Ever since Allen Cooley picked up his father’s camera in 2003, he’s had his lens on flowers. His father used the camera to document family vacations, but Cooley used it to practice the craft, and flowers were one of his first subjects.
Reddish brown sawdust blankets every surface in sculptor Tom Williams’s home studio in Chamblee. Drawers brim with dozens of carving tools—collected during his 50-year career as a working artist.
For Adelaide Tai, her work always begins with a color palette. Color helps her get to the root of her emotions. When she pours the paint, she has no idea where it will go as it scurries across the canvas filled with whatever she’s releasing at the moment.
An autographed poster by painter Varnette Honeywood from the 1990 National Black Arts Festival hangs in muralist Ashley Dopson’s living room. Family visits to the festival inspired her own interest in art. “That era was a time when people were very aware of the legacy of Black art,” Dopson, 37, says. “For a little girl like me, I felt like I could do this and make a living at it.”
An avid student of contemporary art, Tracy Murrell made it her career after first working in nonprofits and music marketing. But looking back on her childhood in Biloxi, she realizes the draw was perhaps inevitable.
Brandon Sadler's work caught the eye of Hannah Beachler, who hired him to paint the walls in Shuri’s (T’Challa’s sister) laboratory for Black Panther—one of the sets that helped Beachler become the first African American to be nominated for, and then the first to win, an Oscar for production design.
Every morning, Anita Darling walks barefoot to her backyard greenhouse in Suwanee. She stands still, feeling the dew under her feet, sips her coffee, and prays—in order to align herself with God and nature before starting to draw.
Singer/songwriter Jared Foster landed in Atlanta in 2014 while collaborating with Christian hip-hop artist Lecrae on his Grammy-nominated song, “All I Need Is You.” Carpentry was just a side gig he picked up to support himself while he launched his solo act—something he’d tinkered with as a child with his stepfather.
Lillian Blades’s colorful creations have a way of making you feel like you’re under the sea, rolling in the grass, and viewing a desert sunset all at once.
Painter Niki Zarrabi is not the first artist to draw inspiration from the femininity, fertility, and mortality of flowers, but her surrealist series on the subject, Femme Petale, feels fresh and modern.