Whatever you do please don’t call it ‘graffiti’, it suggests illegality. The term ‘street art’ is technically correct, but muralist is best; which describes a person creating large scale pieces- usually outdoors.

Atlanta’s vibrant street art melds seamlessly with the city’s green initiative. There seems to be a real solid push to beautify and engage the city with public art displays. Sprawling murals can be found in Cabbagetown, along The Beltline and buildings on Memorial Drive and MARTA underpasses.

The public art scene has steadily gained momentum for the past several years and shows no signs of slowing down.

We want to highlight three cutting-edge artists in particular- these ladies have been featured in a plethora of
prestigious galleries, art shows, and publications throughout the Southeast and beyond. From Art Basel in Miami, Living Walls, and Forward Warrior to CCHP’s Artist-In-Studio Creatives Project at Goat Farm and Red Bull’s Cooler Project, these phenomenal women have left an indelible mark on anyone who’s had the pleasure of experiencing their work.

Sarah Emerson
Sarah excels at colorful and graphically ornate landscapes in nature. Her work pulls you into a rich fantasy world of possibility. Emerson graduated from Atlanta College of Art and got her Masters Degree from Goldsmiths College in London. Emerson participated in Flux Projects and did an eerie languid piece called The Moon is Down. She collaborated with her daughter to make No More Dreaming Like a Girl 2012, and another trippy installation we really love called Black Sea of Trees. Just do yourself a solid and check out her site.

 

Lela Brunet
Lela got started in art education but made the switch when she got invited to participate in the Red Bull Curates Canvas Cooler Contest. She ended up being a major contender and fan favorite- which makes total sense when you see her work. Women and the female form are major themes and inspiration in Lela’s artwork, and to call it mesmerising would be an understatement. The hypnotic lines, geometric shapes, and tiny wing-like patterns present inviting ethereal dreamscapes.

We’re sure you’ve seen her Forward Warrior piece at the corner of Krog and Estoria, Echo Sisters.

Painting outside in the elements is an acquired taste, but once bitten, you’re hooked. Brunet loves that passersby bring her water, fruit, and snacks and ask about the pieces she’s painting. She really enjoys interacting and meeting people in the community. Here, have a look at all her brilliance in one place.

Molly Rose Freeman
Molly Rose Freeman is a modern-day renaissance woman and resident badass. She cut her creative teeth at Art Basel, and from there relocated to Atlanta. Molly isn’t afraid of change- she went from creative writing to phenomenal muralist, seemingly overnight. Freeman’s work feels cellular, as if you’re witnessing the magical inner workings of the body. Her pieces can be found all over the city, from Cabbagetown to EAV. Her work has so much energy and movement throughout.

Honorable mention to Peter Ferarri, a staple within the muralist community who’s often regarded as an advocate, mentor and friend. Ferrari founded Forward Warrior in 2010 and has been tireless in spearheading the campaign to bring legitimacy and legality to muralism while fostering camaraderie between artists.

Admittedly, we’ve been spoiled by all the super talent, because now we’re accustomed to certain things (le sigh). Murals on everything!

 

Rita Leslie is an Atlanta native, copywriter, comedian and compulsive list maker. She loves writing, fashion and comedy, anything in groups of three really. She believes in the power of fancy snacks and puts periods at the end of her "haha's" and "lol's" because her joy is definitive and never overstays its welcome. More inspiration and profundity can be found at @MinxielaRue.