I recently sat down with Blake Howard, owner of Matchstic, A branding house located in Atlanta , Georgia. Actually, I sat down with Blake twice. The first time was a wild goose chase. We looked for hidden keys and fumbled into a recording session in progress. We got attacked by a swarm of hostile mosquitos and tripped through kudzu. I saved a half-dead cicada from a spider web. We relocated and recorded in a back room of a big house used as some business folks’ office. I took him a sip of whiskey and we laughed as he asked me stories about my art career. The wooden chairs creaked.
The second meet up was because the first recording session was full of technical difficulties — chair creaks, sweating, allergic reactions. I might have dragged my feet a bit to re-record an interview with someone else, but I like Blake so I said I would do it. This go-round we met up at Constellations Co-Working Office off of Auburn Avenue in Atlanta. They have a professional recording studio so we sat down in the dimmed lighting and wood paneled walls. Blake brought me a whiskey this time. It was fancy. I didn’t get bit by bugs or start sweating.
We sat and talked and laughed and got way off track and had a fun time recording an interview once again. I had so much fun I think I would even do it a third time.
The podcast is called The Creative Rising. My interview session can be listened to here
or here on iTunes. It also can be found on Spotify.
Some people go to therapy to talk through their frustrations. I just do interviews.
My friend who lives high on Lookout Mountain above Chattanooga asked me to be part of her project called Excurricular.
She sent me a film camera and a journal and asked me to document whatever part of my life I wanted to — Something a little different than my normal art going-ons. I took photos of my plants and family and green grass here at home — Late summer hot times with a tiny camera full of film.
Please go to excurricular.com to see the whole dang shabang. Take a look at the photos and notes I made and all of the other artists as well. I like it.
I have a friend who is a good singer. Her name is Kristina Murray. She asked me almost one year ago at a friend’s party to make some art for her new album. I always thought record album artwork was something I wanted to do so I said, “Yes ma’am.”
I painted the art for Kristina in the spring after Baby Teddy was born and I recovered from the FLU. I took some photos of of the painting around my barn and out in the warm sunshine. I then sent ’em on up to Nashville and they took care of the rest.
Next thing you know, Southern Ambrosia is a real album and my paintings are on the inside. I knew the title was Southern Ambrosia so I kept thinking of the bowls of oranges and coconut I would see my grandma make around Christmas time — oranges and peaches and pinks in a big Tupperware bowl. I wanted to capture the essence of my memories in the album artwork — sprinkle in a few smiles like my grandma would with the shredded white coconut.
I saw Kristina play a show in Atlanta in October. I was really impressed and inspired. Her band sounded really smooth and authentic — an honest voice. I am happy to work with other artists who are listening to the creative voice inside their heads — who take note and listen for the Spirit of Inspiration. To create a collection of music and develop the concept of the album and then perform the songs for crowds is no small feat. Thank you Kristina for working hard on what you feel called to do.
I really like her new song Strong Blood. I like the line about the dog’s leg.
Take a listen here at the link below.
Pick up a vinyl record or CD with BlackCatTips art inside real soon and eat some peaches and oranges and coconut too.
Koozie is a funny word. Maybe it was invented by a woman named Sarah J. Koozenheimer. She must have really been into keeping things soft and cold.
My friend Ranger Robby had a party and I made him some art to go on his koozie for the event. They held the shindig at my other friend by the name of name of James Hotdog’s business Doggy Dogg in Decatur, Georgia. — ketchup and mustard and a cold cold drink. Maybe the koozie was working to keep things warm. It was a mighty cold night to sip on a cold drink.
A happy Up The Hill party to Robby and the best wishes to the late great Sarah J. Koozenheimer. Thanks for keeping us cold.
Some people have dreams they can connect with. Some people have dreams shortly before they awake. Some people have dreams in the early morning light. Some people never thought it through until it was too late.
Thanks to Weston and Caleb for taking an early morning ramble with me. It was a good start to the day.
They said I should show up early. I said, “oh good golly.” I got there before sun up and put on my hard hat— zipped up my neon yellow vest and packed up my brushes and ladder. I went and bought a coffee then I bumped into Todd. Todd is a good fella. He is the big boss at the NCR construction project. He watched out for me. He told them, ” to put DANGER red tape around my workspace because no one thinks twice about yellow CAUTION tape.” I found out yellow caution tape is so old school — so very normal. You need something more substantial these days. Don’t use yellow tape when you have a whole box of red tape. It worked pretty well until a couple of dusty dirty dingy doods came stumbling through. Oh well… Todd just shook his head. “What are we going to do Kyle?“, he asked me. I told him there were always some turkeys to watch out for. He agreed.
