One thing local “Love & Hip Hop Atlanta” fans love to do is note the eateries and entertainment venues featured on the show. Many of the program’s hottest spots like Harold’s Chicken & Ice Bar (featured on L&HH’s fifth episode) are places for our favorite reality stars to talk shop (or throw drinks). But it’s possible that you’ve overlooked some of the other stars hanging out in these popular hubs – namely the local original art adorning the walls. If you watched episode 5 of VH1’s hit show, you probably spotted the work of Corey Whitehead, one of Atlanta’s most prolific visual artists. And in fact, Harold’s is literally filled with the artist’s work. Here’s what he had to say about what he’s been up to recently…
You’ve been painting live at Apache Café for quite a while. How long have you been painting at Harold’s?
My work has been hanging there since they opened a year ago. But I started painting live there in April of this year.
When you’re painting, does it feel like you’re in a “fishbowl”?
No. It doesn’t. But I do realize that what I do is entertaining. I’m a middle child. I’ve got to be seen.
I’ve seen your “Booty or Bust” raffles at Apache Café. That’s a kitschy way to market to women. How did you come up with the “Booty or Bust” raffle idea?
(In short, ladies purchase a certain number of raffle tickets for art pieces based on their bust or derriere size.)
I got that idea from a friend who was doing it to promote sales for her own business. It’s a good way to get people interested in my art. It’s also great advertisement.
Your work is also for sale at Rite at Home consignment furniture boutique. How has that experience been?
Rite-at-Home has been a blessing. The store just celebrated its first year anniversary and my work has been there as long as the place has been in existence. That it’s located on Cascade and I-285 has helped because I have more room to show my art. Plus, it’s helped to determine price points since it’s a different type of work.
How is the work itself different?
Sometimes the owners ask for art in a particular shade of color. In general, [the pieces they request] are more abstract with more blended colors and hues. It’s really challenged me in that I have to use my business mind as well as my artist mind…coming up with subject matter that fits certain requests.
What are some of your other marketing tools?
I use social media. Everybody’s on one social site or another. I’ve made lots of sales using Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. We’re such a visual society.
How do you keep things fresh as an artist, so that you don’t get bored?
Not forgetting any of my ideas. When something comes to mind, I roll with it. The universe is giving it to me; I’m giving it back in painting form. If you’re truly creative, you’re always going to have something going in your head. I try to be tasteful without being trivial. I’m not going to do what everyone else is doing just to make a dollar. I’m going to paint what I think is beautiful.
(Corey Whitehead’s art has been featured on Tyler Perry’s “Meet the Browns”, “House of Payne”, VH1’s “Single Ladies” and BET’s “The Game.” His work can be purchased at Initiators Gift Shop in Cumberland Mall and also Bazaar Shopping Mall in Little Five Points.)