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Posted: September 22, 2012 8:17 p.m.

Local artist featured in Atlanta gallery

Photos by Gabriel Khouli/

Covington artist Kelly Breedlove

His walls were covered with art - a few of his paintings mixed with the works of others - and several pieces were lined up in the foyer, an appropriate look for an aspiring artist and single man.

Covington resident Kelly Breedlove lives in a picturesque house in a quiet neighborhood in the heart of the city, a perfect place to experiment with his new-found passion for art.

Born and raised in Covington, Breedlove had the artistic itch from a young age, but it wasn't until three years ago that he finally embraced the artist's life, choosing a discipline a little off the beaten path.

Beeswax beauties
People meandered past a glossy painting of two women, stopping for a closer look at last weekend's art exhibit at the Bill Lowe Gallery, located in the heart of Atlanta. But that wasn't paint on the wooden background, rather it was beeswax.

Breedlove is an encaustic artist. Encaustic art is the process of heating wax, coloring it with various pigments and applying to a surface. Some pieces only contain wax, while others incorporate other objects. One of Breedlove's favorite form of encaustic art is encasing in wax an enlarged printout of an old photo.

He started out with more abstract subject matter, getting a feel for working with wax, but after finding old family photographs in his mother's attic his journey truly began.

"It was always in the back of my mind to someday do something creative. I was always drawn to the encaustic stuff," he said.

Having his art displayed in the prestigious Bill Lowe Gallery, his first such display, was a major step forward.
His inspirations include the paintings of Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock and, the man that inspired him most, Michael David.

"If you want to be good, you have to learn from someone good, and that's when I found Michael David," he said.
According to the Bill Lowe Galley website, Michael David has been exhibiting his work with their gallery since 1999 and has exhibited widely throughout the U.S. for the past 30 years.

"I took a few weekend classes with Michael, who started a Fine Arts Workshop (in Marietta). I really liked the environment, but was unsure if I could fit in with the group," Breedlove said. "This past New Year's, I made the decision and set goals for myself. If I was going to do something in art, I'm gonna do it whole heartedly."

His garage contains a jumble of paint brushes, pieces of wood and the beeswax that's used to create his encaustic paintings. He said he spends hours here, sometimes doing three paintings at a time.

"People don't understand; they think I'm in my garage painting as just a hobby, but I am trying to push it to a career level," he said.

A graduate of Newton County High School and Georgia Tech University, Breedlove originally majored in architecture, before switching to a management program. He still does commercial real estate, though the downturn has sapped most of that business, and he also does commercial design.

When deciding to dive into art, he gave himself one year to achieve his goal of getting his art featured in a gallery. His determination paid off.

When asked about how he felt about his art being featured in the Bill Lowe Gallery, his face lit up with enthusiasm.
"It was a big night for me. I had met my goal. And every artist wants to see their art on a real wall, instead of the wall in my breakfast area," he said.

His two paintings featured in the gallery are, "Am I too young to retire," of his aunt and sister, and the unforgettable, "Fairy tales are full of s***."

He has a desire to use his art to connect the dots of his family history and the memories he might not have been present for. One of his favorite themes is the beach scene, a reminder of beloved family trips.

Breedlove also feels it's imperative to be able to connect with people outside of his family, creating a correlation that, whether a person is a part of his family tree or not, allows people to still understand his story and connect it to their own.

His art shines through the stories of ordinary people, family members and friends.

"The more personal the work is for you, the more personal it is for everyone else," he said.

His goal is to have more pieces of his art featured in galleries, and he's convinced he'll reach it.

"Everybody has dreams. For some people your dreams come exactly true; for some, they don't come true. Your life can be as wonderful as you make it, or not as wonderful as you make it," he said.

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