Barbara Kruger is the Best

Last year, when I was home for the holidays, I saw the remarkable Barbara Kruger exhibition “Thinking of You, I Mean Me, I Mean You,” at the Art Institute of Chicago. Barbara Kruger is one of my favorite artists, and absolutely one of my biggest artistic influences. I was so happy to see her exhibition, I bought our tickets months in advance. My wife Kelli, stepdaughter Grace and my Mom went to the exhibition with me. They were unfamiliar with her work but loved the exhibition too. All three were blown away. I can’t even describe how much this pleased me.

Surprise, I took a lot of pictures! I’ll share my favorites here in a series of photo galleries coming up next.

Making it My Own

Day by day, I’m making this space my own.

First order of business is to move out of my storage unit and move into the new studio space. While I do this, I’m also meticulously going through everything. I have years of things to go through and selectively purge. Time to take inventory. Time to get rid of the broken and unusable. Time to organize my materials. Time to get a few more things to make this studio even more functional. Then it’s time to create!

New Art Studio (Two Doors Down)!

I bought the house two doors down to keep as an investment property AND to use as my art studio!!! Throughout my professional life, I’ve managed to offset my mediocre income with wise real estate decisions. This was only possible because of the money I made from the sale of my loft in Atlanta. Thank you Atlanta Beltline! Hopefully this house is just the latest wise real estate decision. It should be, it really should. This might be the single greatest gift I have ever given myself. It’s not a gift, but I like to think of it as one because I am grateful.

Here’s how it went down. I needed a new workspace. Our new house is fantastic. I love it. However, there is zero space for an art studio. When searching for a home in Chattanooga, finding a house with enough space for an art studio was part of our plan. What we ended up doing was buy a house without space for an art studio but on a lot big enough to build one. Therefore, we planned to build something that would be part art studio and part shed to store our outdoor belongings.

I started sketching what I envisioned the structure to look like and reached out to a series of local contractors. I was having trouble getting interest because my job was too small for most building contractors. While in the middle of this process, I noticed a “For Sale” sign in the yard of the house two doors down from ours. I told Kelli about it, saying almost half-jokingly, that I should buy it. Buy that house instead building something on our property. She said it sounded like a great idea, and I should at least look into it. Look into it I did.

The price was right. I decided to make an offer! The house had been used as rental property for a number of years. It needed some fixing up if it was going to used as a primary residence. However, because it was going to be used as my art studio, it was basically ready to go as is. I’m oversimplifying the process, of course. Bottom line, I bought it. The house is now mine.

I’ve never had more than a spare bedroom for a studio. Now I have an entire two bedroom house for my art studio! I’m so psyched about that. Not only that, this place has a million dollar view and a ton of investment potential. You can see downtown Chattanooga from my front porch.

Add this to the list of major changes in 2021. Geez.

I’m thrilled. I have no regrets. Maybe I’ll rent out some of the space to share with another artist. I’m in no hurry to make a decision about that, and that feels good in itself. I love the fact that I can walk two doors down and be at work in my space. This is now and it’s also the future. As I mentioned earlier, this might be the single greatest gift I have ever given myself.

I’m sure I’ll post more about this at a later date. Meanwhile, here are a few pictures of my new art studio, and the view!

Kiss The Sun – The Atomic Bitchwax

Artist as Rock & Roll Enthusiast (aka ARE) Post: 30

Did I ever tell you the story of how I missed the concert and got to have a conversation about it with a guy in the band afterward? It’s a great story. One day maybe, I’ll tell you the whole thing. All the hilarious details. In the meantime, here’s the important stuff. It happened in July of 2017. In Philadelphia, at a place called Kung Fu Necktie. The band was the Atomic Bitchwax. The guy was Chris Kosnik, who founded the band in 1992. I was bummed! I was traveling and was excited to see a band I really enjoy. Fortunately, I’ve seen them before at the Masquerade in Atlanta. Turns out missing the show would end up being a much better story.

Inspired again by what came up on shuffle, here is Kiss the Sun, my favorite song from the New Jersey based band, the Atomic Bitchwax (yeah, I love that name too). First up is a super cool live version of the song, filmed on a beach in Sardinia, Italy. The second video is the first studio version, from their self-titled debut album. Wish I could find the second studio version, from the Boxriff EP. I think it’s superior version. Couldn’t find it on YouTube. It must be the only song not to make it to YouTube yet. Those super thick riffs and hooks are ear candy. This song also appears on my list of 500 favorite songs. 

