You can teach an old dog new tricks if he wants to learn. My old dog is mostly deaf and half blind but she can still run around and likes to jump. I like to learn new things. Over last couple years I have become more and more interested in silkscreen art and using some of the drawings and paintings I have created in recent days to make new art on paper. I have incorporated silkscreen imagery into some paintings I have done recently. I enjoy mixing and matching the repetition of the manual print with hand touches and brush strokes.
We have made 2 new sets of posters here at our studio. Today they are available on our shop. We are working on some new ones to release next month.
As I was applying the emulsion layer to the screen, I thought about process. I thought about the task that you repeat and refine — smooth out the flaws and learn the craft. I thought of a man on a documentary I once saw that stuck with me. He was an older asian man. I think he lived in a Chinese city, in a gritty neighborhood. Everyday he made noodles by hand on a wooden table in a small bare back room. He used nothing but a long thick piece of bamboo. He would use his whole body to knead the dough and create the batch of noodles — pressing the dough with the bamboo until it was flat. Then he would start over again. Everyday the same task. Everyday. Then they would be delivered by hand to restaurants in the city. That impressed me. It inspired me. I will work on my craft. I would like some noodles.
Green. That was the theme. They took me into a room. For what I’ve done they strapped me into a computerized face-harness and sent me down a black hole tube into a world of amazing colors and a reality not-so-real. A strange sort of penance. when I return to the real world I’ll be a better man.
I’m learning to draw in virtual reality with Tilt Brush thanks to my new friends at Beam Imagination. It is one of the oddest and captivating things I have done. After only a couple sessions I think I could be sucked into the void and stay there a while without much loss of real-world time. I am drawing and creating in 3-D all around me and under and above in any color you like with a wide range of brushes and tools. It is all made in an instant and then can be all removed in the click of a button.
I can draw a simple blue circle. Then you can move it and rotate it in all directions and see how the light from above affects it and makes it look different. I realized it isn’t a circle at all and it really isn’t solid as there are holes and gaps in the brush strokes I made. The blue circle is really a flat blue plate which I then grab and scale to the size of my choosing and place back into the sky next to other shapes I have created. I stand back in the virtual world and stare at my floating drawings in wonder. How is this happening?
I wish you could go down the black hole tube full of paints and colors with me. Maybe we can take that dog too. I could draw him a virtual bone.
Went to SunTrust Park to see the Atlanta Braves play the L.A. Dodgers.
Took a special elevator driven by Ms Ruthie and walked in to the Xfinity Rooftop lounge.
Met the team from Xfinity Marketing and got out my Sharpie pens.
After sensing tension in the air I began to sign shirts for folks in line.
I decided it was good to go ahead and sign shirts rather than have a mini t-shirt riot at a baseball game.
Talked to hundreds of people and got better writing the last letter of my name toward the end of event.
Kept tabs on the happiness of my baby boy over on the corner.
Looked a few times up towards the game and asked people what inning it was.
Wondered if the man with the crazy eyes and talk of LSD really had Lysergic acid diethylamide or was he just a guy who tended to holler out while waiting in line.
It is always fun to be at the fancy ballpark.
Thanks to Walker Anderson and Laura Williams at Xfinity. Thanks to Deanna and her crew for making the event flow nicely. Thanks to all the nice folks who waited in line and had something great to share with me — ” at the old, ballllll gaaaammmmmeeeee.”
I spent a week in West Nashville painting on a long white wall for Off The Wall Nashville — An initiative to help reinvigorate a busy somewhat industrial corridor on the west side of Nashville that is beginning to “wake up” again. Some folks run away from a beast soon to wake — others cook it breakfast.
I was lucky enough to have a week of dry weather. Dry weather is good for painting. A lot of sun and dry air is good to bind paint to a cinder block wall. I drank water out of a big jug and I spent most of my time on a ladder along Charlotte Avenue. I thought I would have time to do a few other art projects while I was there but I did not. I ate a lot of cherry tomatoes and took notes of the street characters that would walk pass my painting in progress. I ate seven (7) bananas and laid the peels out end to end on the sidewalk pointing towards the west. That is the general direction bananas tend to migrate in the late summer.
