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Atlanta Happenings &
Art News Blog

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Tattoo/ graffiti/ fix gear/ clothing mogul legend.

Mike answers your questions. Mike Giant recently made his way back to San Francisco from New Mexico. This tattooing and graffiti legend recently gave up tattooing to focus on his illustration work and his clothing line Rebel8... We asked viewers to email in a few questions for this fix gear fixture and past Fecal Face regular to get the interview started. Thanks to everyone who submitted one.

Mike will be showing in April at Magda Danysz Gallery in Paris with Dalek. Be on the look out for that.

Have there been any experiences that stand out concerning your art career, especially the beginning stages, that made you go "Shit... That friggen sucked." or "Shit... That was awesome!"?

Well, on the sucky end, I've had more than my fair share of non-payment and loss of artworks. Most galleries are run by morons who don't give a fuck about selling your work. They're way more interested in throwing an arty party every month than developing your name and collector base.

On the awesome end, after working my way up through the hacks, now I work with great galleries that don't fuck around, and they do the job they're supposed to. I can trust them, and they can trust me. It's cool, but it's a recent phenomenon. I really don't care about the gallery world. I'm happy making t-shirts. I think I'll always respect the aesthetic opinions of my fellow street-level folks more than any highbrow art world schmucks.

Any advice for people considering relocating or having an extended stay in the Netherlands or another European country? -submitted by Adam LoRusso

It can be mad difficult to make the move, but still, I met lots of people that have been floating in Europe for decades. Don't trip. Remember that most nations in Europe are seeing way more immigration from Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Africa; and those immigrants need to work, regardless of the legality. Since I was simply making drawings in Amsterdam and e-mailing the finished graphics to the REBEL8 office here in SF, then getting regular deposits to my account in the States, I was only bringing money into their economy, not taking it out. That kept me super low on their radar, but I knew they had a paper trail of withdrawals from ATMs in Amsterdam. The best way to roll is cash money, but rolling with mad cash is a security issue.

When I spoke with Immigration and my lawyer in the Netherlands about my situation, they told me I had to open a business, which I was in no position to do, since I already have a full-time job drawing graphics for REBEL8. So I just decided to fuck it and lay low. Had I decided to stay longer, I would have just avoided flying in and out of Amsterdam. If you travel by train once you're in Europe, it's easier to avoid problems with customs officers since they don't scan passports. When you get your passport scanned at airports, they can see where else you've been scanned and when. So, if you're in the EU for more than 90 days, just avoid airports, until you're ready to come back Stateside for 90 days again. Legally, it's 90 days in the EU, then 90 days out before you can return. That's their deal. Also, obviously avoid the Police. They can check you out and have your ass deported in minutes.

I always get a list from friends of people to contact in foreign cities before I get there. They are always the most helpful. They can get you settled, and let you know where the grocery stores and bike shops are. You'll also need a chill place to stay for a few weeks while you look for an apartment. It's almost impossible to rent an apartment in Europe without papers or fluency in the local language, so you're best bet is Craigslist (how I scored my houseboat). Landlords that speak English are super helpful, and you'll find them on Craigslist. God Bless It. You can also hire apartment finders, who generally charge one month rent to get you sorted, which is reasonable considering the nightmare of trying to deal with local landlords that don't want the hassle of renting to a foreigner without a local bank account or work visa. Cash talks though, but you have to watch out for scams. The world is full of shady motherfuckers.


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Born in Biloxi, Mississippi, Monica Tookes has always had a keen eye for business and an eternal love for art, bridging these two things together has made Monica Tookes what she is today. Upon moving to Atlanta, Monica attended the prestigious Spelman College graduating with a Bachelor of Arts, and continuing education at the Atlanta College of Art where she studied fine arts.

Monica's work has been showcased all over the country. To add to her public recognition, Monica's painting “Jammin with Me”, was selected by the Atlanta Bureau of Cultural Affairs for the 2003 Jazz Festival Poster. Most Recently, Monica's amazingly 6' tall painting, Believe, the Power Is In You ,was chosen by the American Red Cross to be installed at their new donor center in Atlanta, Georgia. It is also being used in a national campaign endorsement to encourage more people to donate blood. She also had an amazing solo show at the George E. Ohr Museum in Biloxi, MS that gave her raving reviews of her works, talent, and community service. Monica's work is widely collected all over the world, being installed at many well established boutiques, restaurants, law firms, and businesses.

