Intentional tagging: PATH400 seeks artist to create abstract artwork alongside trail

By David Pendered

It might be a dream job for a tagger interested in a major display piece in a high-traffic area along PATH 400. The job pays $15,000 and comes with a hard deadline of Oct. 19 – in time to be celebrated during the planned Oct. 20 sneak preview of a new segment of PATH 400.

PATH400, marta retaining wall

An artist is being sought to create a mural on this MARTA retaining wall along PATH400. Livable Buckhead is the sponsor and MARTA Artbound is providing $15,000 for the artwork. File/Credit: Livable Buckhead

The future mural also speaks to the expanding role of graffiti in the visual experiences Atlanta offers. Once shunned as a sign of decay and quickly removed in portions of Downtown Atlanta, the artistic works of taggers/muralists have been embraced by business leaders from Little Five Points to Midtown to, now, Buckhead.

The client for this potential dream job is Livable Buckhead, the non-profit entity creating PATH400 from slivers of land in one of the city’s more densely developed communities. The parameters for the art project call for the artist to:

  • “[C]reate an abstract artwork that celebrates Buckhead and represents the theme of the juxtaposition of the city and nature. The artwork should maintain a positive and happy tone, and may not represent any crude, offensive, or political content. “

The financial backer is MARTA’s Artbound program. Artbound is funded with 1 percent of the transit agency’s annual budget, which MARTA’s board of directors established in 2016 and dedicated to art-related programs, activities and restoration projects.

The agency hosting the call for artists and the mural’s production is ABV. Greg Mike founded ABV and it’s located in a gallery/office along Auburn Avenue, where the show through Oct. 5 is titled, Paper Trail: An Exhibition of New Contemporary Works on Paper.

ABV specializes in producing what it calls, “striking visuals, installations, and experiences. From design to fabrication, we create unique and engaging work that stands out amongst the competition.”

The selection of ABV by Livable Buckhead speaks to the type of artwork that’s being sought in the effort to add public art to this portion of PATH400.

The agency’s projects include, according to a project list on the company’s website:

PATH400, chalk art

Livable Buckhead has experimented with murals previously along PATH400, including this image in chalk that was added to a section along the portion of PATH400 located between Old Ivy and Wieuca roads. File/Credit: Livable Buckhead

  • A wall-to-wall mural on the basketball court at Friends School in Atlanta;
  • A 270-foot long mural for Porsche to commemorate the “Choose Thrilling” campaign for the launch of the Macan SUV;
  • The Red Bull Culture Clash Mural of 2017, designed by Fabian Williams and painted over the course of a week;
  • An outdoor mural to advertise Studioplex.

ABV’s urban flavor comports well with Livable Buckhead’s vision for a marquee visible to those who use the path or pass it on a MARTA train. It’s what Denise Starling, executive director of Livable Buckhead, had in mind when she described in July the role of graffiti in augmenting the experience of PATH400:

  • “Some will say that graffiti art is not the Buckhead style,” Starling said. “Maybe it needs to be less graffiti-like and more like a mural. This is a part of Buckhead that’s different because it’s an unknown area, where there is all this infrastructure. It’s a good opportunity for us to do some things that are edgier and wouldn’t fit into the community somewhere else. But it makes sense there.”

In a statement released Friday, Starling said:

path400 existing tags

Taggers have already marked this wall along PATH400, and the presence of graffiti informs Livable Buckhead that this location is a logical spot for someone to paint mural-type pieces in keeping with Livable Buckhead’s guidelines. File/Credit: Livable Buckhead

  • “We’re looking for a design that visually celebrates this community and creates a sense of place as people walk, bike or jog along PATH400. This is a great opportunity for an artist to work in a high-profile location since the mural will be visible to people on the trail as well as people traveling on MARTA.”

Notes to readers:

Artists who want to be considered must submit a concise portfolio of work, a link to the artist’s website or Instagram account, a statement of vision, and proposed timeline to this page on ABV’s website.

Information about Livable Buckhead’s Party on the PATH is available on this page of the non-profit’s website.

David Pendered, Managing Editor, is an Atlanta journalist with more than 30 years experience reporting on the region’s urban affairs, from Atlanta City Hall to the state Capitol. Since 2008, he has written for print and digital publications, and advised on media and governmental affairs. Previously, he spent more than 26 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and won awards for his coverage of schools and urban development. David graduated from North Carolina State University and was a Western Knight Center Fellow. David was born in Pennsylvania, grew up in North Carolina and is married to a fifth-generation Atlantan.

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