2017 (a lot of things happened and i feel glad)

2017 was a year. 2017 was a year that brought plenty of good our way. Unfortunately we started out with a little bad. Some private things in the BlackCatTips house that made us feel sad and made the chilly days of winter colder and a bit dark. We watched Stranger Things on the cold evenings of early January and I laughed as it was strange that it was filmed in my old high school. Soon the sun began to shine and we turned it all around.

When you have a chance you should take it. When they give you an opportunity you should  probably give it a try. Good hard work and being honest with yourself will lead to other good opportunities. You shouldn’t take every job they throw at you but give it a little thought first — It might be a good deal. We keep trying to learn. We keep stepping forward.


• In early January I was featured in the AJC as one their Personal Journeys. I remember we took the photos on a cold day in early January when it was threatening to snow. It didn’t snow but I remember the chilly tension in the air.

• I started making some yard art for my new home at Arabia Mountain U.S.A. 

• In early March I was lucky enough to have a residency at Hambidge Center way up in the northeast Georgia mountains. It was a wonderful quiet time and I made some new art friends as a result.


• When I returned I painted a small mural for a friend in Candler Park, Atlanta.

•  In April I spoke to Whitefield Academy about being WEiRD. When it came time for the Q&A session after the talk, I laughed as one boy asked me how much I weighed.


May was a little more than we expected…

•  I painted for Delta Airlines – Big Thank You Event for all of their 80,000 employees. This was such an exciting project for me. I have loved airplanes my whole life and being from Atlanta this was super wonderful. See a little interview about the event here.

•  I painted a 4-Foot bottle for The World of Coca-Cola Museum in Atlanta — on display until May 2018. This too was a great honor for me. I wish my grandpa could have been around to see this happen. He worked 31 years a block away from the Coca-Cola Museum at Boomershine Pontiac and called Coke, “Ko-Koler“.

• I did a collaborative crowd painting at the HIGH Museum as part of a First Friday event.

• And last but not least we were taken to court by Dekalb County for the ART I had created on my own property. The county was saying my street folk art was signage and we disagreed. I politely took the discussion public and was greeted by all the local news outlets — WSB, FOX5, WXIA, WABE901FM, the AJC and several local newspapers. A FaceBook post resonated with over 209,000 people. We even had support from as far away as California and Washington D.C. People passing by our property honked and waved. We had notes in our mailbox. Finally we went to court and with the help of Manny Arora and Sara Becker the charges and accusations were dropped. I was free to create again and we moved forward.


• I made a little episode for Adult Swim. See it here. I helped the Williams Street Swap Shop Boys find some lost keys on the Doll’s Head Trail. I also got to help them celebrate their 400th episode. See it here.


•  June rolled around and my solo show opened at Spalding Nix Fine Art. See photos here. Read the AJC review here.


• The Summer brought me several public speaking engagements.

The fist was for my solo show and was held at ADAC. Watch it here.

The other was part of Art Over Dinner at Serenbe. The Third was at PeachDish. I also spoke at Friendly Human.


•  In October we made a short film with The Bitter Southerner about spirits in the woods and along the road at our new home at Arabia Mountain U.S.A. The film is called Ghosts In The Road. Watch it here.


•  The rest of my year was mostly take up with a vigorous flurry of murals.

Maria and I painted murals for INIT USA, Elevate 2017, Matchstic, EXPRESS and NCR.


• Oh yes. Before I forget, I spent a couple weekends in the summer at the new SunTrust Park — The Atlanta Braves stadium and surrounding area called  The Battery.

I worked with Xfinity to develop art for an Atlanta Braves Shirt and later we debuted a fancy BlackCatTips / Braves ball hat. I also created art for Xfinity’s Cobb Parkway Flagship Store’s Grand Opening.

On another occasion, we spent an afternoon the Battery at SunTrust Park debuting a shirt I made for Mizuno at the Mizuno Experience Center. See some photos here.


Thanks to all those who helped Maria (WhiteCatTips) and I along the way. It was quite a year. Who knows what 2018 will hold in store. I think I better lay down and think about it all before we get started. See you all soon.

Kyle BlackCatTips Brooks

Photo by Jason Travis.




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NCR World Headquarters Mural (a hairy cake and a giant peephole)

Most of my dreams consist of me in a large group setting — a summer camp, a convention, a job with a lot of people working alongside myself. There are usually many levels and staircases and then somehow I find myself isolated. I also dream often about teeth being gone or my beard falling out. I wake up afterwards and think about how it was all was just a dream — my beard is still here with me.  Sometimes I relive certain things I have done in the past but now I feel like it is more treacherous than it was then—  such as walking on a cliff’s edge or a sharp mountain ridge.