Monica was chosen as one of Atlanta's Most Interesting Personalities featured in the 2005 Who's Who of Atlanta publication, highlighting her unique approach to art and business. One of her astonishing works, The Measure of a Man, was commissioned to honor Dr. Joseph Lowery at the exclusive unveiling event.

For many years its been simple to describe Monica Tookes as an artist, but now its even easier to label her as a successful business woman. In 2005, Monica's entrepreneurial dream came true when she opened the doors to Monica Tookes Gallery , located in the historic Castleberry Hill Arts District in downtown Atlanta, where her gallery showcases her paintings as well as those of other emerging and established artists. Monica believes that her gallery will allow herself and other artists to be further exposed to the world of commercial and private collectors. Another new exciting venture for Monica has been an endeavor into the world of retail; Monica Tookes Originals (Art Just for You!) includes visually stimulating apparel for men, women, and children, with clever expressions that force the world of art and clothing to collide. And, the packaging is both unique and further expressive of Tookes' innate ability to tie the world of art with business.

Aside from business and art, Monica continues to give back to the community by working on campaigns and strategies tying art with charities and foundations to raise money and whose primary focus is children & youth. Organizations that have benefited from Monica's kind heart and (creative promotional strategies) include The Shandon Anderson Foundation, American Heart Foundation, Lyrics for Life, Prevent Child Abuse Atlanta, Sickle Cell Foundation of Georgia, The American Red Cross , and her own foundation , Sharing Their Gifts.

This unique and talented artist has emerged and the art world will never be the same. See the extraordinary works by Monica Tookes for a visually stunning experience you'll never forget!


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By Nancy Miller (Nancy Miller is a senior editor at Wired magazine.)

What is art? And who gets to make it? For nearly two decades, enigmatic British street artist Banksy has challenged the rarefied art world, transforming public spaces into culture-jamming spectacles.

The hoodie-sporting, spray-can–wielding Scarlet Pimpernel makes his directorial debut with Exit Through the Gift Shop, a documentary billed as “the first great art-disaster movie.”

And what a brilliant disaster it is. The film centers on the relationship between the elusive Banksy and Thierry Guetta, an amateur French filmmaker who owns a store in Los Angeles. Guetta begins recording the clandestine antics of Banksy (and other street-art luminaries, including Shepard Fairey and Space Invader) with a mix of bumbling awe and utter incompetence.

As the film project stalls, Banksy begins to realize Guetta isn’t really a filmmaker at all, but a Warhol-y mess in the making, with big plans to become the Next Big Thing. Below, Banksy talks to Wired.com in an e-mail interview about the film (which opens Friday in select cities), his secret identity and why Guetta, aka Mr. Brainwash, is the quintessential artist of our times.


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A lot of street art and graff culture glorifies a kind of toughness that is born of the streets; Yeah Brooklyn We Go Hard! That’s right, we’re down with that. From Rock to Rap to Tech to Funk to hoods to spikes to cans to fire-tags, the right to be rebellious and wreck sh*t feels like a birthright in Brooklyn.

We’re also down with giving back, giving support, sharing your talent. We met a cool street artist/artist named Marthalicia Matarrita recently and she reminded us that these gifts can be shared in a positive way too. She’s a street artist, a graff artist, a fine artist. From her blog you’ll find out she is also “mother, sister, daughter, entrepreneur, community advocate, and former National Guard”. She grew up in Harlem and went to La Guardia High School of Music and Arts in lower Manhattan.

She also spent time homeless and living in shelters. Okay, how “street” do you want it?

These days Marthalicia is doing a lot of live painting with Art Battles, a New York based creation of artist/event thrower/entrepreneur Sean Bono, who produces live art events and competitions to expose emerging artists to the masses. Marthalicia is also performing live art painting tonight in Brooklyn - at Cafe Europa as a celebration of independent women, something she teaches you about in the most gentle way.

Brooklyn Street Art: What kind of art you do?
Marthalicia Matarrita: I paint on canvas with acrylics. I unify the concept of traditional figurative subject matter and those of the comic book/urban graff illustrations (graffiti) to create a conversation about contemporary issues that affect all of us; environmentalism, homelessness, the military, etc.

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Brooklyn Street Art: Have you done work on the street?
Marthalicia Matarrita: I used to create images on the street on the Upper West Side and I have a piece currently that I did this spring on the rooftop for a fundraiser at The New School of Design in the Lower East Side. It was such a thrill to know that I was part of something so cool and now I’m a “Rooftop Legend”. So many great artists had the opportunity to BLESS those walls with so much creativity and it humbled me to look at their art.

