Atlanta was the city that I wanted to live in when I grew up. I used to look out my bay window as a child in Marietta, and watch the lights from the hill grow as the years grew by… and that glow was from the city of Atlanta expanding towards us. Decades later, now living in the largest glowing city of America, I found myself flying back to the quiet darkness my eyes so desperately craved.
It had been a decade since I had seen Marietta or Atlanta. So much had changed when I arrived. The transit trains that I had rode as a senior in high school now became foreign to me. I walked out of the North Avenue MARTA station and I became so disoriented.. .. because nothing registered as being familiar. It was like I was visiting the city for the very first time.
But nostalgia, that sleepy beast of an emotion, woke up from its hibernation, and things began to connect themselves like little puzzle pieces, slowly dancing with each other to connect and become one. The Varsity, Piedmont Park, Ansley, 10th and 14th ave, Little 5 Points, Cabbage Town, East Village… Mary’s…. All these things began to come together to spell out the words in my head “Atlanta. I miss You”
Diamonds are a consistent symbol you will see revolving in my work, and if we’ve ever met you will see them in my tattoos. Diamonds represent (to myself) the idea of fortitude. While in Atlanta, my best friend and I, got these tattooed on our forearms to remember each other by.. and to remember what these symbols mean. In rough times, I turn to my forearm like a watch to remember to keep my head up. .. and keep on moving.. Because living in a city where everything moves so fast, and everything you have can turn upside down in a second… and right side up a second later.. you have to … have these reminders to “keep on keepin’ on” .
Inside the Mickey face reads:
“November 9th, 2012
Somewhere above the Ozarks.
I left my home at 4:30 AM. I watched Los Angeles wake up groggily on the highway as the dawn grew light. This is when I love LA the most. Pre Gridlock. I’m now on a plane 3,000 miles above the Ozarks. I am returning back to my home for a quick visit. It’s been twelve years since I’ve been to Atlanta, Georgia.
My heart is pounding in my chest like a hummingbird in a cage. I’ve set up this makeshift art studio while on the flight. It seems everywhere but my art studio is my work space. The fold down tray is my desk. The soda can they gave me as a brush holder. I’ve been traveling a lot. Chicago, New York, Seattle, San Francisco, and now Atlanta. This is my dream right now, to travel the states with canvas, paint, and pen and just paint wherever I am.
When you are an artist, a writer, a musician… You are a snail. Home is everywhere. It’s on your back. That is how I want to live. To continue on wherever “home” is. “
This is the 6th of the Loveless Letters Series, and 63rd in the TENxTENxTEN collection