Decade after decade, nothing immortalizes the zeitgeist better than art and for that reason; nothing rivals the importance of its creation. The purity of the narrative expressed from the artist to the collector, affords artists the chance to create a shared history, to be savored for years to come. Emphasis on affords– as in- that same artist should be able to break the “starving artist” stereotype and make a living as a Professional rather than a Hobbyist. Programs like ARTiculate ATLanta make that possible for emerging artists and more importantly- it connects art to the core of our future- the youth. ARTiculate ATL is an annual group art show that celebrates modern art in all forms. This year they chose 30 artists to showcase their art to gain exposure and make a profit in a professional art venue. It was started in 2013 as an art social with the purpose of bringing art to the masses and decreasing the exposure gap for artists. Their fourth annual event held at Mason Fine Art Gallery, was brimming with success. The proceeds from the group show go towards their non-profit, Urban Art Expression youth program (UAE) that develops young talent and grooms them for the expansive possibilities that are not otherwise always a reality. They conduct 4 sessions in the Fall and 4 in the Spring, accommodating 12-15 students for a hands-on, eye opening experience.
ARTiculate ATL is the brainchild of Esohe Galbreath and her husband and artist, George Galbreath, who partnered with Courtney Ware and Brandon Ball of Ball-n-Co marketing and design company to bring this event to fruition. The burgeoning diversity makes this platform even more essential to building our communities and harnessing intrinsic gifts by providing an outlet to the artists’ surge of creativity. Patrons filled Mason Fine Art Gallery with curiosity, interest, and appreciation, resulting in nearly every artist selling prints or originals, accounting for the $15-$20k average made by the artists during the show and appealing to art collectors and first-time art buyers as well. With rising popularity, the program broadens their talent pool and with it comes prospective venues for the annual event. In the space that regularly houses artists like Maurice Clifford and Herbert Creecy, Mason Fine Art gallery has been the gallery of choice for the last 2 shows. As needed in Atlanta, this show satiates the ATL-liens thirst for more art with a reach outside of the renowned ATL muralists and artistic talent pool, to open opportunity for more emerging artists.
Each artist had a strong narrative that resounded throughout the gallery to create a cohesive, curated collection that speaks to the importance of diversity, where the individual stands in the political perspective, and how we see ourselves and the likeness of what we consider beauty. Consider this an introduction or stepping stone to some of these artists in their careers, but know that you will see them again.
Artists to look out for:
Finding beauty in the unconventional, Phillipé Davis uses his art to challenge the way we process the world around us. His fine attention to detail calls us to take a moment and savor the intricacies that make up parts of the bigger picture- a lesson we can practice in everyday life. His work averts from popular subject matter in order to challenge deeper thought and reflect on how our current experiences influence the way we look at things around us. With use of surrealism, he inspires us to release familiarity and expose our misconceptions. It allows us a moment of vulnerability and a refreshing new perspective. Davis juxtaposes surrealism and fine detail to create depth and dimension that viewers endlessly poured over, seeing something different every time they revisited a piece. Among his work are pieces that include diversity displayed in abstraction with culture in color as the foundation of favelas; the origins of plant life from real to surreal that connect history with our imagination; and otherwordly figures in relation to our planet to show duality of separatism and belonging. His work imparts a feeling of liveliness and inspires us to live by our own philosophies.
Marveling in the essence of our childhood, Baek showcased portraits in the likeness of Lego figures, reminding us that retrospective memories seems so much clearer in the distance of time and reflection, much the same as we are able to see the clarity of these portraits at a distance; while up close and personal, we sometimes blur the bigger picture, yet see these individuals for what that are comprised of, much the same as looking at the blocks of color that make up the images, we see the parts of the whole. Her collection displayed people she knows personally to create a visual map of knowingness. As innocent as it all may seem, looking deeper and characterized by similar forms, it’s noticeable that little varies in the outlook of each individual, making the theory of the individual a perception, much like we firmly believe in our uniqueness, yet as humans, are all so similar. With influences from Aldous Huxley, Baek reiterates the ides of media largely controlling our perceptions, where ideas are not our own, and thoughts- that were not ours to begin with- are fed to us by the media and reiterated in our own voice. Outwardly, the results are all strikingly, eerily, similar.
Downing made waves at the show, leaving viewers feeling a certain way- ya know, what art is supposed to do. Her imagery captures the bold, brashness of our current reality in a political context that isn’t nice, sweet, or pleasant. It’s in your face, it’s bold, it’s brazen, and it’s reality. She uses her art in the way protesters use their voice, leaders use their influence, and nations use their power. Her Martin Luther King Jr. photo is worth seeing and understanding that a depiction of this kind is more powerful than any words strung together, as it’s not what you would expect. Just as our history has evolved, but many circumstances remain similar, citizens actions are provoked to be more progressive now than they ever once were. She also captures the essence of vibrancy of her New Orleans roots in outlines of what you would see before your own eyes if you’ve ever frequented New Orleans. Faceless bodies march in motion with music, rhythm and exuberance, letting our imagination fill in the faces that could be any one of our own, as we feel we’re there in spirit. With a strong voice and reflective undertones, her work speaks volumes.
Many of these artists you’ve seen before and some you’ll have to get to know better. All in all, ARTiculate ATL has proven to be a successful event that has allowed many artists to gain exposure and gives them a platform to share their talents with the world. With the establishment of similar models in the art world, even the most obscure cities can bring forth the artistic youth and nurture them in a way where not only the artist will flourish, but the community will as well.
Support the program and stay abreast of what’s in store next year by going to the ARTiculate ATL website and following them on Facebook. See more from this year’s show by searching hashtag #articulateatl.
Pictures from 2016 ARTiculate ATL show (not all work included below):
Photos by Kimmy Ducasse