Brooklyn Street Art: “Do you think you have to be “hard” to be “street”?
Marthalicia Matarrita: The street conditions you, even if you do have a soft heart or one hard like a stone.

Brooklyn Street Art: Some street artists feel like they have to destroy to get respect or credibility.
Marthalicia Matarrita: Some people say that “most street artist have no siblings so they feel like they need to break stuff to get attention”. Others don’t have the means of an art education such as studio art. Street artists feel the need to express art just as strongly as a studio artist, but they do it without an easel and canvas. For them it’s much better to create images of thought or reflections of life in a cheaper way with cans and use THE WALLS as a canvas.

Brooklyn Street Art: Can you speak about the July 10th event and what it means to you. Marthalicia Matarrita: The whole event is a fundraiser and the proceeds go to help a young child named Chanty, who lives in Cambodia. Felecia Cruz is the organizer of the program at her bar, Club Europa. I was called one day by Felecia to ask me to participate in her upcoming show July 10th as a live painter. She described this little girl Chanty, who she met in Cambodia during a recent trip, and she explained how she was determined to help her and her family to send Chanty to school to improve her future. That touched me to know that a stranger from another country was willing to invest her time and energy to genuinely help a young child in great need of education. It convinced me to join in her program and her mission because I wanted to be a part of something good, something that in the end would show a child hope and help her progress. I was given a similar opportunity when I was a young teenager, and I know how important it was to me.

Brooklyn Street Art: This show is more than just about Chanty, it is about Women’s empowerment. Can you talk about the importance of having strong women today?

Marthalicia Matarrita: As you see, without strong women, you have disrespectful children, who walk around with their pants half off their ass and girls that think more about sex and sneakers then their future. In history woman struggled to have their voices heard.

It’s very important to have events like these to display not only that we are capable of making great achievements as our male counterparts, but also as individuals.

Brooklyn Street Art: The Mexican painter, Frida Kahlo, used her personal experiences, including some that were very painful, in her work. Has she affected you as an artist, and how?

Marthalicia Matarrita: Tremendously. I learned painting with oils and acrylic in high school. Most of my paintings were self-portraits. College was the time where I was exposed to her and her works and how amazed I was when I learned about her history. I felt somewhat connected to her because of her personal struggles; I too had some of my very own. The more I learned from her the more I saw my art footsteps evolving, not to copy her style or her intensions but her communication of her life with her art. I do the same with my art.

My life wasn’t a great one. I struggled here and there with poverty, being in the shelter, both parents were alcoholics, and my mom suffered a lot and she became schizophrenic.

My art saved me from dwelling on the negative activities in my environment.

Frida learned in her art to communicate her personal life story with Diego (Rivera) and about WAR. I painted with political themes when I was in the Army National Guard. I was called twice to Iraq and I painted how I felt about being toyed around with…fighting a cause that’s not our own.

Frida showed me that whatever kind of personality you have, art is a tool to show others how similar we all are and how we can help and teach one another. That’s one of the things I wanted to do with my art in the long run.


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Radcliffe Bailey has often been hailed as an international voice for southern African American racial identity.

But his artwork — paintings, sculptures and collages mixing family portraits with historical events — also brims with a profound personal significance as he aims to decipher his own cultural heritage.

“I walk the line between generations,” Bailey said.

The balance between national history and familial memory in Bailey’s work brought him to the University’s art department as this fall’s artist-in-residence.

The artist-in-residence program brings one prominent artist per semester to UNC to hold undergraduate lectures, critique graduate projects and speak about their own work.

The program was previously a semester long, but it was cut to two weeks in 2001 due to budget constraints. A recent donation to the art department will allow the artist-in-residence program to be prolonged in upcoming years, said Jeff Whetstone, the director of graduate studies in studio art.

“It is still by far the most productive thing we do as far as real world learning,” said Cary Levine, assistant professor of art and curator for Bailey’s lecture.

With artists as well known and successful as Bailey, there is barely enough time to extract his expertise, said professor Juan Logan, former chairman of the Intellectual Life Committee, the group that organizes the artist-in-residence program.

“I would love to see them back to inviting artists for a whole semester,” Logan said. But when faced with this constraint, the art department has opted to bring in well-known artists — like Bailey — for two weeks, rather than bring in less established artists for the whole term, Levine said.

Bailey’s highly anticipated arrival at UNC was coordinated by the Intellectual Life Committee, which has brought nationally recognized artists to the University since 1981. He joins such notable past artists-in-residence as Bill Fick, Judy Chicago and Endi Poskovic.

