Kyle BlackCatTips Brooks
About the Artist/Site
Kyle Brooks, a painter, muralist, poet, and storyteller, often placed his artworks in varied sites around the Atlanta area, including atop telephone poles; some were commissioned and other works were simply somewhat clandestinely installed. In 2016 he purchased a two-acre piece of property in southeast DeKalb County, and decided to ornament his own site. Many are created from found objects, and most are colorful and cheerful, with smiling faces and stylized faces with big eyes. Some are enhanced with his own poems.
But a neighbor complained about his work, and a law enforcement officer came to Brooks’ property, taking the initiative to decide for Brooks which of his assemblages were art and which were not. Most, the officer decided, were not; they were “signs,” and thus most were too big for placement on residential property according to local laws. He served Brooks with a summons to appear in court in May 2017, and Brooks removed at least one of the works to try to be in compliance.
Brooks disagrees with the officer however, and says that his works are, indeed art, even if they’re not located in a place in which people would expect to see art. As of this writing Brooks has not yet had his day in court, and some of the signs are still installed on his property, although many have been removed. He is nervous about the impending court date and indicates that he will remake the signs to make them fit within the county’s size regulations if necessary. “I just want to tell the judge I did not know there were regulations and that I just want to make happy art and share that,” he said. “I do not want to cause problems, so hopefully we can work something out and I can comply.”
Update May 26, 2017: Brooks’ court date was successful: the charges and fines were all dismissed and he is now free to return to creating his art.
~Jo Farb Hernández
Map & Site Information
3531 Klondike Road
Lithonia, Georgia, 30038 us
Latitude/Longitude: 33.6795523 / -84.1154958