The Atlanta-based artist on what influences and inspires him, his most challenging project, and the high points of his career
“Who knows?” says Charles Gandy with a laugh, when asked what inspires his ideas for fantastical knitted socks. With witty names like Dancing with the Stars, DreadSox, and Eyes of March, his creations are meant to inspire wonder, not to warm feet.
In 1962 a chartered plane crashed in Orly, France, killing 106 of Atlanta’s core art patrons. Afterward, it seemed the light went out of the art scene here. But three years later, a group of energetic, civic-minded women lit the spark again, establishing the Forward Arts Foundation to support the visual arts, the group’s mission then and now.
Many cite Atlanta’s Jon Eric Riis as the nation’s leading contemporary tapestry artist, known for weaving richly embellished textiles so masterfully executed that their loveliness nearly obscures their powerful satire.
“Photography is the medium of our time,” Dawkins says. “It reflects how I see the world. When I blink my eyes, it’s almost like a photograph. It’s approachable and understandable.”
Laura Bell is fascinated by the fraught interactions between humans and other species. A cross-country road trip three years ago ignited Bell’s penchant for drawing and painting vulnerable species. Now she creates detailed, black-and-white drawings of animals, with a pop of paint to define their natural habitats.
Formerly a designer with Musso Design Group, Daniel Zimmerman (an Atlanta artist and interior designer) and another former Musso colleague, Seth van den Bergh, recently launched their own design firm, the Drawing Room.
“I want the patrons to witness the power of collaboration that is fostered through elevating and empowering the creative economy in Atlanta,” says TILA Studios founder Tiffany Latrice. “These are Atlanta artists that deserved to be celebrated, recognized and embraced. This exhibition is more than just a display of their work and craftsmanship, it's a celebration, homecoming, and induction of a community of working artists that may be otherwise been overlooked.”
From his days as an art student, when actress Joan Crawford presented him with a National Watercolor Show award, to his time spent working for New York design legend Billy Baldwin, who once entrusted his young protégé with hanging a client’s priceless Francisco Goya, Atlanta decorator Stan Topol has spent his life steeped in art.