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Beltline's not finished, but Inman Park "welcome wall" is

Chris Veal, artist, decorates a tucked-away Inman Park wall with welcoming butterflies.

 

Painting a colorful, butterfly-festooned “Welcome to Inman Park” mural at the tucked-away intersection of Elizabeth and Bernina, where neighborhood visitors are least likely to see it, only seems odd until you consider: the Beltline.

Workers continue to pave. Truckloads of dirt get noisily moved around. Beltline faithfuls insist the path will stretch to Piedmont Park by the end of next month.

Maybe. Meanwhile, the portion of the much-ballyhooed project that would spill amblers, bicyclists and stroller pushers into sightline of the new artwork is already done. Brunchers from elsewhere, lost trying to find Park's Edge restaurant, will see it, too. 

I spotted the mural in progress last week, and asked the busy artist to talk with me. He told me the building’s owner, Bo Bradshaw, hired him. “He’s always around,” the artist said. “Drives a yellow truck.”

The artist said he was going to grab food; we could set something up for later in the afternoon. I gave him my number and went for a walk. About half an hour later, I saw from the Freedom Parkway bridge that he was still working on the mural. A yellow truck drove by.

If you are using the yellow-truck method to locate Bo Bradshaw, and if it was him I saw, then you want to be on the lookout for a pickup truck the color of yellow in the yolk of a chicken that’s not Whole Foods free-range, and possibly anemic. I mean very light yellow.

So then it was just a matter of waiting for the artist to cancel, which happened a couple of hours later. He texted that we would have to talk “another day.” Artists are often shy. But he gave me his email address, and below are the responses he sent to questions.

Q: Who are you (name, age)? Atlanta native, or where did you come from?

A: My name is Chris Veal and I was born in Milledgeville, Ga. It's about two hours south east from Atlanta

Q: How long have you been doing art? What kind do you prefer?

A: I've been doing art for as long as I can remember. I do graphic design, paintings, murals, pretty much whatever someone needs, but I prefer murals.

Q: You said you had help with the mural. From whom?

A: My girlfriend, Choua Thao, came out and helped me fill in some of the cracks in the brick.

Q: How long did the mural take?

A: The wall took about six days of painting. I spent about six or seven hours a day.

Q: How did the building's owner find out about you? Are you working on anything else?

A: I'm friends with the guys at Melrose & McQueen [hair stylists nearby] and they got in touch with me. After talking to them, it got turned over to Bo Bradshaw [yellow truck!], his wife and Inman Park.

Q: I guess the mural is intended to be seen by users of the Beltline. Are you, or the building's owner, worried about tagging / defacing of it?

A: Not too worried about it, as I live two blocks away from the wall. If anyone wants to tag it. they will just be wasting paint, as I will have it fixed that day. Graffiti is a apart of life in the city, there is no way to stop it.  Best thing you can do is stay on top of your walls. The wall is dedicated to my Mother Stella Veal and the people of Inman Park. My mom has been going through a lot for the past few years. Wanted to do something nice for her to see, and others to look at. The people in the area were nice while I was painting it, so I hid a few little things in the wall for them. Thanks to Kristo, Ryan “Oh snap kid,” King of Pops, and everyone who stopped and took interest. I hope everyone enjoys the wall.

Q: Can people contact you for other jobs, and how would they do this?

A: I'm always looking for other jobs. Best way to get in touch with me is by email at blind18d AT gmail DOT com or phone (404) 642-5196.

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