The committee aims to bring in a wide range of artists — from prominent painters to philosophers — for all art students to interact with. As a child, Bailey wanted to be a baseball player, but he attended the Atlanta College of Art at the request of his mother.

There, he studied sculpture and painted in his free time. Previously a resident artist at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine, Bailey said he thinks UNC’s two-week program is not conducive to producing work in the provided studios.

“I wish it were longer,” Bailey said. “Then I’d be able to set up a studio and make things. I just couldn’t imagine getting a studio ready within two weeks and starting work.”

Instead, Bailey will focus on visiting graduate studios to critique students’ work and cultivate new ideas, said Whetstone. “The goal is to get a fresh perspective on their work,” Whetstone said.

“When a prolific and prominent artist like Radcliffe Bailey comes in and gives a new perspective to your work it’s incredibly useful.”


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Gering & Lopez Gallery welcome the works of Todd James aka REAS as it opens its doors to the first exhibition of the new year. Dubbed Make My Burden Lighter, the show highlights new works from James, with an opening taking place on January 15th (6-8pm), running through February 20th, 2009. Further information regarding the exhibition can be found below.

In Make My Burden Lighter, James depicts the sinful truths of American life with winsome cartoonish charm. Anthropomorphized weapons cajole in blood baths with pink-skinned blonde bombshells. Sprawling battle scenes extend ad infinitum across multiple sheets of paper. Complex, all-consuming compositions have an overwhelming sense of momentum, as if they were inevitable and unstoppable. These celebratory scenes of massive global chaos are sharply ironic yet playfully whimsical, obscuring our collective moral sense of the sanctity of life and death while pushing the boundaries of the viewer’s ability to judge what is desirable or taboo.

These seemingly innocent stream-of-consciousness doodles may appear as overtly political protest pieces upon closer examination. However, James does not seek to be didactic with his work. He is more interested in visually exploring the rhetorical techniques utilized by the American government and media in their attempts at desensitizing the populace’s perception of current affairs. The American tradition of packaging, commodifying, and manipulating information is at play in these works. They thus deeply connect with the current state of our shared reality, critiquing how we as spectators are led to understand it.


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About the artist Born in 1928, lives and works in and around Bessemer, Alabama One of the most widely exhibited and collected contemporary artists associated with American self-taught and vernacular art, Thornton Dial, Sr. has lived much of his life in and around Bessemer, Alabama.

He worked as a manual laborer in a variety of positions—as carpenter, bricklayer, house painter, and concrete worker––but spent thirty years as a railroad welder for Pullman Standard, an experience which informed his later large-scale steel sculpture. Dial has always made what he calls “things,” but only upon his retirement in the late 1980s did he begin to concentrate exclusively on his art (his son Thornton, Jr., is also an accomplished artist).

Perhaps the most identifiable quality to Dial’s work is its astonishing mutability in form and diversity in media. Although singular in style and easily recognizable, his remarkably varied practice encompasses a multiplicity of modes, and as a result his mercurial aesthetic seems most comfortably situated in dense multimedia works, the found-object assemblages and painted sculptural reliefs that emerged later in his career.

Portraiture, animal figuration, and abstraction all offer recurring motifs amid evocatively titled metaphorical works that range from intimate works on paper to allegorical paintings rendered in thick impasto to heroically-scaled welded sculpture. Following in the tradition of modernist semi-abstraction, Dial’s poetic paintings and assemblages, with their heavily accreted surfaces and swirling gestural effects, show a kinship to German Neo-Expressionism and even American Abstract Expressionism.

An emphatic interest in newsworthy subject matter, the deeply felt pain of American race relations, and romantic love suffuse his canvasses and sculptures with a lyrical sense of empathy and embrace.

Through the efforts of collector and curator Bill Arnett, his powerful—and often topical—multimedia work quickly garnered critical acclaim over the next decade, with solo shows at the American Folk Art Museum and the New Museum of Contemporary Art; a slot in the 2000 Whitney Biennial; and pieces in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian American Art Museum; Atlanta’s High Museum of Art; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.


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RALEIGH, N.C.--Progressive Editions artist Eric Waugh will unveil his latest work of art entitled "Hero: The World's Largest Painting by One Artist" exclusively at the North Carolina Museum of Art on World AIDS Day, Dec. 1. His goal is to raise $4 million for Camp Heartland, a camp for children affected by HIV and AIDS and the Starlight Children's Foundation[R], an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for seriously ill children and their families.

