This is Mr. Bhringha. He lives in the corner of of grass green yard and watches all the cars go by. Sometimes he will wink at you if you are lucky.
I made him after a long time of thinking about ways to make some big heads and faces to put in trees. These thoughts came from a few places — sculptures I saw while in Bogota, Colombia, mental plans I had for creating my own sculpted pieces and finally a photograph that amazed me. The photo was of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera standing in front of a tree with heads in it. The heads were clay and at some sort of indigenous South American historical site. Perhaps all of this is one big thought.
I made the sculpture out of chicken wire and spray foam. I carved it and painted it and added a few touches. I don’t know how long Mr. Bhringha will live outside in the weather but until he tells me he wants to move I will leave him there to see the people and cars and buses going back and forth.
A friend of mine came by a little while ago on a sunny winter day. He used to live here but now he lives out west by the ocean and Venice Beach. We walked around the yard. He always has his camera with him. His name is Jason Travis. He took the photos on this here blog post.
I live here and not anywhere else. I do not live in Venice Beach or New York City. I have been to New York and was very amazed and overwhelmed. I asked a Persian man in lower Manhattan for a plain toasted bagel. He looked at me like I had asked to kiss his mother. Be careful when kissing a Persian mother in a bagel shop.
Some days I would like to go other places. I would like to wander around in the desert down in Southern California. I would like to se Joshua Tree. I always like to be in the mountains. But today I am here and it feels like home to me. I enjoy walking around on my property and looking at the plants. I see a lot of flowers and I would like to learn their names. Maybe one is named Larry. Susan lives here and she has black eyes.
I have seen a lot of things in the few years I have lived on this spot. I have seen an older asian woman in a small hatchback car. I have seen another woman that asked me if she could be a receptionist. I have seen turkeys taking a dust bath. I have see many animals on a wildlife game cam. I have thought I saw the WolfMan behind my barn on a moon lit night. I have seen Carolina Anoles and Blue Tailed Skinks. Anoles are nice and Skinks are not. Similar to how ducks are nice and Geese have a mean-streak. But back to reptiles — I have seen a snake or 3 — found some spent snake skins. I have watched a million bees fly by. Luckily I do not see many flies. I caught a couple large meaty rats in a no-hurt-em trap before. I fed one green peas and gave it hay to make a bed with. I saw a family on shrews and deer by the dozen. I have seen many things. I see possums and armadillo from time to time. I have seen Cedar Waxwings and Summer Tanager. Wood Thrush and White Throated Sparrow sing to me if I listen. We even have had a visiting Chuck-Wills-Widow. I see thousands of airplanes and rickety trucks go by. People walk up and down the street. Some are looking for trouble, and some are looking for wildflowers. Most keep on walking.
I am a small human in a large world. I like to look and think. Where do all these animals go at night? How do flowers know how to grow a bloom? What makes a dry seed wake up? Why do I like to tell stories? Maybe because I think too much and need to release pressure from my brain.
Stand in the sunshine and take a breathe. It will be ok. That is what I tell myself.
Thanks to Explore Georgia for featuring me in your new 2019 Georgia State Travel Guide. If you are at a rest stop on the highway and wanna get my opinion on tasty Asian noodles pick one up. I like remembering my grandpa’s small brown car and riding to Atlanta from Decatur on a Saturday afternoon. I remember seeing the East Lake Golf Club and the Yaarab shriners building on Ponce de Leon Ave. Sometimes we would go to the Varsity and get an apple pie and french fries. It is fun to remember the good times.
A man sat in a phone booth on the corner of 52nd and Trinity and said the following out loud to himself as the trucks and buses clanked and clunked on by.
Everything is as honest as you want it to be. We all wear costumes from time to time. But some of us sew are own and these fit the best. some work at a dry cleaners and borrow costumes from others when they have the chance. These never fit quite right and cause great inner-discomfort. How comfortable are you with the occasional madness that blows in on the wind? How comfortable are you with the parts of your mind you don’t understand? If you take everything you have ever created and folded it up what would you have left ?
Then an an out-of-breathe over weight woman banged on the glass phone-booth door and the man acted like he had put a quarter in the slot and was waiting on the operator on the other end of the line.
