I’m a bottom feeder in Atlanta’s creative scene, but that pushes me to work harder.
written by Zaid Arshad, photography by Brandon Broadus
Every young soul and spirit here has been cradled in her crib of artistic cultivation. I have known no home other than Atlanta’s inner cities and towns – both in her midst and along her outskirts. This ship of a city; she is an arc or an unsinkable Titanic. She carries talented youth and builds a culture-heavy war ground for armfuls of competing creative minds. The young, ambitious artist can sprout here in Atlanta. Unlike other cities, art lives here on a perfect middle ground. It’s a city that combines the raw, rugged, grittiness of New York City with the laidback, easygoing, open-armed coolness of Los Angeles. That near perfect balance is heavenly for the up and coming painter, singer, writer – the youthful artist. Hands and arms open just wide enough for the artist to fit, and hands close just tightly enough to learn you the lessons only experience can teach.
I am blessed to have my start here; a cradle of blissful diversity. The soul can always find a fellow who can feed its need for relatability. Maybe it’s the full history of the city, or the heavy nostalgia in its little towns, downtown or uptown strips of antique life, awe-inspiring architecture, or in her swampy, dark green landscape. Whatever the reason is, know that a soul will not be found alone in this winter quilt of a city. I could write on about the greatness of Atlanta until my tongue dries up, but I cannot leave the coin un-flipped. Every rose has its thorn, and the thorn of this city is its brash lack of “artistic tolerance.” The range of creativity is becoming narrower with time, and repetition is becoming the accepted expectation. The large majority of young people here seem to regurgitate and repurpose old work, while others defame and ridicule originality and experimentation. Groups of artists flock to their own kind and do not intermingle or build from integration; consequently they create “scenes” of interests.
I’m a bottom feeder in Atlanta’s creative scene, but that pushes me to work harder. As a writer, I’ll always be partial to writing; that is my trade. I try to find ways to bring a diverse audience into my craft, to open as many eyes to a new art form. I fall in love with performances that intertwine and weave many interests, like flat art and fashion design, or culinary art with performance poetry. My goal is to let each artist grow and ensure that all artists are independent and let each piece of the puzzle exist unique in its essence, but also remain a component of the grand picture.