I finished the project the evening before I had to leave town. When I sat across the street and looked at what I had left on the wall I felt good inside. I was dirty and mean and had dust in one eye but I felt good.
I got to see and meet some great folks while in Nashville. I saw the Van Lears play at the Hutton Hotel. I saw a couple of the Futurebirds and we took selfies. I ate at Wild Cow vegan restaurant and laughed a lot. I visited with new friends at Dino’s under a wooden Dolly Parton and I connected all of the dots at the Wilburn Street Tavern. I met friends that hand-letter signs and ride in stagecoaches full of gold leaf — friends that live on a farm in a converted bus with a van welded to the top — friends that like ramen and have an album coming out soon — white-haired auto mechanics with cigarettes glued permanently to their bottom lip that helped me out of a jam — people in the parking lot that wanted to talk about my painted van — a guy that told me where I was when I was a little lost — a man from a scene in the Dukes of Hazard that pointed me to the gas station and then told me how he had to replace his fuel tank on his truck — the smiling guy with a braided beard like a warrior troll — the tough-man personal trainer at the gas station that lauded my accolades — Jennifer the flower lady who sold newspapers on the corner and the guy with a tiny dog in his bike basket. Oh yes, and a man in a purple suit named King who told me ” Love was always a necessary ingredient in whatever you do.”
I hope people enjoy the art I left behind on the wall on Charlotte Ave. I would like to go back soon and see all my friends. I hope the banana peels are still there or if not I hope they are basking in the western sun.
Here is a little video I made about a big painting.
I drove up to Nashville to start on an outdoor mural project. The project is called Off The Wall Nashville. It is located at 28th and Charlotte on the west side of the Music City. I had a few issues on the way up from Atlanta, including foreign objects lodged behind my brake pads on the painted van I drive. I had other issues too but those aren’t as worth mentioning. This hunk of metal in the wrong place created a wildly metallic screeching sound. The squeal coupled with the fact that my van is painted in an odd way made for strange and somewhat laughably entertaining and embarrassing ride around West Nashville. I pulled the bill of my yellow ball hat down way low so no one would see me. Now, thanks to some nice Nashvillians, the screech and the squeal have left town together and I am here to paint. I think they rode on out to Memphis bickering with each other on the back of a dirty old semi.
I began this painting project and now am in the midst of it. I always enjoy the midst portion. I have met some nice folks so far. The Nashville Transit Bus Driver stopped and I got into the bus to tell him what I was doing. Two police pulled over a lady Uber driver in front of the wall. I met a traveling family from Philly en route from Oklahoma to take photos and see all the states. Random folks have come by and shook my hand and asked me things like, ” Did you do all of this?!” I said, ” Yes.” Then I get out my dish soap and wash my hands on the sidewalk.
Today I met a man named Jim Anderson. He is 82. He walks a lot and lives in Nashville. He told me he used to deal cards in Las Vegas for 14 years. He used to drink in the old days too but now he laid the bottle down. He laid it plum flat on its side. All the drink ran out. Whether it was Puerto Rican Rum or Siberian Vodka or a fancy type of Rye Whiskey I do not know. But according to Jim, it poured on out and ran down the table leg and across the floor. The Puerto Rican Siberian Rum Whiskey kept on running and tumbling and ended up in a crooked creek and then a swindling stream and now it flows to this day in the Cumberland River. I heard it was laid up on a big sandbar somewheres — just laying out in the sun and taking it easy. What do expect an old bottle of booze to do?
