Lo­cal man’s art fea­tured in ma­jor gallery

The Covington News - - Front page - ANAS­TA­SIA GRAVES news@cov­news.com

“Ev­ery artist wants to see their art on a real wall, in­stead of the wall in my break­fast area ''

His walls were cov­ered with art – a few of his paint­ings mixed with the works of oth­ers – and sev­eral pieces were lined up in the foyer, an ap­pro­pri­ate look for an as­pir­ing artist and sin­gle man. Cov­ing­ton res­i­dent Kelly Breedlove lives in a pic­turesque house in a quiet neigh­bor­hood in the heart of the city, a per­fect place to ex­per­i­ment with his new-found pas­sion for art.

Born and raised in Cov­ing­ton, Breedlove had the artis­tic itch from a young age, but it wasn’t un­til three years ago that he fi­nally em­braced the artist’s life, choos­ing a dis­ci­pline a lit­tle off the beaten path.

Beeswax beau­ties

Peo­ple me­an­dered past a glossy paint­ing of two women, stop­ping for a closer look at last week­end’s art ex­hibit at the Bill Lowe Gallery, lo­cated in

the heart of At­lanta. But that wasn’t paint on the wooden back­ground, rather it was beeswax.

Breedlove is an en­caus­tic artist. En­caus­tic art is the process of heat­ing wax, col­or­ing it with var­i­ous pig­ments and ap­ply­ing to a sur­face. Some pieces only con­tain wax, while oth­ers in­cor­po­rate other ob­jects. One of Breedlove’s fa­vorite form of en­caus­tic art is en­cas­ing in wax an en­larged print­out of an old photo.

He started out with more ab­stract sub­ject mat­ter, get­ting a feel for work­ing with wax, but af­ter find­ing old fam­ily pho­to­graphs in his mother’s at­tic his jour­ney truly be­gan.

“It was al­ways in the back of my mind to some­day do some­thing cre­ative. I was al­ways drawn to the en­caus­tic stuff,” he said.

Hav­ing his art dis­played in the pres­ti­gious Bill Lowe Gallery, his first such dis­play, was a ma­jor step for­ward.

His in­spi­ra­tions in­clude the paint­ings of Mark Rothko, Jack­son Pol­lock and, the man that in­spired him most, Michael David.

“If you want to be good, you have to learn from some­one good, and that’s when I found Michael David,” he said.

Ac­cord­ing to the Bill Lowe Gal­ley web­site, Michael David has been ex­hibit­ing his work with their gallery since 1999 and has ex­hib­ited widely throughout the U.S. for the past 30 years.

“I took a few week­end classes with Michael, who started a Fine Arts Work­shop (in Ma­ri­etta). I re­ally liked the en­vi­ron­ment, but was un­sure if I could fit in with the group,” Breedlove said. “This past New Year’s, I made the de­ci­sion and set goals for my­self. If I was go­ing to do some­thing in art, I’m gonna do it whole heart­edly.”

His garage con­tains a jumble of paint brushes, pieces of wood and the beeswax that’s used to cre­ate his en­caus­tic paint­ings. He said he spends hours here, some­times do­ing three paint­ings at a time.

“Peo­ple don’t un­der­stand; they think I’m in my garage paint­ing as just a hobby, but I am try­ing to push it to a ca­reer level,” he said.

A grad­u­ate of New­ton County High School and Ge­or­gia Tech Univer­sity, Breedlove orig­i­nally ma­jored in ar­chi­tec­ture, be­fore switch­ing to a man­age­ment pro­gram. He still does com­mer­cial real es­tate, though the down­turn has sapped most of that busi­ness, and he also does com­mer­cial de­sign.

When de­cid­ing to dive into art, he gave him­self one year to achieve his goal of get­ting his art fea­tured in a gallery. His de­ter­mi­na­tion paid off.

When asked about how he felt about his art be­ing fea­tured in the Bill Lowe Gallery, his face lit up with en­thu­si­asm.

“It was a big night for me. I had met my goal. And ev­ery artist wants to see their art on a real wall, in­stead of the wall in my break­fast area,” he said.

His two paint­ings fea­tured in the gallery are, “Am I too young to re­tire,” of his aunt and sis­ter, and the un­for­get­table, “Fairy tales are full of s***.”

He has a de­sire to use his art to con­nect the dots of his fam­ily his­tory and the mem­o­ries he might not have been present for. One of his fa­vorite themes is the beach scene, a re­minder of beloved fam­ily trips.

Breedlove also feels it’s im­per­a­tive to be able to con­nect with peo­ple out­side of his fam­ily, cre­at­ing a cor­re­la­tion that, whether a per­son is a part of his fam­ily tree or not, al­lows peo­ple to still un­der­stand his story and con­nect it to their own.

His art shines through the sto­ries of or­di­nary peo­ple, fam­ily mem­bers and friends.

“The more per­sonal the work is for you, the more per­sonal it is for ev­ery­one else,” he said.

His goal is to have more pieces of his art fea­tured in gal­leries, and he’s con­vinced he’ll reach it.

“Ev­ery­body has dreams. For some peo­ple your dreams come ex­actly true; for some, they don’t come true. Your life can be as won­der­ful as you make it, or not as won­der­ful as you make it,” he said.

Gabriel Khouli /The Cov­ing­ton News

Cov­ing­ton artist Kelly Breedlove shows off one of his en­caus­tic art pieces. En­caus­tic art uses heated wax, mixed with var­i­ous pig­ments, which is ap­plied to sur­faces like wood. He’s fairly new to the field but al­ready see­ing suc­cess.

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