty flesh of a festival visitor as the music started. Multiple sets by a myriad of talented acts were scheduled throughout, veering mostly in the direction of local art-rock.

Timothy Michael’s color-in-color is applied with brushes and forks, using cool on warm colors to express a modern twist on Cezanne’s pre-cubist framework. Vail Davidson’s Innerlight Creations express positive messages via word collage. And Louis N LaPierre’s free pins will go so nicely on my denim jacket when in season.

My favorite stuff I saw all weekend was by Chris Hamer and Jeffree Lerner. Lerner’s modern primitive work is full of life – I’ve owned one of his owl magnets for a year and want to get a larger piece soon. Chris Hamer’s Urbnpop brand features a one-eyed, friendly monster popping up in unusual places. I bought one of his bottle openers and vowed to work with him as my illustrator on an upcoming project.

As the sun reached full bore and the summer heat fully threatened to begin, I reached my air-conditioned home worn out but wearing a wide grin. Let art in.