Inside Atlanta: BlackCatTips’s Kyle Brooks

Atlanta street artist Kyle Brooks

Jason Travis

For the series Inside Atlanta, we sit down with influential locals to talk about what Atlanta means to them. We’re chatting with Kyle Brooks, known for his art as BlackCatTips. While his name may not ring a bell, you’ve almost certainly seen his artwork – it’s so strongly a part of Atlanta’s fabric. His cheerful, but quirky, paintings adorn the undersides of the BeltLine bridges and the walls of popular Atlanta restaurants and coffee shops. True to street artist form, he’s always exploring different neighborhoods and cities in the Atlanta area and had an exhibit, “Just South of Love” at the Art Institute of Atlanta.

When he’s not out “painting the world happy” he’s at home with his wife, dog, and orchids. Today we get a tour of The Big Peach led by Brooks himself.

I live in… “I lived in the East Atlanta Village for 10 years, but we moved to Arabia Mountain about a month ago. I wanted more space to paint and we’re surrounded by protected green space.”

I wish people knew… “about Atlanta’s recent history. The city builds up and tears things down so quickly – like Downtown where they tear down old buildings. There are all these “hidden” histories we don’t know about.”

You can find me… “in Decatur and East Atlanta because they have a unique feel and are different fingerprints on the hand of the city”

It’s dinner time, I’m headed to…Nam Phuong—I’ve been going the past 10 years. They have all kinds of good Vietnamese food, it’s inexpensive and very good. I also like El Mexicano in southeast Atlanta for fresh and creative takes on Mexican.”

The clock strikes 5 o'clock, I’m drinking… “a Mint Julep from the JCT Kitchen’s upstairs bar. I was there for a private event once and the bartender taught me how to make one.”

If I had to stay in a hotel, I’d check into… “the Highland Inn in Old Fourth Ward is interesting and has character. I also like the Seed Shed at the Goat Farm. It’s a historic shed where they stored cottonseed back in the day. It’s unique and kind of like a yurt.”

Atlanta’s best-kept secret is… “If you want a private lunch you should head to Southern Comfort in Conley, GA. It’s like a trucker movie from the 70’s and stepping into a time warp.”

When I’m playing tourist I go to… “Doll’s Head Trail at Constitution Lakes Park in Dekalb County. Joel Slaton created artwork out of trash he found in the river and assembled sculptures along the trail. I also love the orchid house at the Atlanta Botanical Garden.”

I get my sweat on… “wandering around Arabia Mountain – even though I don’t wander around nearly enough.

I love spending my money at… “Lowe’s on Moreland, where I get lumber and paint to make my art.”