"Hero," measuring 41,400 square feet, is a public awareness and fundraising campaign launched by Waugh to help enrich the lives of children living with HIV and AIDS as well as ease the suffering of seriously ill children across North America.

"Since 1995, Waugh has been a hero to the kids of Camp Heartland by raising significant funds and awareness for our cause," Camp Heartland Founder Neil Wilkenson said. "Children with AIDS often lead sad and painful lives. By supporting Camp Heartland, Eric Waugh is providing these kids with a renewed sense of hope and purpose."

Measuring 180 feet wide by 230 feet high, "Hero" will consist of 1,656 individual 5- by 5-foot stretched canvas panels which were all painted by Waugh in his Montreal studio. Once assembled, the Guinness Book of World Records officially declare "Hero" the world's largest painting by one artist.

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"Hero" will be assembled in its entirety only once. After its debut, sponsor Art.com will divide it into 41,400 one-square-foot pieces. The artist will sign each of the pieces. They will then be mounted and framed in art.com's framing facility along with a poster of the original painting, a picture of the assembled painting at the North Carolina Museum of Art and a certificate of authenticity.

"I am fortunate my wife and I have three beautiful, healthy boys so I felt the desire to commit a significant portion of my career to raising funds and awareness for the real heroes, the children who face the daily challenges of living with AIDS and HIV," Waugh said. "Life isn't easy for them, but together, we can all help provide the care that they need."

Since his transition from graphic to fine art in 1988, Waugh has sold more than 14,000 original paintings and thousands of fine art posters. "Hero" was a regular fixture on the set of "Seinfeld" throughout the final two seasons of his show. The "Hero" poster also was featured on "Baywatch," "Caroline in the City," "E.R.," "The Drew Cary Show" and others. Waugh was named "Hero of the Day" in 1996 by "CBS This Morning" for creating "Hero" in honor of whom Waugh describes as the real heroes--the children.


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The colors of jazz: Berge Missakian blends disciplined techniques and visualization with the free-flowing rhythms of jazz to create soulful paintings that celebrate life

For those who believe that art is indeed "the window to a man's soul," as Claudia "Lady Bird" Johnson once said, then the art of Egyptian-born Berge Missakian provides a wonderful view of a spirited, energetic soul.

Born in Egypt in 1933 to Armenian parents who met and settled in Alexandria after fleeing their native Ottoman Turkey during the 1915 genocide (see sidebar, "Colors of a Genocide"), Missakian and his wife, Hanne, make their home in Montreal. There, he paints while being inspired by the recordings of jazz greats such as Dave Brubeck, Duke Elfington, Tito Puente (Latin Jazz), Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis, George Shearing, Stan Getz, Count Basie and Stephane Grappelli.
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"For me, jazz is an echo--a reflection of life" says Missakian. "I try to capture its colors, rhythms and improvisational spirit. Like the visual arts, jazz provides an exceptional means of communication. Whether it is jazz, jazz-rock fusion, free jazz, jam sessions, improvisation or experimentation, I find my way around the canvas with my brushes."

Whatever the subject, Missakian says his objectives remain the same. "I want to celebrate life in my paintings--with ecstasy over passivity, movement over inertia, and joy over melancholy"

Missakian's passion for life was intensified in 1993 when, following heart-bypass surgery, he felt "death's proximity. Thanks to my profound belief in God, my desire to paint has taken on even greater meaning. Art provides me with a bridge, a raison d'etre, and a passion for life for which I am grateful to God."-)


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The Atlanta artist, Corey Barksdale, pours his emotions into every stroke–taking his audience with him on a powerfully, passionate story on canvas.

Barksdale’s artistic passion derives from a family of artists. His mother and grandmother both exposed him to color and form at an early age and it was destined he, too, would join the family ranks. The Nashville-bred, Atlanta-native graduated from the Atlanta College of Art in 2004 where abstract expressionists and mainstream artists like Jasper Johns, Clifford Still, and William deKooning influenced his creations. Barksdale also developed an admiration for the African American heritage and this theme can be seen throughout much of his work, depicting the love and strength within the community.

This experimental artist started using Sharpie markers in an efficient attempt to speed up the beginning stages of his pieces, but he quickly “uncapped” the unlimited possibilities of Sharpie markers as they effortlessly added definition to his acrylic paintings. His bold pieces have been showcased all over Georgia and he’s even done live performance art at Park Tavern and Atlanta’s Dogwood Festival (just to name a few). Imagine having art being created before you at your next event—he’ll do it!

