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folk art

Stephannie Stokes / WABE

In DeKalb County, this past week, a well-known artist found that folk art can be a code violation.

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Kyle Brooks, usually known as Black Cat Tips, has placed his art in prominent places, like the Atlanta Beltline, and also in more obscure ones, like atop telephone poles.

But when he moved to a 2 acre property in southeast DeKalb County last year, he decided to focus on his yard.

Gabbie Watts / WABE

Perhaps you’ve seen artist Kyle Brooks’ work in a gallery, but more likely, you’ve seen it on the side of the road.

Reminiscent of Southern folk artists, his work features brightly colored animals and creatures he has imagined. And almost all of these critters have big eyes and smiles on their faces. Under his moniker BlackCatTips, he adorns the Atlanta landscape with his street poems and murals.

Gabbie Watts / WABE

Much can be said of Howard Finster: he had holy visions throughout his life. He preached the word of God, until he found that painting it was more effective at spreading the message. He made over 46,000 pieces of art, arguably becoming the most well-known self-taught artist of the 20th century.

His most awe-inspiring work, Paradise Garden in Pennville, Georgia, is a compound of his artistic and holy vision. From the church that he moved onto the property to the pathway encrusted with objects to a painted Cadillac, every inch has something to find.

Courtesy of the High Museum of Art

Alabama-based artist Thornton Dial died Monday. He was 87 years old.

For Paul Arnett, Thornton Dial wasn’t just an artist, he was a personal hero.

Arnett is acting director of the Souls Grown Deep Foundation, which is dedicated to documenting the work of self-taught African-American artists. His father, William Arnett, is known for bringing the works of these artists, notably the quilters of Gee’s Bend, to the wider art world. William Arnett was introduced to Dial and his work in 1987.

Charlie Lucas during his artist talk at MINT Gallery in Atlanta, Feb. 21, 2015.
Jason Parker / WABE

MINT Gallery has an exhibition of works by folk artist Charlie Lucas on view until March 22.

Lucas is a self-taught artist known for his figurative paintings and sculptures made from found objects and salvaged materials.

He's made large, metallic human figures, 14-foot-tall dinosaurs and even some abstract work, all from what some people would consider trash.

I recently spoke with Lucas and began by asking him why he goes by the pseudonym “Tin Man.”

Katherine Jentleson has been appointed as the High Museum's Merrie and Dan Boone Curator of Folk and Self-Taught Art.
Travis Dove / Courtesy of the High Museum

The High Museum of Art has been lauded for their many special exhibitions, but their ever-growing permanent collection holds many priceless and important works of art, not least of all in their collection of folk art.

The High began collecting folk art in the 1970s, and in fact they’re the first general museum in North America to have — starting in 1994 — a full-time curator devoted to folk and self-taught art.

The Best of City Cafe for 2014

Jan 2, 2015
Francine Reed
Georgia Department of Economic Development

2014 has proved to be another busy year for both City Cafe and the city of Atlanta. Our reporting has taken us to rooftops, through forests, and into the lives of seemingly ordinary folks with extraordinary stories. As this year ends and the new one begins, we present some of our favorite features of '14.

Singer Francine Reed on Her Career and Recognition

On the Doll's Head Trail at Constitution Lakes Park
Dan Raby / WABE

  We Atlanta residents may suffer an unusual sort of fatigue.

Living in a place known for continually re-making itself, and for forgetting its own history, many of us almost tire from hearing repeated claims of the "discovery" of "little-known" pieces of that history. I mean, how much forgotten history can there be?