High in a building in Midtown Atlanta, Maria (WhiteCatTips) and I painted a mural in the almost completed NCR World Headquarters building. A freight elevator dangled high above the concrete floor. Looking down through the slot between the door and the landing and you can see hundreds of feet down. At the time it seemed comfortable. Later you might think about being a little too slim and slipping through the 3 inch wide crack in the floor. No one fell through the slot in the elevator but we did spend a good handful of visits painting on the 16th floor.

The views were amazing to me. We could see weather approaching. We could see far-off mountains. We could see hawks circling around the high-rises. We could see the stream of traffic below us, slowing to a crawl as the sun went down. We could see construction workers on the adjacent building working and looking back at us. We waved. The wind whipped and howled around and below. We stayed up high and painted.

A painting can go so many different directions. I look back at mid-progress pictures of this project and think about all the alternate versions we could have made. The final product, after 5 and a half visits, is the way it is — locked into a laughing buck-toothed reality. It was interesting to work in a ongoing construction zone. We wore shiny vests and hard-helmets and rode the freight elevator to work. We experienced life as a construction worker for a couple weeks. We ate food in van in a parking deck, we heard dirty jokes, we watched the building moving quickly along towards completion. We made friends with the big boss men.

And one thing about those big boss men
Phillip and Todd, the aforementioned boss men, were kind enough to help us load out our supplies when we finished the mural. As we rode down the freight elevator one last time Phillip looked over at me. He was looking out from under his hard hat, like a man staring out over the gray sea. He said,” Kyle, you keep being you. Don’t let them change you. Keep doing your thing.” I said ” Thank you sir, I will do my darndest.” I thought that was pretty special. I still do. I wonder who will try to change me.

Thanks to Anne Tracht for asking me to paint. Thanks to NCR for being open-minded enough to embrace art as a part of their brand-new building. Thanks to Todd and Phillip and Brad for taking care of us while working inside of the 20-story concrete creation. Thanks to Maria for working with me every day to make this happen. Thanks to old pup for riding in the van each visit.

This mural is about 30′ by 12′. I wish more people could get the chance to see it. I really think this is great one. We put a lot of detail work into the project. The colors are really happy and I think it was a great success.

Here is a fun tidbit— If you ever wonder where my mural is located…. Find the big white NCR logo at the top of the building and count 5 windows down from the top. There you go… sweet 16. The mural is located outside of the elevator lobby on the 16th floor.

 

see you soon,
Kyle BlackCatTips Brooks




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Express (a snowstorm at the mall)

This weekend we painted for 2 sessions for EXPRESS at Lenox Mall. It was a fast and fun couple days. The ice and snow arrived when we did. As we rolled our supplies in, past the famous Pink Pig ride, I noticed the ice starting to accumulate on the walkways. The mall emptied out Friday while we worked.

Meanwhile, I painted a 12′ x 10′ wall in only black white and grays. I enjoyed the limited color palette. Maria had helped me piece together some recent sketches I made which gave me plenty of ideas to paint.

By evening, the mall was empty and the snow was really falling. I didn’t think the weather would do much and had not paid the snow reports any attention. When we started to leave, the roads were white and we realized we couldn’t make it home to Arabia Mountain.

Luckily, my friend Spalding found us a spot to stay just down the road with his kind parents — a warm room in a snowy neighborhood. It was a soft cozy place to rest for Maria, Pup and I.

In the morning, after a warm drink and croissant with our new friends and hosts, we drove back up the hill in the cold wet snow. A snow accumulation of 5 or 6 inches in Atlanta is rare enough, but to have happened a couple weeks before Christmas is well…  unheard of. I thought it was beautiful— every limb in sight was coated with white.

We finished our painting Saturday and as we were wrapping things up and washing brushes I realized that the masses had returned to the mall for their holiday shopping. It was time for me to go.

Thanks to Brian and EXPRESS for all of your help, ideas and cups of hot black coffee.

Photo by Brian Schmitt.

Photo by Maria Brooks.

see you soon,
Kyle BlackCatTips Brooks




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Being Thankful (a mind and heart-lightner)

Saying “Thank You” can do a lot for a person. Being thankful is a good way to help get your brain back on track. Sometimes when I feel down and out I think about what I am thankful for and the good things in my life and I feel better.

This year Manny Arora and Sara Becker of Arora & LaScala helped me. I was having a discussion with the county I live in over ART I had installed in my front yard. I said it was one thing and some other folks said it was another thing.

Well… the important thing is that it is all behind us now—and that Manny and Sara really helped us out.

The other good thing is through it all, it became very evident about all of the good folks out there who support what I do. People from all over contacted me to let me know they were on my side and they were in support of happiness and art. I was thankful. I still am.

