Free Art Friday, or #FAFATL, was started by Atlanta artist KennTwoFour, who says he wanted to “curate an art show out in the streets” where “people can just make work and it doesn’t have to be graded or gauged.” Accessible, inclusive, awesome, right? Still. A bunch of artists gifting their work to our great city? As nice as that sounds, the word “artist” has always been loaded with unattainable exclusivity to me. Not so with this group.
This group? They are just nice people who want to make beautiful things “4 U ATL” (to use Evereman’s words). Art for art’s sake (and for you). When we interviewed Catlanta for the video we made about him, our initiation into the FAFATL group, he was like, “Why wouldn’t I put my work out there for people to have and take home? If I didn’t put them out for people, they’d just be sitting in my house. With me.” This is a movement that is all about encouraging people to grow an idea, make something, and put it out there for people to enjoy. And, in a way, this movement has given folks a reason to make art in the first place as it provides both the accountability and the public space to “show” what you’ve made.
And did I mention that they’re nice? For the Evereman video we made, dozens of people came out to support the production of both the short film and the art because they believe in this movement, and also because Evereman’s art is about creating community through both the production of it and the finding of it. And just a few weeks ago, we had the privilege of attending the first ever FAFATL show over at Trackside Tavern. That’s right, a FAFATL show–you know, where you pay for art work?
Now here’s where the record stops abruptly, making that weird and awesome scrubbing sound something like: errrrbbbbbbbbbbuuhhh?
You mean folks were paying for art that’s free? Yes. That’s exactly what I mean. Why? Because FAFATL is a gift. And if we lovely and beautiful ATLans want to continue to enjoy his art that is sprinkled around our city like, well, sprinkles on an ice cream sundae, then we need to support our local artists. You know, with those dollah-dollah bills, SON!
In all seriousness though, FAFATL should be thought of more as a jumping off point than a destination. Most of these artists are really trying to make a go of it, as artists. You know, quit their day jobs and all that–hey, wait a second! That’s what we did! We started off making free art videos and now we make free art videos, which we love, and we do stuff that pays our bills, which we also love! And isn’t that what we all want? To get paid to do what we love? To gift our talents when we can for free out of pure and simple gratitude? Supporting these FAFATL artists on the streets and in their shows will allow the movement to continue to grow, to continue to enrich our city. So what can you do?
You can go after some awesome artwork on Sunday, July 1. The drop is called “One 4 the Show.” You can find out who’s dropping when and where by following #One4TheShow or #FAFATL on Twitter. (We were going to post a list of participating artists, but were too afraid of leaving someone off…) And while you’re at it, you can talk to your favorite local businesses about hosting FAFATL shows. This is such a win-win (WIN!!) situation: the artists get paid for making the art that we love (and the money they make usually goes back into making free art pieces–for you!) and the place gets the added business that comes with a show for artists who have a following as awesome and loyal as that of the FAFATL group.
KennTwoFour admits that the movement has kind of taken on a life of its own, with folks stepping out of the ATL woodwork to jump at this opportunity to BECOME artists. With mentors like KennTwoFour himself and Evereman, this movement has become a breeding ground for new, young artists to find their identity on the streets of ATL. If you follow the work of Clunky Robot or Fenix, you know what I mean. Less than six months ago, we met Fenix at a production party for Evereman–back then, Fenix was ReadLotus. She started off doing origami work with pages from books. My first impression was that she was young, excitable, maybe not a “serrrrrious” artist. Since that production party, she has reinvented and refined her image–she is now FENIX! Graphic! Colorful! A truly beautiful, branded, beloved artsy sprinkle on the ATL art scene. How do you think that growth happened? Through the support and guidance of the amazing folks in the FAFATL movement.
So, if you haven’t figured it out already, we are in love with these guys (and gals). And we believe that they are making our city more and more distinctly beautiful everyday. I hope you’ll join us in supporting what they’re doing.
First things first, though–if you are thinking of becoming involved with FAFATL, as an artist or as a hunter, there are some guidelines that they ask you follow. You can find those guidelines here.
The movement will celebrate its two year anniversary on July 6, and FAFATL artists and hunters are making ready for this BIG drop. As for us, we are dusting off our running shoes and will have keys in hand early next Friday morn in hopes of scoring some of our own free art. Meantime, be on the look out for the #one4theshow drop this weekened!)
