For weeks, a hot pink guillotine sat in the middle of the King of Pops operations area, free to be tripped over, bummed into, and quietly cursed at.
As pop carts got traded for fir-filled trucks during our mirth-filled Tree Elves season, I got tired of shuffling the contraption around, and with a healthy dose of friendly guilt, persuaded the spray-painted thing away. Courtesy of Neil Ringer (our trusty pop guru and man of dreamy eyeglasses), this neon homage to the demise of Marie Antoinette – complete with wigged-head – was a relic hand-me-down that ended up at 337B in the midst of growing and the hustle of nearly a hundred people in and out of our tiny frozen treat factory on the daily.
Fast forward six months and the medieval instrument is safe, somewhere behind Neil's house; across town, four dozen friends, family, and strangers bask in a sunny evening in late June, listening to summer jams, observing found art, and reading poetry outside the Beltline window.
Let me explain.
courtesy of morseldraws
I can't say I know the story of Neil's French Revolution machine. I'd tossed it in a truck and rode the few minutes over to Neil's place, a sheepish grin on my face as I apologized for my need to Just. Get. Rid. Of. It. He'd laughed and humored me, and as we found another home for the guillotine, previously unspoken dreams of turning King of Pops into an open invite to ooooh and ahhhhh at a hodgepodge of found art and passion projects began to turn over in my mind.
So when, in a hush-hush mountain retreat, pop-minded visionaries from all over gathered to swap trade secrets and eat too many PB&Js, the Lightning Round descended upon us. A Pop Bazooka was valiantly defended. Pop cart figurines were hotly debated. But in the end, those beneath the Rainbow Umbrella both new and old agreed to pursue a community art showcase. Pop Art was born.
What if we can get all our forgotten keepsakes, boredom outlets, and basement artwork and turn them into something beautiful for everybody to enjoy?
Imagine old pallets and empty crates as makeshift easels. Picture professional photography and hasty doodles suspended side-by-side from trees with a bit of tape, ribbon, and binder clip magic. Think of groovy tunes, poetic stanzas, and inspiring messages wafting from Inman Park down the Beltline.
Got it? Good. You know what Pop Art is all about.
A la Warhol and the 1960s Pop Art movement, King of Pops is into the idea that “everybody should like everybody.” We have such a community of talent around us. Our love of creativity isn't radical. A company named King of Pops holding an event called Pop Art isn't exactly a surprise. But those Unexpected Moments of Happiness in a colorful sketch or bombastically voiced poem are different, unusual, and oh so necessary in the hustle and bustle of today.
Maybe you've seen the kaleidoscope jumble of street art tagged along the wall of our new home on Decatur Street. Or you've basked beneath the shade of our rainbow pop arch in Inman Park. Many of you even admired the paintings that lined the conference room of Trees Atlanta or smiled at hundreds of kids' Christmas cards at the High Museum of art during our partnership with Ben the Rooster. That's it – local, healthy, and handmade, just like our pops. Pop Art – one of our non-frozen attempts to add happiness to your everyday life.
That hot pink guillotine? Perhaps an early echo of our Lost n' Found event, this odd installation piece crowded my workspace and headspace as a nagging image of how art can disrupt, signal revolutions, and even make us lose our heads a bit. And while we don't want to stain your hands hot pink or make you stub your toe, we do hope you can take part of this little experiment. See you at the next Pop Art.