I held onto these word for a long time. I had given them in a speech or 2. I had been recorded saying them at one point. I wrote this little story of a poem because I realized everything I create and the work I do will all turn into dust and bits one day, no matter how unknown or known my efforts might be.
I had a pile of sticks and debris for all of last year and recently I decided to burn it up. The decision to set the pile on fire was an impulsive one — but once the coals were laid on the dry cardboard there was no turning back. I had another small fire burning in a rusty barrel and I walked a shovel full of coals over to the larger pile in the field. Fate had been set in motion. The things of this world were now being transferred to another dimension. All I could do is tend to the glowing edges, stay clear of the flames and to contemplate in the smoke.
There is something about building a small fire that helps associate you with new house or shack or cabin or art studio. As you build the fire you gain heat and comfort. You can then feel more comfortable and make a list of what else needs to be done to make yourself feel at home. Once you feel at home, you can then get to work.
When I arrived at Fisher Studio at Hambidge it was a cold day. Many colder days followed so I would turn the heater dial up and watch the red glow warm my room. I worked all I could. I had a main project of painting a large set of BlackCatTips BEAR heads but I also had a side project too. The side project to me became more fun — although much more temporary. I watched old movies while I worked and played loud music. I made food and ate it while I painted. I climbed the ladder and painted more. I would go sit on the front porch and look down the valley. Then I would go paint again.
I hung a plastic drop cloth on the large wall and painted on it. I also began to cut and glue large pieces of brown paper. I then tacked them to the wall and paint more. When I was finished I had decorated the whole wall with several large painted pieces — a paint on paper assembled creation.
Toward the end of my time at Hambidge I went on a long walk around Owen Mountain. I saw creeks and small waterfalls and a large rock cliff. I felt very isolated and saw no other humans. I looked for bears but saw none. I would think some animals had their eye on me.
The sun went down and the sun came up. All the people left and went home and a new batch arrived. The sun went down again. Life goes on and we take our memories with us like a sandwich in a brown paper bag.
I recently spent time at Hambidge Center . I made this short video of me taking down art I had made during my stay. I made the music with recorded snippets of a baby toy. The video is in reverse. I painted in regular forward motion . I have a beard. I like blue skies.
I spent most of two weeks painting all of these things and I wanted to document it all in a fun way. I knew once I took it all down that no human eyes might ever see the paintings again.
I wish I could paint on a big wall like this all the time.
I recently spent a couple weeks at Hambidge Center near Rabun Gap, Georgia. It was my second art residency at Hambidge. The first residency was a couple years back at the tail end of winter. This year’s residency was just past the peak of fall colors at the end of autumn. Both visits required me to warm myself by sitting next to the glowing red propane heater. Both residencies were times of great solitude as well as almost limitless time to create.
For an artist with a busy creative mind, being left alone in a studio in the woods is wonderful gift. I had everything I needed to create while at Fisher Studio. I worked as many hours as I could, doing what I liked for as long as I liked during my 2 week (12 day) stay.
To walk away from the restraints of everyday living and domestic duties allows one to focus in an extreme way on their craft and art. You can work as much or as little. You are free to sit and think or to sit and do. Nature is all around and you can escape on trails and let the woods soothe your thoughts.
Four evenings a week we convened as a group to eat and discuss our time working at Hambidge. This led me down a creative path because I saw others working hard on their goals and listened as they discussed what they were called to do. I was inspired by their work – writing and sculpture.
A few years ago I did not know much about art residencies, or what they were for. I have learned now they are a valuable tool for folks such as myself. I look forward to another time when I can challenge myself to become a better artist by times of quiet contemplation in nature and the freedom to create in an environment solitude and beauty.
Recently I made some wooden bear heads to sell. I started off with a couple sheets of old plywood I had stored for a while in my barn. I cut them out and took the wood shapes to Hambidge Center in north Georgia. I then worked on them near Lake Lanier and then finished them back in Arabia Mountain U.S.A. I haven’t fully documented the process of making the bear heads so I set out to do so. I hope you enjoy watching.
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.