By Patrick Denis

I am an artist and I’ve been thinking…

In Spanish! Es primavera y dondequiera que miremos vemos signos de esperanza y alegría (Translation: It’s springtime and everywhere we look we see signs of hope and joy!).  I’m not really sure why I have started thinking in Spanish but it might have something to do with Benito, who is painting my house and insists that as a responsible adult it is my obligation to comprehend and communicate in at least one secondary language and preferably that should be Spanish because he says it’s the most important language on earth.  Naturally, he didn’t say that exactly but I could tell by the look on his face that he was very impressed by my meager attempts to communicate in his beloved language and would continue to pretend he understands nothing unless I try to speak more and better Spanish.

I explained that my primary language is Art, with secondary skills in the dialect of the South and that those two languages are universal so I win. He says, “casas de pintura, arte de la pintura; ¿Cuál es la diferencia” (loosely translated to: “painting houses, painting art; what’s the difference?” ) and resumes humming and rolling.

With spring, it’s not just the flowers in bloom or telltale pollen count that I notice. It’s the emergence of artists who have been busy creating new works of art during the cold months of winter, eager to find a willing buyer or at the very least someone who will appreciate their unique skills.

Recently, I met a striking, tall woman with an easy smile named Elisa Cashin who raises horses and collects driftwood. She insists that there is no contradiction to this because she loves both riding and beachcombing equally. The results of her internal collaboration produced profoundly poetic sculptures of full scale horse busts with the collected wooden pieces assembled in a way to indicate movement and a personal perspective as if the piece has ridden in on a wind or wandered in from the seashore. Being a very new artist with immensely strong instincts I was pleased that she immediately achieved success in her first outing to show her works. I know I’ll see more of her.

Another woman fell into my line of vision recently that may have been incubating her artistic point of view for years and just recently found a place to create. Her name is Azi. She is from Iran and between working with refugees, poets and non-profit groups has managed to pour her substantial energies into a vibrant series of mixed media works that include stunning fantastical pen and ink work with splashes of color that tells a story of longing, hope and joy. I have never seen anything quite like it and believe me, I’ve seen mixed media artists at work for many years. I know that she will continue to evolve, flourish and bloom into a successful artist and achieve the recognition she deserves.

These new artists will soon compete for space and attention among the hundreds of other new and established artists in metro Atlanta.  They’ll look for a home base, a following, a mentor, a gallery, an art festival and hope that they made the right choice when listening to the dictatorial voice in their head demanding, “make this!” whether it’s in Spanish, Persian, Southern or Equestrian. While I wish that our art scene in Atlanta was a bit more cohesive and centralized I know that there is room for these two women and many more because collectively we all breathe art with its heady aroma as sweet as the fragrance of spring.

Upcoming Art Events

April 13-14, 2013
Spring Festival on Ponce

This two-day arts and crafts event returns to historic Olmsted Park to celebrate Spring with over 150 artists, crafters, gourmet foods and children’s activities.  On Saturday, there will be an attempt made for a Guinness World Record coordinated by Broadway Across Atlanta with the Nun Dash.

April 13-14, 2013
Alpharetta Arts Streetfest
This two-day festival celebrates the arts in historic Alpharetta, plus jazz, cultural arts performances, children’s activities and festival cuisine.  Free to attend. 2 South Main Street.

April 26, 2013
Opening reception: “New Works by Robert Kipniss”
Alan Avery Art Company
This exhibit features renowned American artist Robert Kipniss, whose landscapes feature familiar themes of trees, houses, windows, etc. with a singular, subtle expression.  An artist talk will be held on Saturday, April 27 at 2:00 p.m.  Free to attend. 315 East Paces Ferry Road.

Patrick Dennis is an artist, gallery owner and President of the Atlanta Foundation for Public Spaces. Email him at

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.