Last Fall, Criminal Records, dubbed a “Little Five Institution” by Scoutmob, announced that it would be closing its doors to the Atlanta community it has served for over 20 years. However, the ATLocal folks simply would not have that, once again proving that the Internet might not prevail over the brick-and-mortar record stores that taught us how to love music (and what music to love). At least not yet. The city threw itself behind the Save Criminal campaign, and many musicians who got their start through Criminal Records got behind Criminal as well. The result was a rally of the human spirit to keep the doors of this beloved local landmark open. And the good guys won.
Today, Criminal Records is still open. Actually, they are very open today, as today happens to be RECORD STORE DAY, an international holiday celebrating, well, record stores. Today over at Criminal Records, there are lots of tasty Record Store Day happenings in the store, including the release of limited edition vinyl and an in-store performance by Patterson Hood and a handful of Truckers. We’re posting this video we made for the Save Criminal campaign last fall featuring Eric Levin, co-founder of Record Store Day and owner of Criminal Records, as a reminder of WHY record stores are so important to us, how they shape and create communities out of musicians, artists, and locals who love the local.
To find out more about how you can celebrate Record Store Day in Atlanta, check out Scoutmob’s run-down of today’s events around town. Since Record Store celebrations are happening all over the world today, those of you who are not ATLans may find Record Store Day’s app (for iPhone and Android) most useful.
Finally, if there’s one thing that connects modern humans to one another, it’s the smile that comes across a person’s face when they tell you about the first album they ever purchased. (Mine was Amy Grant’s “Heart in Motion.” There is no real defense outside of the fact that I was seven and my frontal lobe hadn’t had a chance to fully develop yet.) Anyways, in the spirit of the things that bind us and in celebration of Record Store Day, we’d love it if you would share the first album you ever owned in the comments section of this post. We’ll give a Criminal Records t-shirt to five of our favorite stories–you’ve got all weekend, just check back Monday morning. Meantime, go spend some money at your favorite local record store!
There’s nothing we love more than the LOCAL, and street artists are a huge part of what makes us feel like we are in a particular place at a particular time–it’s an artform rooted in the present because it’s totally ephemeral. Last month, we launched our video of Catlanta, which featured an Atlanta street artist who gets folks out of their homes and into the streets of our beloved for an art scavenger hunt, all in good fun. This week we bring you Evereman, who makes art “4U ATL” with the help of other local artists and patrons.
My favorite thing about the art that Evereman puts out is that it comes with a message of giving. He believes art is for sharing and for making together and he believes that “the vibrancy of a city is reflected in the vibrancy of its street art.” You can find Evereman pieces all over the city of Atlanta and they’re yours for the taking.
In the spirit of loving on the local, several local presses picked up the project and said some really beautiful things about it. You can catch us in Scoutmob and Creative Loafing–thanks to you local lovies for the warm and fuzzies. Nothing better than a city that just loves the mess out of itself, and in the ATL we’ve got a lot to love!
Last night, we brought out the EVEREMAN Signal for a little night time lapse 4U ATL. It was cool to see other street artists and fans coming out of the woodwork to pitch in and help with drops around town. We hit the Records Building downtown, City Hall East, and the High Museum. EVEREMAN got a big kick out of being ON the High Museum (rather than in it), since EVEREMAN is all about making art accesible and not waiting around for permission to get your art out there. These larger-than-life projections of the EVEREMAN signal are the ultimate exercise in no-trace street art that invites us to re-imagine the local landmarks we often take for granted as we hurry, hurry, hurry around town.
Thanks to those of you who came out and showed your support! The community that EVEREMAN builds is real, y’all, and it’s happening in our city! If you want to get in on the action, follow EVEREMAN on Twitter.
Our shoot went on until 2am, and we were hungry for a late breakfast Saturday morning. We dragged ourselves up to Home Grown for some serious breakfast (topped off with their Maple Bacon cake: woooooo!) and ran into an EVEREMAN. It’s always nice to see a familiar face.
At Room Eleven Media, we are really interested in stories that make us feel human, that make us feel connected, and in that spirit, we give you CATLANTA, the first in a series of videos we’re making this year about street artist. Catlanta’s art is about bringing people together. He engages US in his process–you’re not just passively standing around a gallery looking at art, you are a part of that art, whether you’ve thrown an idea out on Facebook or Twitter about the kinds of cats you want to see, or you’re a part of the rat race, sprinting to the finish in your favorite local Atlanta initiative t-shirt and hoodie. His work is “friendly” in that he doesn’t deface anything permanently–instead, he invites Atlantans to GO OUT and PLAY in their city by leading us in this scavenger hunt that ultimately leads us to discover new favorite places in the city.