After coming across his YouTube videos and colorful artwork, I jumped at the chance to interview Barksdale about using Sharpie Permanent Markers as an art medium and the passion behind his creations!

Read on for the complete interview with an imaginative, southern artist and his felt tip friend!

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How did you get started as an artist?
As a child I drew non-stop. My mother would bring home hundreds of sheets of paper from her job and she use to ask my sister and I to fill up the pages with drawings and stories. So at a young age I developed a determination and passion for the creative process and artistic expression. I use to draw countless drawings, especially when school was out for the summer. Tell us a little about your genre.

How would you describe your style? What makes your work stand out from the rest?
I incorporate a collage or assemblage effect in many of my art creations. Utilizing pasted images of city buildings, and abstract shapes are important elements in my art. The majority of my paintings have an apparent medium of acrylic paint and Sharpie markers, which are usually applied in bold colorful painterly strokes onto the canvas. Many people are attracted to the texture created by these mediums. Sharpie does not enocurage the use of Sharpie marker on skin.

What is one of your favorite exhibitions or events you have been involved in? What made this particular one stand out to you? Was it the specific pieces you showcased, the reactions received from attendees, or something else?
The Art Papers Art Auction is one of Atlanta’s signature visual art events that I have been fortunate to participate in. The event features many of the southeastern United States’ cutting-edge, established and emerging, fine artists.

What goes through your mind when you see people looking at your art? Is there a certain reaction you want to elicit?
I would like viewers of my artwork to experience what ever emotion or feeling I had at the time of producing the work of art. The facial expressions and gestures of characters in my paintings usually tell a story and let the viewer understand my emotion during the creative process. Usually I want to elicit a feeling of powerfulness positivity and endless possibilities

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How did you come to use Sharpie markers in your work? Do you prefer using a certain type of Sharpie marker? Approximately ten years ago I was trying to think of a way to speed up my art process. That’s where Sharpie markers came in. In stead of developing my sketch and first layer with paint I used Sharpie markers to create the basic outline and general form of whatever piece I created. As I continued to use Sharpie over a period of years I found out that the possibilities of the markers are limitless. Besides using the markers for the general form I also discovered that they could be used to define and refine my painting in the final stages of the process. I was able to incorporate the markers with acrylic paint effortlessly.

What about Sharpie markers made you incorporate them as a medium in your art process? Is it the variety of tip sizes, colors, other? Please describe how you use Sharpie as an art tool.
I enjoy the ease of using the markers. They go onto the canvas or wood surface with no problem. Once applied to the surface the markers give an opaque mark that is solid and bold, not watered-down or weak. The medium also resists fading over a period of time. What other mediums, if any, do you wish to create with in the future? Do you have any comical experiences while trying a new medium? Other mediums that I create with are acrylic paint, charcoal, and encaustic paint. Various forms of art and various mediums suit my style of art considering I like the challenge of mastering new mediums annually.

Tell us, what excites you about creating art? Creating art is the ultimate form of expression available.
Having the ability to create a picture of beauty where there was previously nothing at all gives me the ultimate satisfaction. When creating art all of my worries and anxieties are nonexistent. The hustle, bustle, and drama of city life become a distant thought. Creating can take you to a place that you previously thought impossible.

Take a look at all the ways Corey Barksdale Uncaps What’s Inside: www.coreybarksdale.com


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Artist Brandon Sadler (Photo Above)

Hip-hop and art wrap up - more to come

* July 23rd, 2010 7:27 am

The 2010 National Black Arts Festival was a success. Atlanta visitors and natives had a large selection of events to attend either coinciding or directly part of the NBAF. This year provided even more opportunities for hip-hop and art to intersect. Here are a few highlights:

On July 17, Big Boi’s Art of Life, Canvas for Kidz, was low on celebrities in attendance, but big on fun. Local artists shined. Fabian Williams brought out a talented team under his Aesthetic Kinetic brand with Charlton “CP” Palmer, who took on double duty in painting and photography, and Brandon Sadler who created a unique piece on site alongside his André 3000 portrait done over Japanese newsprint. Sadler debuted his “Red Dawn” collection at the Wm Turner gallery on July 15.

Fahamu Pecou, of Fahamu Pecou Art Inc., auctioned off a piece entitled “One Nation” from his “Hard to Death” series.

Go here for full coverage of the Art of Life, Canvas for Kidz event.

Later that evening, the NBAF Latin Soul After Party at 595 North, boasted a fairly small but spirited crowd who came to hear the lovely Julie Dexter on vocals and Salah Ananse on the ones and twos.

