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.
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.
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.
For months, I continued adding posters in these two locations on Wylie Street on a regular basis. Then I’d sit on my patio and people watch. During daylight hours, there’s a steady flow of people here on the Atlanta Beltline biking and walking path. These locations became my LIES street galleries and I had a lot of eyes on my artwork.
I documented their destruction extensively too. I plan to be use those images in a future series of mixed media paintings. See the visual report posts for details.
Street art in a space like this will get tagged, and should get tagged. It’s a part of the public space. No one expressing themselves creatively can claim ownership of these spaces. The slow destruction of this type of work is normal. In my opinion, the weathering and tagging adds to the visual appeal of the medium overall. I think it’s beautiful and has amazing mixed media potential. Makes the creative gears in my mind turn.
I’ve written before about where I live in Atlanta. It’s fast becoming a street art destination. I’d like to think I did a small part to spark the activity happening here. When I started working here, the Atlanta Beltline was yet to be constructed and the graffiti here had not been updated in along time. Today, there is constant action. New street art being added on a regular basis. That was not the case with this location (a metal, ridged wall) in 2016, when I started pasting up here. You can see pictures of that artwork here, here, and here.
Living across the street from your artwork has its perks. Not only am I on top of it in regard to my “principles of street art” battle (haha), I also get to see people stop and photograph themselves in front of my work. It’s uniquely rewarding.
On more than one occasion I’ve seen people film a scene for a music video right in front of my artwork. The video below is one example of this.
My final response to my graffiti artist nuisance was to make more posters, and paste up more posters. A lot more!
Living across the street allowed me to work with precision timing. As you can see from these photos, it was a lot of fun. A few total strangers stopped by to show support. Some of them wanted to get involved, including a Canadian citizen in full support of my message. We had to work fast, but I still had time to document the activity.
Here is my response to the message sent to me in the previous post. You might not agree with my point of view, but my guess is that most will. Regardless, I hope it provides context to why I would bother to respond in the first place.
You also might not agree with my sharp language, however I feel it is absolutely appropriate for this environment. For context, the Forward Warrior murals I refer to are spaces given to artists to make their work, a specific work. They are making art for the public space. For everyone. Taggers, at least the ones that are assholes, will often tag those pieces of art. These murals are art in a public gallery given to the community for all to enjoy. It is wrong to tag this work.
The space where I am working is public domain. No one can claim it. No one can dictate what type of media can be used either. Taggers can go ahead and tag it. They can do their thing, but don’t tell me I can’t be here. “The entitled tagger?” Makes me laugh out loud, because it’s super lame.
I’m not hiding or running away. I put my name to my words. I stand behind everything I wrote and posted.
Open Letter to Graffiti Artists (AKA Taggers)
It shouldn’t have to be said, yet here we are. You do not own the wall on Wylie Street, CSX does. Don’t be bitches when other artists use paper and paste instead of spray paint to communicate their message. Until CSX declares this wall to be for “graffiti only” you’ve got nothing to say. Tag it, that’s the nature of the beast. However, don’t declare it “graffiti only.” It’s laughable for a street artist to make such a suggestion.
I’ve been pasting up my art on this Wylie Street wall for over 5 years. In 2016, I had 150 feet of this wall covered at once. At the time, this was a stagnant location filled with old, weathered graffiti and lame ass tags. I was tired of looking at the same old stale shit. Graffiti artists have been tagging over my pasted up street art for years.
Now there’s an unwritten rule that this particular wall is only for graffiti? What a joke. Street artists intentionally avoid the structured gallery system and their rules. Now some want to subject others to their own version of arbitrary gallery rules within the public space???! Sounds like a bunch of bitchy establishment bullshit to me and any street artist worth their salt would know better than to utter such nonsense. Only the Forward Warrior murals are off limits. I do not paste on those, nor should anyone else. Yet that still doesn’t stop taggers from pissing spray paint on them too.
Pick up your damn trash! I regularly throw away empty spray cans tossed aside by street artists as I clean up as much of my mess as I can.
