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Kris Pilcher curates 'Well Wishes' for Atlanta

Image

  • Courtesy Kris Pilcher
  • ATLANTA, I LOVE YOU: Residents wrote their hopes for the city on 3.5 x 2 business cards, and scrap paper.


In the fall of 2014, local artist Kris Pilcher turned a city dumpster into a wishing well. As part of Elevate, the public art celebration produced by the Mayor's Office of Cultural Affairs (OCA), Pilcher and other artists were commissioned to transform the city's steel waste containers into installations spread out around Downtown and the Goat Farm.

Pilcher's dumpster ("D_03") was the artist's take on Elevate's theme of "Social City," encouraging more face-to-face interaction between the folks who call Atlanta home. Titled Well Wishes for the Future of an Ever-Growing Metropolis, the exhibition invited visitors to share their hopes and dreams for the city by filling out a card that posed the question: "This is your Atlanta. What is your wish?" Pilcher was able to collect 843 messages in seven days, with residents scribbling their notes on business cards and scrap paper.

A Grady Baby, and South Downtown resident, Pilcher is a self-described "conversationalist," and wanted to use Well Wishes as an opportunity to give locals a chance to join in on the dialogue about what needs to change in Atlanta for the better. "Something the average person feels they don't have is a voice that can be heard above all of the bureaucracy and political rhetoric of city officials and leaders," he says.

That communal voice ranges in subject matter, from LGBTQ rights ("Queers can get married in ATL and all of GA.") to questioning government priorities ("I wish Atlanta would tackle its homelessness issues and focus on its residents instead of tourism.") New Year's resolutions have come and gone, but Pilcher spoke to Creative Loafing about how Well Wishes came together, holding the city accountable, and why every resident has a sense of hope.

? ? ?
Image

  • Courtesy Kris Pilcher



Where did the concept for this come from? What was your inspiration?
This project was inspired by the city itself. I'm a huge conversationalist, and I spend an inordinate amount of time on the streets, meeting people, and trying to get that brief moment of human connection before we split paths at the next block. One thing I have noticed, from the literally thousands of people I've had encounters with, is that everyone has a plan, an idea, or just an observation about how to strengthen and improve our community. ... Sure, you can check a box on a ballot in a voting booth, but there is something magical and powerful about writing down your wishes and dreams and casting them into the unknown. I wanted to give anyone on the street a voice and a chance to visualize their dreams.

What's your hope/dream for the future of the city?
I was born at the illustrious and infamous Grady Hospital, and I currently live and work in south Downtown. I like to joke that it has taken me 33 years to make it four blocks. My hope for the city is that one day we can actually BE the phoenix, finally rise out of the ashes and transform into the mythical entity that we are destined to become. I don't mean gentrification, another tourist attraction, or a new mixed-use development. I want to see the City of Atlanta become as forward thinking and progressive as the vast majority of our citizens. I want to see policies in place that encourage sustainability, economic, gender and racial equality, smart development, and cultural growth. Atlanta could be Atlantis, a shining beacon of hope. That, and free WIFI.

Did you find there was a common theme in the 843 responses?
The common theme throughout all of the wishes is hope. Even the saddest and most desperate of wishes had an underlying glimmer of hope. Hope for public transportation, a new job, the health of a loved one. I expected there to be more wishes for a million dollars, or a new car, but the overwhelming majority were selfless wishes. World peace was the most wished for, followed by a solution to our homeless problems, and public transportation.

Image

  • Courtesy Kris Pilcher



What's there to love/hate about ATL?
There is so much to love about our city. We're in the middle of a forest with an abundant amount of green space, we have amazing arts organizations, grassroots social movements that are really creating change, and a citizenry that is for the most part passionate about our community and what it can become. There are opportunities here for anyone that wants to reach out and take them. Hate? Atlanta is too busy to hate. That's our motto, right?