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Sunday afternoon, July 18, Fahamu Pecou was back on the scene to host Yo! Karaoke at Centennial Olympic park. Unfortunately, after a few tunes from his dedicated squad of “Karaoke Disciples,” the show was rained out. But it wasn’t a total wash; the show went on at Pal’s Lounge on 254 Auburn Avenue on Tuesday. Check back for more on Yo! Karaoke in the days to come. And get ready for Art, Beats + Lyrics on July 30 at the Compound on 1008 Brady Ave. Atlanta, GA at 7 p.m. and One Music Fest on July 31 at the King Plow Arts Center on 887 W. Marietta St. Atlanta, GA beginning at 2 p.m. More details coming soon.

For more on National Black Arts Festival events for the remainder of the year, go to NBAF.org.


anthony lister at Lyons Wier nyc
There were a few genuine surprises on the season finale of Bravo's reality series "Work of Art." Host China Chow did not dress like a parade float, executive producer Sarah Jessica Parker put in an appearance and the heavy favorite Miles lost in the final reckoning.

To conclude the series' first season, the remaining three contestants had to each create their own gallery show using themes of their own choosing. Peregrine -- the funky art chick who was raised on a commune -- decided to go with a county-fair motif and went heavy on colorful clay sculptures, ponies and a cotton candy machine.

Abdi -- the affable art teacher from Pennsylvania -- created a series of unconventional self-portraits that included two large-scale sculptures, paintings and drawings. Meanwhile, bed-headed Miles, who had dominated the competition throughout the season, took inspiration from a chance photographic encounter at a local White Castle to create abstract digital portraits.

The judges, including photographer David LaChapelle, found a lot to like in each show. The attendees for the opening included the eliminated contestants from earlier in the season as well as an enthusiastic Parker, who seemed to be channeling Carrie Bradshaw on a shopping spree.

In the end, Abdi was crowned the surprise winner for the season, bringing Miles' victory streak to an abrupt conclusion. The judges eliminated Miles first, saying that his project felt too much like a work in progress. Peregrine's show was faulted for its excess and unruly aesthetic.

Now that the season is over, it's high time that the show itself receives an evaluation. Here is an assortment of random notes and thoughts about the series, in no particular order of importance.

Workofart2 Simon de Pury, auction house executive and mentor: Your accent was the best part of the show.

Peregine, contestant: Your Donnie Darko hat was the second best part of the show.

China Chow, host: Are those your clothes, or does Bravo have a humongous costume budget?

Erik, contestant: Your temper tantrums were sorely missed. We hope you took solace in Miles' defeat.

Jaclyn, contestant: Your winning photographic collage from the Audi episode was impressive. But perhaps you should have acknowledged its debt to artist John Baldessari?

Miles, contestant: A lot of viewers think you are a jerk. Are you? Also, buy a comb.

Abdi, contestant: So you won, congratulations. But can you explain your winning gallery show, because we still don't know what to make of it.

Jerry Saltz, judge: We think you have the potential to become the show's equivalent of Simon Cowell. Be meaner, ruder and more arrogant next time.

Bravo, the cable network: Is it true that you won't let Jaclyn speak to the press? What's that about? Got something to hide?

Producers: Why were so many of the challenges so lame?

Ryan, contestant: You are more authentically hip than Miles will ever be.

Viewers out there: Would any of you actually buy the works of art created on the show? Or is reality TV too déclassé for the serious collector?

Miles, contestant: We admit that we said some not-so-nice things about you this season. For what it's worth, we think you have talent and that you are definitely going places. But really, buy a comb.

Producers: Guest judge -- Lady Gaga. Think it over.

Bravo: Why not shoot Season 2 -- if there will be a Season 2 -- in Los Angeles? We've got Jeffrey Deitch, in case Simon de Pury is too busy to return.

-- David Ng

Photo (top): Miles, Abdi and Peregrine. Credit: Bravo

Photo (bottom): Simon de Pury and Sarah Jessica Parker. Credit: Bravo


australian artist anthony lister

Throughout his still brief career, Atlanta-based Fahamu Pecou has experimented with playing the role of an artist whose fame approaches that of a hip-hop star. Earlier performance works in which he arrived at openings in a limousine with bodyguards, and paintings featuring the covers of art magazines bearing his likeness, toyed with how he thought, or hoped, others perceived him. But Pecou’s work took a more serious turn when he traveled to South Africa in 2008 and saw how the global phenomenon of hip-hop has influenced the way African American men are viewed abroad.