Spray paint artists and paste up artists, and slap (sticker) artists can and should co-exist in a public space such as this one right here.
Logistically, I started focusing my street art displays on one location. An old favorite. The wall across the street from my house on Wylie Street. The place I used for three of my four large scale paste up pieces. I posted about them years ago. You can find pictures here, here, and here.
This wall is ridged, which made it too difficult for pasting up the large-scale prints. Too much surface area. However, this would not be a problem with these new smaller posters. Therefore, I went to work making a large scale display.
Located a few minutes southeast of downtown, these two adjacent neighborhoods have long and storied roles in Atlanta history. Both are small in size, but large in historical significance.
Today, these are two of the quirkiest neighborhoods in Atlanta. I lived in Reynoldstown from 2014-2021, a block from the border with Cabbagetown. I enjoyed most everything about living in the area, including the collective sense of humor of its residents (see image below). My Instagram page is filled with dozens of pictures of my morning walks through these two neighborhoods.
In 2020 and 2021, I took the LIES targeted poster series to the streets of Atlanta. This work meant nothing if it wasn’t seen by the public. This was conceptual art as a graphic brand. It was also political protest art intended to make a sharp and direct point.
At this time, I ventured to a few popular hotspots around town (including the famed OutKast mural in Little Five Points) and, along with the help of a few friends, pasted up dozens and dozens of posters. Here are some of the documentation highlights.
Probably because I’m an artist, but my first instinct here is to think that the person behind it is not a racist at all. Instead, they’re making a subversive statement about racism itself and our visceral responses to it.
It made you look, it made you think. That my friends…is why art kicks ass, regardless of what your emotional reaction may be.
In Atlanta, just southeast of downtown is a little neighborhood of called Cabbagetown. In the time I’ve lived in this city, Cabbagetown has become a street art Mecca. A destination for street artists and street art appreciators alike. As I’ve mentioned before, I live in the adjacent neighborhood of Reynoldstown, but just a short walk from the epicenter of the Cabbagetown street art scene. The Krog Street Tunnel is an ever-changing visual spectacle of street art. Unlike the murals around the corner, the tunnel is intended to be tagged and layered and covered and covered and covered some more.
Shaking’ Things Up is the first sticker slap in a new (as of yet untitled) series of work. I finally have something I wanted to add to the Tunnel.
Here are some images of the results. These are just the highlights of my Krog Street sticker slaps.
The kids call them slaps. Stickers. Well, when used as street art they’re are called slaps or sticker slaps. At least that’s what I’ve been told.
I went to the Krog Street Tunnel to add some slaps. Just a little of my flavor added to the constant storm of visual stimulation in this location. While there, I found a group of kids having fun and gave them some stickers to spread around other locations in Atlanta. Spontaneous assistance. It’s nice to have help when taking care of business like this.
Bring an artist is one of the toughest things anyone can do. For a variety of reasons. Almost everyone would admit this too, regardless of their big picture view of the art world itself. The last two years I’ve made street art. I went into this eyes wide open, so I expected my work to be tagged, weathered and painted over. I still think the solution to the art “problem” is weak. Check out these images of the location where my art once was.
So, I’ve been telling you all that I’ve been working on something big. As you can now see, I wasn’t joking around. Last night, with the help of a couple of friends (shout out to Damon & Jeff), I installed the first of my new large format pieces of art.
This is my new direction. The work is comprised of many panels and is 8 feet tall and 50 feet wide in total.
Here are some pictures of the preparation, installation and the final result.
“The famous Atlanta Underground…offers southern hospitality with a New Orleans flavor.” What the…? I wasn’t here in those days, but it seems so Atlanta to brag about how the attraction is based on a simulation of another place.
Then again, I feel like, in a nutshell, that’s what I feel the last 35 years of our culture has been all about. Simulation rules! My inner Baudrillard just got very excited.
Time has the power to shape the perception of everything. Watch these promotional videos from the 1980’s to see a great example of what I mean.