I painted this concrete beam in a hallway leading to the parking decks at Phase 2 of the NCR World Headquarters in midtown Atlanta. I painted both sides and all underneath. When I finished working I cleaned up the caution tape and all my supplies. I left the folks a happy message. Real Good To See You Again —- Hope You Have A Happy Time. Everyone needs a little bit of a smile before or after they hit the dusty trail. I stood there and looked at the smiles I painted one more time— then I grabbed my neon vest and walked out of the dusty parking deck. Bye Todd.
The whole world looked one way. I tried for years to understand it and then I tried for years to master it. I never did. After a long time I told myself I had started to grasp how things worked. I thought I had learned enough to navigate the paths of existence and understand my place in it.
I made things work for me, I greased up the gears and the machine was rolling— churning out the products I needed— moving through the sky and sucking in the clean cool air.
I felt like I had it somewhat under control.
Now I have noticed a change. I can’t see as well as I once did. My eyes have begin to fail a bit — dimming has occurred. Sometimes I walk into a dark room and feel as though I am blind. Perhaps some of this is due to the fact that my perception has changed. I can see but my mind can decipher all the factors in the same capacity.
I feel like I am looking through a tinted glass. I feel like I have been reading a story and the type on the paper has begun to degrade a little. The letters themselves aren’t quite the same. The bits and pieces of the characters have broken off so as I read all the sudden I loose my place. I cant finish the sentence. I can discern the meaning.
This is how I feel about my mind, my artistic being. I can’t see as well and my mental interpretation of everything has broken down a few degrees.
I start to draw or paint and what I want to create and the result of my efforts are two different things. I have a great frustration inside and cant make things work out as I had planned.
All of this is forcing me down a new path — a de-evolution of my mind — A breakdown of my thinking. The path of normality has cracked and weeds of frustration have sprouted through the sidewalk.
I don’t know where this will lead me. One day perhaps I will simply draw a line, or a rounded blob of color is all I can create. Everything I ever wanted to express is now condensed to a solid shape interacting with another sold shape — no words, no faces, no details. These internal struggles and changes make me wonder. What is next? Maybe a couple rounded shapes on a page will be all I need. Maybe it will stay the same. Maybe a bolt of electricity from the heavens will restart my thought process and send me down a new trail. I like to listen to the sounds of a small creek in the mountains. I like to see my baby boy smile. I like the wind in the tops of the trees. I like the way a soft yellow cake smells.
Someone was very generous. Someone was the winning bid at the WonderRoot gala in 2017. As a result, they could have a mural painted by myself anywhere of their choosing. The kind person with the winning bid wanted to have the art given as a gift to a local school. WonderRoot worked a deal and many months later I walked into Dunbar Elementary with my paints and brushes. I also brought some snacks because I was hungry it was a lunchroom after all. Hmmmmm … corn chips.
I painted a fun mural with food themes – pizza, and fruit — apples and oranges and fruity drinks. A sandwich man, a spoon and a fork and a toothy banana.
The school kids were out on a break when I worked in the lunchroom. I imagine they will have a lot to talk about when they return. One person had told me the kids would mess the art up — they said they would peel it off the wall. I sure hope they leave it be. I went to school for a while and saw a bunch of lunchrooms. I never saw any paintings like this while I ate my square pizza and funky salad bar food. I never peeled any talking sandwiches off the wall. I think the children at Dunbar Elementary will consider themselves to be in a happy good place. A place that they can grow and learn and laugh at talking food.
Thanks again to WonderRoot and the super nice fella who gave the gift of art to Atlanta Public Schools.
A while back I made a set of cardboard bear heads. They are painted by hand and glued and there is a little string hangar on the back. I took photos if them and then combined the faces with some other drawings I made. Sometime after this poster was born.
We made a 2-color silkscreen poster here at the BlackCatTips studio. I wrote a little story of a family reunion picnic gone awry — like I would imagine a lot must do. A family picnic sounds like a good idea but then you get knee-deep and the wind blows funny and all the sudden it is decided to just call it off and head back home.
The bees came to visit, the basket sprung a leak and lil’ Bobby had a rough go.
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.