An Afternoon With Kyle BlackCatTips Brooks (a friendly little visit)

Last fall, or autumn as some like to say, a few nice folks came to see me. They were attending a class at the Art Institute of Atlanta — film students with some fancy cameras and a mind full of ideas. The nice trio came by my home at Arabia Mountain U.S.A. just to the east of Atlanta. They were Sandra Sanchez, Kai Hunte and Lillian Cho.

They brought out all their gear and we did an interview. They worked real diligently on setting everything up. I let them wander around the property on a couple occasions taking photos of art and plants and things. They did a great job documenting our new yard and my art and what was going on here at the time. I was glad to meet them — they were full of a positive energy. They also visited me when I painted a mural for the city of Atlanta last fall. I later saw one of them at the grocery store. New friends make you smile.

I told them it was kind of like someone wandered up off the road and walked around my yard and listened to my talk for a little while I painted. Well, come to think of it, I guess that is about what happened. The film was produced by Sandra Sanchez, Kai Hunte did the camera work and Lillian Cho edited and recorded the sounds.  Thank y’all so much.

and next time I will wear pants with no holes in the knees…

see you soon,
Kyle BlackCatTips Brooks




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Ol King Kole (happy old soul)

Ol King Kole was a happy old soul and a happy old soul was he. He would jump and sing and shake that thing and listen to the buzzing bees.

He ran down the lane in the pouring rain and said hello to you. He would skip and hop and pass your shop and you wouldn’t know what to do.

Ol King Kole liked to roll around town and look for friends and foes. He would go real far without a truck or a car and he had no arms or toes.

Ol King, Ol King Kole, Ol King Kole was he. Ol King, Ol King Kole, happy as he could be.

see you soon,
Kyle BlackCatTips Brooks




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Antennas To The Sky (painted poles)

I am building something. I am painting stripes. I decided to take a step forward before I was ready. I hope the antenna will bring me down signals that are right. I hope it will bring me the message. I am waiting on help from above. Bring down the message. Bring down the love.

I will wait while I work. I will think while I dream. I will make more antennas — more painted poles on the scene.

Perhaps they are a place where a bird can land. Perhaps a place for a crow to sang. Perhaps they will host a whirlwind windmill. I hope they will be a place for a shiny ball to hang.

Grow like the summer weeds. Grow high and with much thoughtful speed. Grow to the sun. Grow just for fun. Make me believe in YOU. I think I will work until my dreams come true.

see you soon,
Kyle BlackCatTips Brooks




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New Year New Art (painted thoughts)

What color is your breathe? What color is your blood? What color are your leaves? What color is the mud?

Things grow in their own way. Paintings develop on their own. Usually they grow in a manner that suites them best and not so much the painter. When you force it too much it can break. Let the water flow where it will — around the corner and down the hill.

Here are some snippets of paintings I have been working on over last month or so. I plan on painting more at home as we learn how to care for a young son — as we ride though the last of winter.

I love to paint. I love to be outside on a sunny day. I love hot drinks. Sometimes I love a little whiskey. I love a kiss on the cheek. I love a warm hug. I love it when my brain can calm down and I can feel like it is all going be ok. I like to watch plants grow. I like to let me mind go. Open up and let it show.

see you soon,
Kyle BlackCatTips Brooks




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Bird Fest 2018 (atlanta audubon society)

I have always been interested in birds and airplanes and flight. Recently I was asked by the Atlanta Audubon Society to create art for Bird Fest 2018.

Years ago I wrote a song about a woodpecker. My Dad helped me with the words. Here are a few of  them…

W.O.O.D. woodpecker. Tappin out a song on an old pine tree. woodpecker.
woodpecker you’re so nice. woodpecker please peck twice.
if you like me, please like me.

When the spring rolls around I plan on attending a few Bird Fest events. Hope to see you there.

Bird Fest 2018 will run April 14th – May 20th. More information will be available soon on their website and social media channels. The Atlanta Audubon Society is located at 4055 Roswell Road, Atlanta, GA 30342.

 

see you soon,
Kyle BlackCatTips Brooks




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Brown Mushroom Men (dekalb county VFW)

Usually I write about my own murals. I show photos of the art I have painted. But I wanted to share this mural I see along the road. When I can’t take the interstate and traffic is bad, I sometimes take the little highway. The little highway is a place I grew up. It has changed so much — and not in a good way. Shops left and others showed up but they were all of a lower caliber. It is depressing at times but when I pass the VFW I always smile a little. I find it very funny and unique.

I am an airplane enthusiast and I marvel at this flying silver craft. What is it? I have no idea but it looks pretty amazing.

We stopped last week and I took a few photos. When you walk up close, it looks almost like it was painted with a mop. The artist used a metallic silver paint for parts of it — almost blinding brought in the sun. I love folky homemade art and signage. It is pure and strange and full of a life.

If you ever pass the intersection of Covington Highway and South Hairston Road in Dekalb County, Georgia keep your eye open for the brown mushroom men and the flying silver spaceship. It will make you smile.

see you soon,
Kyle BlackCatTips Brooks




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The Smiling Tower (silkscreen practice)

I went to a class the other week to learn tips on how to be a better dad to a baby boy. As I have always done, I drew many doodles on the borders of my notebook. A few days ago I fixated on one of the drawings and decided to use it for screen print project I was thinking about.

I made a bunch of these Smiling Tower prints. I burned the screens and printed them in my basement with the polka-dotted floor. I decided I would send a print to some people who had helped me in 2017 — cause what am I going to do with a stack of smiling towers anyway? So I silk-screened them at night and sent them out today. It made me feel good. I don’t ever feel as though I am an adequate gift-giver but maybe projects like this one will help.

I plan to keep practicing my silk screen skills. You tell those people who have helped you along the way that “you appreciate them.” I hope we all have a good 2018.

 

see you soon,
Kyle BlackCatTips Brooks




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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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