BLACKTOP (Ken Gentle)
"Many years ago, I saw several paintings by Mose Tolliver and Jimmy Lee Sudduth, and recognized that art is not as complex or as simple as it's made out to be, but rather it comes from your heart and soul, not from your mind.
My paintings and drawings are about a way of life, about the struggle of life and the events that have changed our lives. I focus on contemporary social and political issues, including the complexities of relationships. Rural southern scenes of people at work, old houses, churches, baptisms and the struggles of everyday life are my favorite subjects. I have a passion for telling the stories of growing up in the south where the simple pleasures of life are important and cherished."
Alabama native "BLACKTOP" is a self-taught artist who began his art as a way to share the visions and dreams he has experienced growing up in the South. He has been painting for most of his life using water colors, enamels and acrylics, and most of his paintings start with a base of "black tar" on wood or cardboard (hence the name "Blacktop"). His style of using a mixture of found objects in his paintings further complements the stories he tells of an abstract rural South.
At "Atlanta's Slotin Folk Fest" and other folk art shows across the country his paintings have sparked considerable interest. Blacktop's work has been referenced in "Raw Vision", "Dining Out", "NY Arts Magazine", "Piedmont Review", and featured in various newspapers. His work was the subject of a public radio interview in the spring of 2007. Additionally, his paintings can be found in numerous galleries, businesses and many private collections around the country. His works are highly sought after by collectors in the U.S. and Internationally.