Maybe Jim didn’t tell me all the facts about the lack of drink in his life. Maybe I made that part of the story up. Heck, maybe I need a little drink. Anyway, Jim now goes on two daily walks and writes poetry and songs. Sometimes he finds guys like me painting on the sidewalk. Today as I was painting on my ladder and he came by and we spoke. He recited me one of his writings. I was impressed. We spoke for a while more and then I got out my blue paint and climbed back up my ladder. I sure wish I could have recorded all the words to his poem.
I first saw Jim last night as I was sitting on the sidewalk eating cold ramen noodles and lima beans out of a sandwich bag with my fingers. He came walking down the evening road in my direction. He smiled and told me he liked my hat. Any fella that would be nice to you after they saw you eating ramen noodles and lima beans out of a bag with their fingers must be an okay type of fella.
In 2013 I painted The Resting Place, a project with Molly Rose Freeman for the Atlanta Beltline. The outdoor room we built was temporary and lived several lives after the BeltLine installation. Recently it was returned to me, but in sub-par condition.
Today we threw out some of the old and salvaged what we could. I hope to begin to use what is left in new art projects – cut it up and paint over sections. Create something new with the old.
I have some new plans for the salvageable sections. I know we all have some salvageable sections. Sometimes they just take a while to identify and preserve.
There are things in this world all around us. Miraculous things we can’t understand. Yesterday I got a closer glimpse and it quickly overwhelmed me. I cried and cried as I thought about how we are part of a SPIRIT world that is interconnected , totally amazed by what I experienced. Invisible wires running through the attic of this House we call our world — our Earth — our Home.
How many times do you have to see the fire before you know it will burn you? How many winters before you know the snow is cold? Will you learn before you are too old? I hope you can .
Recently I painted some tops of pots — or maybe Pot Tops. They used to help cook bowls of beans but now I think they must cook up Sunshine Stew.
They came over and I stayed out in the garage. I painted with my gas mask on. You don’t want to breathe too much gas. You don’t want to breathe too many fumes. You don’t want to expose yourself to the chemicals too soon.
I like to paint things that smile back at me. I get real upset sometimes. That is why I paint smiles. That is why I paint big happy eyes. I don’t care too much for serious art or serious artists or political nonsense. I just paint simple things I can be happy and content with. I suppose it is all very selfish of me but it helps keep me alive and true to myself.
I recently painted a set of Georgia states. I made about 50 of them and I don’t think I will be making anymore like these. They were all unique. All of them were different than each other. I painted them on the last cold night of early 2018. I painted them when it was really hot too. I painted them in my home studio and I painted them in a garage attic near Lake Lanier. I painted them by 3 brown bats and I painted them by 3 tan deer.
If you bought one of them I hope they bring you many smiles. I am thankful to you.
A concrete valley. A crow perched high up upon a towering fireplace. The winds swooped down around the summer clouds and blew a hot breeze past me and my supplies. I closed my eyes and imagined I was near a sandy beach — A tropical watering hole that when I walked closer was only a janitor’s closet. It was very hot seven days at Mary Lin elementary school.
I worked over the course of a week on a new mural on a unique concrete wall — under an overpass and up a set of stairs — I felt it was a unique location to create art. I painted giant chicken totems and a janky leg cat and rockets and birds and a talking tail tip beside a crooked smiling tree. I wanted to give the school children plenty to think and talk and dream about. I wanted to paint something that would cause them to create funny names and stories for the creatures I painted.
Thanks to Julie for asking me to paint and all the afternoon picnics and assistance. Thanks to Ethan for your help too. Thanks to the black crow for keeping me company while I painted in the desert.
What is a BlackCatTips?
A BlackCatTips is a painter and muralist. A BlackCatTips is a poet and a thinker— a teller of tales. A BlackCatTips is Kyle Brooks, a street folk artist from way down in the American South.
In addition to his studio and mural work, Brooks creates street poems and whimsical roadside art installations. With his brush, bright colors and a few found materials, he paints the world happy.
Brooks lives in Arabia Mountain U.S.A., Georgia with his wife, new baby son and old dog. He also likes hot drinks, biscuit houses and growing orchids.