I’m often asked what inspires my art, or what made me create a certain piece. While I sometimes create random pieces with no major inspiration or story behind it, the majority of my work is inspired by life’s journey. My art is a story on canvas. I create based on thoughts, memories, and emotions from some part of life. These stories inevitably are those of which we can all relate to in some way from our own stories alone life’s journey.
The Love Atlanta collection was created to reflect my love for the city that made me, the city that plays the biggest part of my life’s journey. Each piece tells a story of what Atlanta means to me and why this city will always have my heart, no matter where I go. This collection is for those who not only love art but may also have a special place in their hearts for Atlanta. It is my hope that this collection will also spark special memories of this beautiful city for you.
Here are 4 reasons to LOVE ATLANTA:
No Place Like Home
Inspired by me growing up in Atlanta, the highway signs to the SWATS and Westside represent home. As a child, I vividly remember my first time going to the World of Coca Cola when it was located next to Underground (oh and if you ever went back then I just know you remember that disgusting international soda flavor). Then, Underground Atlanta was the spot during those teenage years and early 20s- the shops, the food, convenience to Marta, it was a vibe. Another highlight, The Varsity, a landmark in Atlanta but not a spot that Atlanta natives are checking for now. As a child, I remember those nasty ass chili dogs and onion rings, and I always wanted one of those paper hats to take home with me. Although the food was not something I looked forward to, for some reason my grandma wanted their food whenever we’d be downtown. Perhaps it was more so the memories of The Varsity for her as well that made her always want to go. Either way, those trips to The Varsity with my mama and grandma hold a special place in my heart and make The Varsity a big part of my Atlanta nostalgia. I included an airplane with the Delta logo because my first flight at the age of 7 was to Cleveland, Ohio on Delta with my mama, grandma, and big cousin. My grandma and big cousin are no longer here with me, and the fact that I love to fly now and pretty much only fly Delta…of course this piece of my heART had to be included.
Last, but certainly not least, I would’ve been remiss had I not included the ‘96 Olympics as part of this piece. That is one of Atlanta’s biggest historical moments and if you lived here or visited during that time it definitely is an unforgettable time. Before the opening ceremony, I remember there were torch runners going through the city and stopping briefly at certain points for photo ops. One of the torch runners ran and stopped in my neighborhood (the intersection of Venetian Rd and Sandtown Rd to be exact) and I was fortunate enough to get to touch the torch and take a picture. The unfortunate part is that back then was the era of developing photos and disposable cameras, so my mama took the film to K-Mart (I think) to be developed and they mysteriously lost all of those photos in particular so that's a memory that I can only visualize in my memory. I’m such a sentimental person and would love to have had those photos to someday show to my own children. Nevertheless, I have the story to tell which is just as good, right? Overall the ‘96 Olympics was big for Atlanta, it was the turning point and the beginning of the city’s evolution. It was the 1996 Centennial Olympics, Then Atlanta Blossomed…
Then Atlanta Blossomed
The year was 1996, the year that the world’s spotlight was on Atlanta. The Centennial Olympic games were hosted in Georgia’s capital city. That was the year that Atlanta blossomed because from that year, the city would never be the same. The following summer, in 1997, we broke ground for construction of Philips Arena (now known as State Farm Arena). In 1999 that became the new home of the Atlanta Hawks with the unique and landmark exterior, spelling out Atlanta facing downtown. This piece, Then Atlanta Blossomed, was inspired by those two things- the colors of the ‘96 Olympics and the exterior of our basketball arena (which I’m sure will probably always be called Philips Arena by us natives). Over the years, Atlanta has truly blossomed into virtually a new thriving city. However, that’s also a subjective topic because there are some people who feel like the blossoming of Atlanta has taken away it’s true essence over the years, and there are others who absolutely love it. It’s a debate that gives Atlanta the quality of being abstract…an Abstract City.
If someone asked you to define what makes Atlanta great, what would you say? As someone born and raised in this amazing city, I honestly feel that it's hard to really explain in simple terms what makes this city great- it is pretty much an abstract city. Depending on who you ask, Atlanta can be described in so many different ways.
You have the “Old Atlanta” group who will give you answers of things, places, and people that now may only exist in Atlanta’s history, but are essential to today’s greatness that the “New Atlanta” group will describe. Then of course there’s the small group that are neither natives or current residents, but visitors that experienced a small piece of the city for a short time. Their answers will also differ based on their experiences.
The abstract nature of the city, in my opinion, is one of the things that makes this place so attractive and a city that is continuously growing. Regardless of its definition, one thing that natives and newbies can probably all agree on is that there is one reason or another for everyone to LOVE ATLANTA…whether they love the new or they Love Old Atlanta.
Love Old Atlanta
Old Atlanta is everything about Atlanta before the year ????. I put those question marks because honestly there is no definite year, as some say Old Atlanta was before the Olympics, others say it ended after the “crunk music” era, then some have even said sometime around 2015. I personally think Old Atlanta ended sometime around 2010 and, I know this timeline is highly debatable but I’m not here to debate it! Regardless of when Old Atlanta ended, the sure thing is that Old Atlanta is a “historic” time period of Atlanta that we will never get to experience again because New Atlanta is here and is only going to continue to blossom into a newer city.
One of the many things that made Old Atlanta is the neighborhoods of Atlanta, some of which still exist and others that were demolished and replaced with more expensive residential or commercial buildings (in some cases we can just say it was gentrified). The inspiration of the Love Old Atlanta piece is the ‘hoods that give us Old Atlanta natives the memories of growing up, family, friendships, and even beefs. Within the bricks are the names of areas that existed then and now- from projects, to general areas of the city, to the zones that we still rep. These places are the essence of Old Atlanta and it’s natives. The graffiti vibe of this piece is homage to the beautiful street art seen around Atlanta, even before it was the popular thing here. In the letter “O” the phrase “Stop Gentrifying ATL” is hidden but is still seen when you really pay attention, and its meaning to this piece is probably obvious but of course open to interpretation.
These 4 pieces are only a few pages of the book of why I LOVE ATLANTA and what this city means to me. I’d love to hear what Atlanta means to you.