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Natural Awakenings Atlanta

September 2012 Publisher's Letter

“Simplicity is the final achievement. After one has played a vast quantity of notes and more notes, it is simplicity that emerges as the crowning reward of art.” ~ Frederic Chopin
As it is when one thing leads to another, it all started when I received an email titled, “What you can learn from the artist Wyland about how to create your business masterpiece...” It was timely and intriguing, because our special edition features creative expression, see “Peace Mail” and “Exploring Our Creative Side.”

So, I opened the email, wondering two things: (1) What unique perspective would the author, Dave Dee, of GKIC (Glazer-Kennedy Insider’s Circle), present about art and the business world. (2) Who was this artist named Wyland?

Wyland, I learned, is a multifaceted artist, scuba diver, explorer and environmental conservationist who created the “Whaling Walls,” a series of 100 large outdoor murals featuring images of life-size whales and other sea life, of which number 50, Atlanta’s Right Whales, graced Atlanta until 2010, when it was renovated right out of existence. His goal was to bring awareness to marine life conservation through art, which he accomplished on a grand scale, with an estimated one billion people viewing his murals every year.

Amazing. Dee points out that Wyland’s success came not from his ability to create huge and complex public paintings, but by his complete mastery of the basic core elements and simple tools of his trade (like simple shapes, primary colors) and his ability to repeat those skills successfully in unique and complex combinations to create something transcendent of the medium. His example serves as a nice reminder to keep it simple, to break down complex things into the simpler, more achievable parts, and then master and repeat them. (View mural at Tinyurl.com/WylandAtlantaWhales.)

I was bothered by the city’s loss of this magnificent mural, and it left me wondering about creative expression and public art in Atlanta, which in turn, led me to the discovery of the Art on the Atlanta BeltLine project (Art.Beltline.org), Atlanta’s largest public art exhibition, which started in 2010 as Atlanta’s Whaling Wall came down. This public art initiative showcases dynamic visual art installations and performances by local artists on the Atlanta BeltLine corridor, an emerging system of parks, trails, transit and development that reclaims a 22-mile loop of historic and mostly unused rail around the city’s core.

The exhibition begins September 8 and runs through November 11, and speaks to the vibrancy of creative expression in Atlanta, as does our Community Spotlight, “Local Musicians March to a Different Drummer." As they say, “One thing leads to another,” but you have to be willing to follow the trail.

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