More By This Writer

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Thursday October 17, 2019 01:43 pm EDT
Explore movie theaters for every film lover with everything from Oscar winners to cult classics on the big screen. | more...
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They didn’t want to start the show without him. It was March 2017, and Goldyard’s A.T. and In-Doe were standing outside of Criminal Records with a few friends on a Friday night, waiting patiently for Grip Plyaz to arrive. He’d just finished another round of cancer treatments, and the grueling schedule made moving around a strenuous task. It didn’t matter. He promised his friends he’d be there to perform their collaboration “Down4it” off of Goldyard’s third studio release, Fuck Culture 3. 

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Three months later, Grip Plyaz passed away from complications of the pleomorphic sarcoma he’d been fighting for two years. Like many artists in the Atlanta hip-hop community, A.T. and In-Doe were heartbroken. “I think that affected everyone if you knew him or not. You just felt the loss,” In-Doe Says. “He was ATL.”

Despite being an underground legend in Atlanta, Grip’s influence and genius were never fully appreciated until he passed. Like their friend and mentor, Goldyard’s contributions to the city’s musical fabric are often overlooked. The strength of their independently released Fuck Culture trilogy (which predated Migos’ Culture) has enabled A.T. and In-Doe to share stages with Mobb Deep, Cam’ron, Scarface, and Waka Flocka.

As Atlanta became the world’s epicenter for trap music, the duo, along with producer Flick James, found their niche as lyrically and sonically progressive rappers. The Fuck Culture series showcased Goldyard’s ability to go from flexing their machismo (“Cosby Kids”), contemplating mortality (“Die Tonight”), and embracing their rap calisthenics alongside some of the city’s best lyricists (“Mxe”).

The group’s latest release, eponymously titled Goldyard, continues their tradition of genre pushing — a tradition which has been both their gift and their curse. “We used to get in meetings with labels and they’d want to strip us from that,” A.T. says. “They’d want us to make one sound, and have us stay in one lane and focus on that sound.”

Asking Goldyard to maintain a sense of sonic tunnel vision was never something the group felt good about. After all, A.T. and In-Doe have never really adhered to the prescribed standards for what makes an artist successful in the city. “A lot of people are content just with being in the scene though there’s only a handful of artists that are really trying to push for something, and the rest are just here for show and Instagram posts,” In-Doe says.

Though the group’s roots are in Atlanta, they’re actually transplants, which is nothing new in this transient city. A.T. hails from Charlotte and In-Doe was born and raised in New York City before relocating to North Carolina where he met his partner-in-rhyme. Before ever opening for hip-hop legends, they were two kids working on music out of a house off Moreland Avenue in East Atlanta. They would walk to their shows in EAV to perform with other left field acts such as Hello Ocho and Cousin Dan. 

A.T. remembers those early aughts of Goldyard trying to establish a sound and build their brand. “I used to pay junkies to cut our grass so we could work on music then one stole the lawn mower,” he says. 

Never deterred, even by thieving drug addicts, Goldyard continued to see their fair share of change on the musical landscape. They call out Department Store being shut down, the Dungeon Family reunion at One Musicfest, A3C’s rise, and the aforementioned loss of their friend Grip Plyaz as moments that changed the city’s terrain forever.

Beyond these shifts in the music and the city itself, A.T. and In-Doe are also growing into adulthood. Both are fathers and family guys now. Partying hard has given way to shopping for car seats and attending parent-teacher conferences. Regardless, the music is never on hold. The group’s working on more new music, as well as solo projects.

For Goldyard, family has given them a clear focus.

“I feel like everything has to have a reason or explanation because I’m responsible for them now,” A.T. says. “I did everything I’ve done up to this point to be able to do what I want in life. So, I look at my two-year-old son and if he starts ridin’ to it I know it’s gon’ go.”