I created a new painting for the offices of Arora & LaScala. Maria and I delivered it yesterday and it was nice to see them again. I told Manny and Michael (Lascala) if they ever got tired of the art to let me know, because this one made feel extra good. I told them to please don’t throw it in the dumpster :)

I figured some folks go into a law office with serious matters and a lot on their minds —folks weighed down with troubles they are trying to figure out. I hoped this painting might take away a little of the bad — I hoped it might take away some of the weight. Maybe we could call this painting  a mind and heart-lightner.

Thanks again y’all…. 
manny aroma - kyle BlackCatTips brooks

kyle BlackCatTips brooks art for manny arora kyle BlackCatTips brooks art for arora & lascala atlanta kyle BlackCatTips brooks art happy faces kyle BlackCatTips brooks art painting for arora & lascala atlanta a horse in shadow only - a BlackCatTips painting kyle BlackCatTips brooks art for arora & lascala atlanta smiling faces BlackCatTips a kyle BlackCatTips brooks painting - happy faces in a row kyle BlackCatTips brooks art kyle BlackCatTips brooks painting for arora & lascala atlanta manny arora represents kyle BlackCatTips brooks may 2017

see you soon,
Kyle BlackCatTips Brooks




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Red & Blue & Blake (a mural for matchstic)

This week I painted a mural for my friend Blake and his company. The business and the office and the people inside are all called Matchstic and they are a brand identity house. Matchstic is located across from Historic Oakland Cemetery in Atlanta. It is also next to a fancy coffee shop and a bakery so I told Blake I would take him up on his offer and paint for them. I like to paint and listen to music and I like to drink coffee and make friends and talk to fun people and so it seemed like a good happy fit.

I painted for a few days and the last evening Matchstic hosted an open house with food and drinks and a jazzy trio playing in the corner. It was a nice week painting in Atlanta.

Thanks to Blake and Craig for the opportunity. Thanks to Maria and Pup for helping me paint.

see you soon,
Kyle BlackCatTips Brooks




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Boiled Peanuts (a trip to dillard)

I recently rode up to Hambidge for their Fall Festival. It was a sunny warm Saturday in October — a very peaceful afternoon of mellow music and mountain air. I ate some good food and learned about Raku firing of pottery. I sat a while in the sun on the soft green grass near a creek.

After I left Hambidge and Betty’s Creek Road I stopped by to see an art friend named Eric Legge (leg-gee). I have know Eric for several years but never been to his home studio. It is located off the main highway in Dillard, Georgia.

I found him in his old garage turned into a wonder-world of folky art — creations by him, his father, and others such as Bucket Man and R.A. Miller.  Art and paintings and sculptures were stacked and leaned on top of each other. It was deep in some spots and little curiosities were placed all between them. It was as much as my eyes could take at one time. There were many things to see.

We talked a while and traded some stories. Eric has a soft spoken manner and a quiet way of telling his life’s tales. He is a bit mysterious. He showed me all around his studio  and I asked him a bunch of questions. I bought a little “baby jesus” painting from him. He gave me a little drawing on metal by R.A. Miller. How could I refuse? He told me how he would make coffee and try to work all night sometimes. I laughed and told him my all-nighters ended about 11 o’clock.

When we were done inside we walked outside and I showed him some street poems in my van. My old rat terrier growled a little. I hung up one of my street poems on a pole outside his studio. He held the ladder as I climbed on up.

Eric had spoken of a boiled peanut sign before so I was glad he remembered to show it to me. He walked over in front of the studio amongst the painted concrete animals and gnomes. It was a hand-painted sign from along the highway and a man had given it to him some time back. Eric said, “I left it out about 10 years… I think that was too long. I should have taken it inside about the 6th year.” He smiled a little.  I did too. Pup barked a few times as I made room in the van for the dirty road-side treasure.

I brought the sign home to Arabia Mountain and cleaned it up. I chipped off the rotted wood. I beat on it a little with a hammer. I sealed it on both sides so it wouldn’t decay anymore. Then I decorated the old sign with some of my fun paint. I added some smiley faces. It makes me happy now. I will keep it and hang it up in our new house as a reminder of Eric and his little colorful home in the North Georgia hills. I will think about road trips through the country and throwing peanut shells out the window. I will think of the sunshine on my arm. I will think of good times.

Thanks Eric for your art and what you offer to the world.

 

see you soon,
Kyle BlackCatTips Brooks




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AWARE Wildlife Center (skulli the possum t-shirts)

I have always thought possums were a good thing. My Dad and I always liked possums. I’m called Possum by one friend that lives in Tucker, Georgia. My Grandpa and I would catch possums in a Have-A-Heart trap and look at them a bit before letting them go. Sometimes they smelled a little funny. One time I fed a momma possum bits of lunch meat and I saw her baby possum tails squirming out of her furry pouch. I have lived around possums my whole life. So when I had the chance to create possum art I jumped at the chance.