We’re also BIG fans of people who make their own way, who aren’t afraid to follow their hearts and go for the life they want simply because they want it, not because it’s safe or secure–kind of a “leap and the net will appear” sort of thing, and Catlanta has certainly done that. We actually interviewed his parents for the video, which we ended up deciding to save for a larger piece we’re working on about the free art movement that’s happening in ATL, and his mom said first that she was proud of him because he is “being successful in a way I never dreamed you could be successful.” Those are our favorite kind of success stories, because they’re so true to the human spirit. Catlanta says that Atlanta is “a city where it doesn’t feel impossible to do what you want to do,” and we couldn’t agree more! It’s a pretty amazing thing to be a part of telling stories about folks like Catlanta because we, too, feel that this city has given US the opportunity to do what WE want to do as well–it’s a city full of passionate people who have these incredible, compelling stories.
Speaking of passion, check out these articles about the video from our beloved local presses! You can catch us in Scoutmob and in Creative Loafing this week.
One thing we love about this Farmer is the food we get to eat when we shoot with him. He serves up Southern Tradition with a garden twist and we never leave hungry!
Today, we shot a video series focusing on winter herbs, a Southern brunch go-to menu (you can run the Southern social gamut with this spread–it’s like a shower hosting survival guide!), and a table scape that will take you from winter into spring with tulips, mason jars, and a classic blue and white color scheme.
As with everything we do with James Farmer, you can find recipes from today’s shoot, gardening tips, and more on his blog.
For the past year or so, Atlanta has become smitten with the local street artist Catlanta who posts little wooden cats around town in an effort “to challenge people’s perceptions of street art, encourage participation, and get people out of their houses to explore the city” (from his interview with Scoutmob). So, here’s the drill: he makes a litter of kittens, uses social media to let his fans know what part of town he’ll be dropping, and then posts close-up pictures of the cats with hints as to their location, madness ensues. We’ve been following Catlanta for several months, with a few unsuccessful hunts under our belt, so the opportunity to see what happens “behind-the-scenes” was one we simply couldn’t pass up.
For the video we’re making about him, we thought it would be cool to have him put out an Atlanta-themed litter. We started at his parents’ house, where he cuts and paints the cats, whose characters he took from his followers’ suggestions on Facebook and Twitter. There was Varsity kitty, Blondie (with a crushed beer can situated nicely in the cleavage of her hot pink bra), Marta kitty, Coca-kitty, Big Boi and Andre 3000.
The next day, we filmed the actual scavenger hunt. People were serious about getting their hands on an Atlanta kitty. We had to scrap one drop because people were beginning to catch on. Within two minutes of each tweet, people came RUNNING in a dead sprint for the cat. Upon finding said kitty, leaping and high-fiving and chest-bumping abounded. And we’re talking grown-ass men, y’all.
It was hard to get interviews because people were afraid they’d miss the next drop! While the competition was fierce, the spirit was friendly. The kittens were nabbed within five minutes of the drops, but people came running in for at least a half hour after. No anger, just breathless laughter as they scrambled for their phones to see where the next one was going to land. On our way home, we tried for a few kitties ourselves, but to no avail.
Thanks to Catlanta, his parents, and his fierce following for your help with this project and for making us believe in art, Atlanta, and the human spirit!
This is a love letter.
To the local farmers who proudly serve the restaurants in their communities with fresh-from-the-dirt veggies and fruits that don’t need artificial coloring to look good.
To the chefs who support those farmers by building their menus around what’s local and in season.
To the engineer who opened a brewery.
To the dentist who followed in his father’s footsteps even though he dreamed of writing Western novels like Louis L’Amour.
To the community who saved their record store because they believed in the kind of social space that only a record store can create—one that moves around music, one that embraces all kinds of people, one that is rooted in a memory we all share.
To the corporate lawyer who quit her six-figure job to found an urban garden community.
To all those who couldn’t find “the right one”—the right golf club, the right bar of soap, the right coffee, the right shirt, the right bike, the right initiative—and so they went out and made their own. The right way.
To the dreamers, the risk-takers, the ones who believe so strongly in what they do that they have the courage to do it, no matter what their parents say.
To the nets that appear when people take a chance and leap.
This is a love letter to the stories that connect us, the stories that compel us to eat at a particular restaurant, to purchase a particular item, to invest in a particular interest, to shop at a local store.