The five large-scale paintings (all 2009 and approximately 82 by 63 inches) in his recent show, “Whirl Trade,” explore the assimilation of hip-hop culture as it moves across continents. In these new works, Pecou steps away from art magazines to feature himself on the covers of diverse titles like Planet and Hotrod, splashed with colorful, graffiti-like text. Poses and palette are borrowed from Malian photographer Malick Sidibé, whose portraits of Bamako locals are internationally recognized as documents of African pop culture. In “Whirl Trade,” Pecou’s normally vibrant canvases have become primarily black and white. The paintings combine traditional motifs (patterned African textiles) with contemporary style items (flashy sunglasses, baggy jeans, stereo equipment).

Pecou grew up in South Carolina and moved to Atlanta to study painting at the Atlanta College of Art; he graduated in 1997. A child of Southern hip-hop culture himself, he has an uncanny ability to capture the very attitudes that fuel his frustration with the one-dimensional way that black men are perceived. (A husband and father, Pecou delves deeper into his own difficult upbringing on his blog, passageofright.wordpress.com, where he discusses, among other things, what he thinks it means to be a responsible black man.) The upward tilt of Pecou’s chin on the cover of Hi Fructose magazine indicates an air of superiority. He stands behind a woman seated sidesaddle on a bicycle; she strikes an equally confident pose in a patterned dress and headscarf. At the top of the canvas Pecou has scribbled “American Dream’n” upside down, and, across the bottom edge, “African Dream,” backwards; in the middle of the painting is the observation “All around the whirl the same song.” The dueling top and bottom phrases highlight misconceptions on both sides of the Atlantic: those held by Africans buying into in an idealized black America as projected by a few stars, and by African Americans who might romanticize a return to the land of their ancestors.

In Role Model Citizen, Pecou sits in the center of a Hotrod magazine cover. A small microphone dangles limply between his splayed legs. At any moment, he will come to life, broadcasting his message to anyone who will listen. The phrase “Some bodies watchin me” (written in tiny, easy-to-miss white paint) simultaneously references the song about being stalked and the biblical reminder that God is always on the lookout. Pecou’s challenge is clear: think carefully about the role model or type of citizen you choose to present.

Photo: Fahamu Pecou: American Dream’n, 2009, acrylic and oilstick on canvas, 82 by 63 inches; at Get This!
OPENING: Fri. March 19th, 2010 6-9pm
DATES: March 19th - April 19th, 2010
See artist's website here.


Art Events

CREATIVE FINE ART HOSTS ART XPLOSION ART SHOW IN ATLANTA ON MARCH 16, 2007

Creative Fine Art invites the public to come out and enjoy a night of art and live jazz. Creative Fine Arts will hosts Artists Xplosion, a fine art group exhibition of emerging and established artists on Friday, March 16, 2007. The Artists Xplosion will feature over 30 outstanding artists from the region. Freekin Bekin, a well-known jazz band will perform throughout the evening. Refreshments will be served.

Participating Artists include: Alvaro Allvillar, Morisca Shinsako, Amy Stewart-Hale, Tina Ciranni, Robert Amato, Ieva Unda, Rebecca Robinson, Stacey Shulman, Sarah Hatch, Katharine Hartwig Dahl, Christian Weaver, Jiovonni Tallington, Griffin Davis Art Group, Halima Washington, Brent Walker, Donna Thomas, Jeff Baker, Art Eubanks, Vickie Martin, Daniel Curran, Kim Jones, Katina Lear, K Ashley Pittman, James Pennyman, Felix Berroa, Lance Carlson, Juliet Marateck, Jacqueline Allison, Roland Heath, Israel Aten, Halley Semo, Corey Barksdale, Yvonne Miller, and Corlia.

Come out and enjoy a night of beautiful art and live jazz. For additional information, please visit the website at www.atlanta-artist-event.com.
Barksdale can be contacted at email: barksdalecorey@hotmail.com

What: Artists Xplosion Art Show
When: Friday, March 16, 2007 6:00 p.m. - until
Where: Southern Mills Warehouse, 585 Wells Street Atlanta, Georgia (blocks away from the Castleberry Hill Art District)

Special Thanks to Our Sponsors & Supporters: Regency Fine Arts (Robert Herbertson), Decatur Art Alliance, Angela Moore PR, Keith Knows (Keith Hill), Elizabeth Williams, Ann Barry, & Griffin Davis Art


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