Recently I created a possum shirt for AWARE Wildlife Center out here at Arabia Mountain USA. The shirt is based on Skulli, an ambassador possum with AWARE. Ambassador animals are ones that are now healthy but not suitable to release back into nature because of their injuries. Skulli was hit by a car long ago and now lives and works with the fine folks at AWARE — interacting with the public at events. They are a furry and friendly way for people to understand what AWARE does for the Atlanta area.

I am real happy about this shirt. The art really makes me feel good. AWARE asked me to come down and take some pictures and a video with Skulli. We made a fun little commercial  about the upcoming fundraiser October 26th A Wild Night Out in West Midtown Atlanta. The new shirts will be available at the Wild Night Out fundraiser first, then later online. Hope to see you there and remember to check your pouch daily and keep it nice and clean!

 

see you soon,
Kyle BlackCatTips Brooks




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Elevate 2017 (bogota dreams)

You can’t see all the way around the world at one time. You can’t do everything at once. We are only alive for a little while. We will never be around long enough to impress a big round boulder. (my wife asked me what this meant and I told her we are just old dry grass blowing in the wind.)

A few days ago, I finished my mural for Elevate 2017, with the City of Atlanta.

It was a great experience for me working in south downtown, I saw many extremes in humanity. I made friends with folks and heard many stories. Many people wanted to comment on my work and tell me their opinions. Many asked me if I would paint in their apartment, music studio or children’s event. I saw many chicken bones and a lot of used plastic cutlery.

I spent many more days there than I originally planned, but I didn’t really mind.

I based my mural on a mix of ideas I have been working through for a while. I took old ideas and some new imagery from public sculptures I saw while in Bogota, Colombia in September. While in South America, we drank little Colombian coffees and I drew out funny simple blue prints on napkins of how I should build my own sculptures on my property. The ideas I painted on the new mural were plans pulled from my napkin doodles.

The mural is located on Trinity between South Broad and Peachtree Streets. I painted on either side of an existing mural that has been n the neighborhood for many years.

Thanks to Emily, Haley, Rob and the rest of the good folks at the Office of Cultural Affairs.

Thanks to Pam and Doug for letting my live in their driveway for a couple weeks. They grow a hearty vegetable garden down there in south downtown.

Thanks to Maria and Pup for helping paint, watching my back, sending me love and bringing me food while I worked.

See a little video the City of Atlanta made about my mural and Elevate 2017 here. 

Photo by Jason Travis
Photo by Jason Travis

see you soon,
Kyle BlackCatTips Brooks




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400 Episodes (swap shop birthday cake)

Williams Street Swap Shop on Adult Swim recently invited me to be a special guest on their 400th episode birthday party special.

I woke up early and baked them a 400 cake full of oil, fluffy stuff and love.

I had a good time wearing all white when they wore all black. I had a good time wearing my big hat. I hope soon they will ask me back.

Flapjacks, fluffy cake, hash browns, a sword and  few fellas taking phone calls. Then we ate falafel and pecans out of the parking lot. It was a fun afternoon.

You can stream the show here.

 

 

 

see you soon,
Kyle BlackCatTips Brooks




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Trains and Buses (INIT USA)

I spent this week working for INIT USA at the APTA Expo. The convention was held at the Georgia Worlrd Congress Center in Atlanta. I saw many trains. I saw many buses. I saw many things that revolved around the world of public transit. But they had no horse or mule or buggy exhibits.

I rode 38 escalators, 7 elevators, climbed stairs and drank 17 coffees. I had 2 buckets of water and 8 cups of paint and I painted the 3 days of the event. I had a fun time and I got to paint while standing and sitting on 1 fluffy green carpet.

Thanks to Ann, Paulina and the rest of my helpful friends at INIT. See you at the bus stop.

INIT USA at the APTA EXPO 20017 // Kyle BlackCatTips Brooks muralINIT USA at the APTA EXPO 20017 // Kyle BlackCatTips Brooks muralINIT USA at the APTA EXPO 20017 // Kyle BlackCatTips Brooks muralINIT USA at the APTA EXPO 20017 // Kyle BlackCatTips Brooks muralINIT USA at the APTA EXPO 20017 // Kyle BlackCatTips Brooks muralINIT USA at the APTA EXPO 20017 // Kyle BlackCatTips Brooks muralINIT USA at the APTA EXPO 20017 // Kyle BlackCatTips Brooks muralINIT USA at the APTA EXPO 20017 // Kyle BlackCatTips Brooks muralINIT USA at the APTA EXPO 20017 // Kyle BlackCatTips Brooks muralINIT USA at the APTA EXPO 20017 // Kyle BlackCatTips Brooks mural

see you soon,
Kyle BlackCatTips Brooks




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