Brett & Kelli Did a Thing

We moved to Chattanooga with the intention of getting married. We just didn’t do things in the typical order. Well, we’re not typical people, so everything was just right.

Actually, Brett & Kelli did a few things! Told ya major life changes came often in 2021. Here’s a timeline of all the big stuff:

January 2021: Brett & Kelli are a couple, after being close friends for a few years.
May 2021: After months of discussion, they decide to move to Chattanooga. They buy a house in Chattanooga. Brett puts his loft on the market.
June 2021: Brett, Kelli, and Grace move to Chattanooga. Brett’s loft in Atlanta is sold.
September 2021: Brett & Kelli get engaged, making it official.
October 2021: Brett & Kelli get married at an intimate ceremony on the historic Walnut Street Bridge, located in downtown Chattanooga. Grace and the officiant were the only ones there. The day was ours and it was perfect.

Moving Sale

Once I decided to move, I knew I had to have an artwork moving sale. My small, one room studio was jammed with my art. Paintings made and exhibited over the years. So prices were slashed, and deals were made. Paintings were picked up. Paintings were dropped off. Paintings were shipped.

This photo was sent to me by the happy customers. My painting looks magnificent in their spacious home. Love it.

All told these were the paintings sold in the moving sale:
Bad Scene
Buying Power
The Fifth Floor
Half Past You
Alpha Fail
Shortcuts & Long Shots
Reliable
Get It While You Can
Vulgar Praise

Thank you again for your support.

Moving from Atlanta to Chattanooga

After some anxious moments, I decided to jump in with both feet! I am moving from Atlanta to Chattanooga. This is absolutely, one of the biggest decisions I have ever made. I’m moving to Chattanooga with my girlfriend (and future wife) and her daughter. My loft in Atlanta is in a hot area of town. Time to cash in and invest in a new future with Kelli and Grace in Chattanooga. Now that I’ve decided this is what I’m doing, my anxiety has lowered and I feel excited. I feel good about this.

I’ll miss my place on Wylie Street (and it’s view of my street art) and a lot of people in Atlanta. I lived in Atlanta for 15 years, and in this location for the last seven. The next chapters of my life will be in Chattanooga.

Major life changes came often in 2021. They played a big part in my extended absence from this blog. Here are a few photos from moving day.

Putting Them to Good Use

In my opinion, there’s too many one-trick ponies in the Atlanta street art scene. Making the same old shit over and over again. The same drawing a million times. Greg Mike is just Atlanta’s most well known. THIS is what provided the initial spark that led to the creation of the Not so good sticker.

By placing these stickers here, I was taking my concept full circle. This was also a way to cover his work (just a little bit) after he had covered mine. Small time revenge haha. I’m sure these stickers were gone within two weeks. I don’t know because it was literally one of the very last things I did before leaving Atlanta. True story. I proceed to get two flat tires a moment later which delayed my dramatic high tailed exit out of town. Had to call on a friend for help, and left Atlanta the next day. This is why life is a comedy.

Another true story. I told a couple of friends how I wanted to make a sticker that said “Not So Good” and slap it on all the mediocrity surrounding me. The idea grew to be much bigger than my simple personal critique of the Atlanta street art scene. It was universal and could be applied everywhere.

LIES Street Gallery: Visual Report (#5)

Ok, ok. I said I was done, but I changed my mind.

Here’s more documentation of the devolution/evolution of the LIES street galleries. The final visual report of the destruction and regeneration and further destruction.

Not So Good

I told ya I’d do something with this idea. Finally went ahead with it. Included it into the LIES Brand as well.

Not so good is the answer. Within our current cultural environment, not so good, is the answer to almost anything.

Not so good is also the perfect message for a sticker you can place anywhere.

Getting Big Timed

Yeah, I got big timed. Greg Mike covered it up with some of his work. Guess, he liked the location too. Since I live nearby and could see what was happening, I walked up to him and introduced myself when he was painting his work over mine.

Nothing wrong with Greg Mike, Greg Mike is alright. He has as much right to put his work up there as I do. However, it’s not that simple. Here is a great spot that many people used over the last few years. Now it is changed. Because he’s a known commodity, the spot is now basically his. Others artists will now be reluctant to cover it up, even though they should.

This episode is all from the unwritten rulebook of Atlanta Street Art culture. I don’t belong. It’s OK. I’ve never fit into any club anyway.