Ben Roosevelt goes from city to city 

Graphic-style artist's show opens June 19 at Swan Coach House

Artist Ben Roosevelt dissects urban terrain with the precision of a sociologist in his numerous drawings, sculptures and installations. With an MFA from Burren College of Art in Ballyvaughan, Ireland, Roosevelt is known for depicting the mundane objects of the city in a deadpan, graphic style. Roosevelt is winner of the Forward Arts Foundation Emerging Artist Award for 2008, and his solo show Properties opens at the Swan Coach House June 19.

Dead Cities by Mike Davis: In one part [of this book] he describes how quickly nature would take over cities if people weren't around to maintain everything. I always think about trees growing up through decrepit cars and packs of wolves taking shelter in abandoned houses. What would Atlanta be like if everyone had to leave for some reason? But man, I don't wanna live in a destroyed city. I want to live somewhere like Rome, where the city has been built and destroyed many times and the bones are all there.

Berlin: David Bowie's album Heroes was recorded there, and I think it rules. When I walk around I often have the soundscapes of that album in my head. Plus, Berlin has an excellent art scene.

Paul Noble: I saw his work at Whitechapel Gallery in London and was blown away by its detail and ridiculousness. He does these wall-sized drawings of ruins and bizarre cities — the kind where at first you're amazed at how big it is, and then you start noticing all sorts of crazy little animals and people, many of them fantastical and demented. They look like twisted creatures that were too weird to use on "Fraggle Rock."

The South: I'm from East Tennessee originally, and I've lived in Europe twice — I went to high school in Belgium. As time has passed, the ignorant, knee-jerk comments about Atlanta or the South I hear in other places have made me become an unwitting defender of this place. I'm far, far from being some kind of crusader for my home region, but conversations about how sorry someone is about the fact that I'm from the South have pushed me over the edge.

London: I thought the bleak city of London as depicted in the movie Children of Men was amazing. It felt close to something real. It also felt like new shades of gray and blue were created to make it happen.


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