Goldyard plays Estoriafest on at 97 Estoria on June 23, and Union EAV on July 28."
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~~#000000:They didn’t want to start the show without him. It was March 2017, and ~~[http://www.everythingsgold.com/|~~#000000:Goldyard~~]~~#000000:’s A.T. and In-Doe were standing outside of Criminal Records with a few friends on a Friday night, waiting patiently for ~~[https://gripplyaz.bandcamp.com/|~~#000000:Grip Plyaz~~]~~#000000: to arrive. He’d just finished another round of cancer treatments, and the grueling schedule made moving around a strenuous task. It didn’t matter. He promised his friends he’d be there to perform their collaboration “Down4it” off of Goldyard’s third studio release, ~~''[https://soundcloud.com/goldyard/sets/fuck-culture-iii|~~#000000:Fuck Culture 3~~]''~~#000000:. ~~

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~~#000000:Asking Goldyard to maintain a sense of sonic tunnel vision was never something the group felt good about. After all, A.T. and In-Doe have never really adhered to the prescribed standards for what makes an artist successful in the city. “A lot of people are content just with being in the scene though there’s only a handful of artists that are really trying to push for something, and the rest are just here for show and Instagram posts,” In-Doe says.~~

~~#000000:Though the group’s roots are in Atlanta, they’re actually transplants, which is nothing new in this transient city. A.T. hails from Charlotte and In-Doe was born and raised in New York City before relocating to North Carolina where he met his partner-in-rhyme. Before ever opening for hip-hop legends, they were two kids working on music out of a house off Moreland Avenue in East Atlanta. They would walk to their shows in EAV to perform with other left field acts such as Hello Ocho and Cousin Dan. ~~

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~~#000000:Never deterred, even by thieving drug addicts, Goldyard continued to see their fair share of change on the musical landscape. They call out Department Store being shut down, the Dungeon Family reunion at One Musicfest, A3C’s rise, and the aforementioned loss of their friend Grip Plyaz as moments that changed the city’s terrain forever.~~

~~#000000:Beyond these shifts in the music and the city itself, A.T. and In-Doe are also growing into adulthood. Both are fathers and family guys now. Partying hard has given way to shopping for car seats and attending parent-teacher conferences. Regardless, the music is never on hold. The group’s working on more new music, as well as solo projects.~~

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''~~#000000:Goldyard plays ~~[https://www.facebook.com/events/448960522243678/|~~#000000:Estoriafest on at 97 Estoria on June 23~~]~~#000000:, and Union EAV on July 28.~~''"
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They didn’t want to start the show without him. It was March 2017, and Goldyard’s A.T. and In-Doe were standing outside of Criminal Records with a few friends on a Friday night, waiting patiently for Grip Plyaz to arrive. He’d just finished another round of cancer treatments, and the grueling schedule made moving around a strenuous task. It didn’t matter. He promised his friends he’d be there to perform their collaboration “Down4it” off of Goldyard’s third studio release, Fuck Culture 3. 

For a set performed inside a record shop, it was a raucous performance. In-Doe’s standing ponytail flapped up and down as he stomped his Jordan 13’s into the floor. Standing across from him was A.T., arms fully extended, hands flailing about with his fingers pointed down as if to say, “This is our house!” Standing between them was Grip Plyaz, tired, weak, but absolutely destroying his verse. Everyone, including the two MCs, stood watching in awe, not realizing it would be the last time the group would ever perform the song together.

Three months later, Grip Plyaz passed away from complications of the pleomorphic sarcoma he’d been fighting for two years. Like many artists in the Atlanta hip-hop community, A.T. and In-Doe were heartbroken. “I think that affected everyone if you knew him or not. You just felt the loss,” In-Doe Says. “He was ATL.”

Despite being an underground legend in Atlanta, Grip’s influence and genius were never fully appreciated until he passed. Like their friend and mentor, Goldyard’s contributions to the city’s musical fabric are often overlooked. The strength of their independently released Fuck Culture trilogy (which predated Migos’ Culture) has enabled A.T. and In-Doe to share stages with Mobb Deep, Cam’ron, Scarface, and Waka Flocka.

As Atlanta became the world’s epicenter for trap music, the duo, along with producer Flick James, found their niche as lyrically and sonically progressive rappers. The Fuck Culture series showcased Goldyard’s ability to go from flexing their machismo (“Cosby Kids”), contemplating mortality (“Die Tonight”), and embracing their rap calisthenics alongside some of the city’s best lyricists (“Mxe”).

The group’s latest release, eponymously titled Goldyard, continues their tradition of genre pushing — a tradition which has been both their gift and their curse. “We used to get in meetings with labels and they’d want to strip us from that,” A.T. says. “They’d want us to make one sound, and have us stay in one lane and focus on that sound.”

Asking Goldyard to maintain a sense of sonic tunnel vision was never something the group felt good about. After all, A.T. and In-Doe have never really adhered to the prescribed standards for what makes an artist successful in the city. “A lot of people are content just with being in the scene though there’s only a handful of artists that are really trying to push for something, and the rest are just here for show and Instagram posts,” In-Doe says.

Though the group’s roots are in Atlanta, they’re actually transplants, which is nothing new in this transient city. A.T. hails from Charlotte and In-Doe was born and raised in New York City before relocating to North Carolina where he met his partner-in-rhyme. Before ever opening for hip-hop legends, they were two kids working on music out of a house off Moreland Avenue in East Atlanta. They would walk to their shows in EAV to perform with other left field acts such as Hello Ocho and Cousin Dan. 

A.T. remembers those early aughts of Goldyard trying to establish a sound and build their brand. “I used to pay junkies to cut our grass so we could work on music then one stole the lawn mower,” he says. 

Never deterred, even by thieving drug addicts, Goldyard continued to see their fair share of change on the musical landscape. They call out Department Store being shut down, the Dungeon Family reunion at One Musicfest, A3C’s rise, and the aforementioned loss of their friend Grip Plyaz as moments that changed the city’s terrain forever.

Beyond these shifts in the music and the city itself, A.T. and In-Doe are also growing into adulthood. Both are fathers and family guys now. Partying hard has given way to shopping for car seats and attending parent-teacher conferences. Regardless, the music is never on hold. The group’s working on more new music, as well as solo projects.

For Goldyard, family has given them a clear focus.

“I feel like everything has to have a reason or explanation because I’m responsible for them now,” A.T. says. “I did everything I’ve done up to this point to be able to do what I want in life. So, I look at my two-year-old son and if he starts ridin’ to it I know it’s gon’ go.”

Goldyard plays Estoriafest on at 97 Estoria on June 23, and Union EAV on July 28.    J. Raff (@jraffshoots) BIRDWATCHING: Goldyard's A.T. (from left) and In-Doe have never adhered to hip-hop formulas.                                   Goldyard grows up "
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Friday June 15, 2018 11:56 am EDT
MCs A.T. and In-Doe reflect on loss, change, and family | more...
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Thursday November 2, 2017 05:55 pm EDT
The rising Atlanta rapper joins EarthGang on the Never Had Sh!t Tour | more...
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Despite a year filled with taking pot shots from hip-hop's old heads saying he's "ruining hip-hop" (sit down, Joe Budden), and releasing a debut album (Teenage Emotions) met with a lukewarm reception, the King of Teens is still comfortably nestled on this throne. The jokingly self-proclaimed purveyor of "bubblegum trap" is bringing the Teenage Tour to his home turf.

$29.50-$59.50. Fri., Oct. 20. The Fox Theatre, 660 Peachtree Street N.E. 404-881-2100.    Kenneth Capello TEENAGE EMOTIONS: Lil Yachty        20979484         http://dev.creativeloafing.com/image/2017/10/LilYachty_KennethCappello.59e5fdcde7d39.png                  Lil Yachty plays the Fox Theatre Oct. 20 "
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Tuesday October 17, 2017 12:52 pm EDT
The self-proclaimed purveyor of 'bubblegum trap' has become a fixture of Atlanta culture | more...
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Monday March 20, 2017 05:49 pm EDT
Toph Taylor's sophomore album, 'Rennen,' tempers soul-synth sounds with vocal talents | more...
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