Atlanta has a history of destroying history.
Historic buildings are often swept away for new offices, apartments or - worst of all, parking garages. As much as we know this flaw in ourselves, we keep doing it anyway.
But something interesting is happening as the Atlanta BeltLine continues to snake its way around the inner city. Developers are eager to connect with surrounding neighborhoods, and want to adopt some of their personality. So it's not uncommon for builders to ask local artists to put up murals on construction fences and buildings.
The latest demonstration of this is a new mural that was reinstated at Junction Krog District, a mid-sized office building just completed on the BeltLine at Irwin Street.
Atlanta BeltLine Street Art
Before the bulldozers and workers moved in, this plot of land was bordered by a crumbling wall that became a ripe canvas for street art. Local artist Brandon Sadler, who goes by Rising Red Lotus, had painted his vibrant koi fish on the side of the wall facing Irwin Street.
The wall came down when the construction fences went up, and is now replaced with a sparkling metal and glass building.
But a couple of weeks ago, strolling the BeltLine, I spotted Brandon's iconic fish taking shape on a new low wall in the same spot as the previous one. And a few feet away was the artist himself, spray can in hand pointed at the wall.
I stopped to say hi and let him know I was so happy to see him recreating his beautiful mural.
Brandon Sadler art featured in 'Black Panther'
Even if you don't think you know who Brandon is, you probably do. His beautiful murals brighten up our city. If you have walked or biked the BeltLine down to Piedmont Park within the past few years, you may have paused to admire another of his koi paintings under the last bridge before you hit Monroe Drive. (It has since been replaced). And you can find his epic mural portraying the four seasons under a bridge on North Avenue, between Ponce City Market and Kroger. Read more in my previous blog post.
His work has also been collected by the High Museum. More famously, though, you probably saw his art in Shuri's lab in the movie "Black Panther," which helped the film's set designer win an Oscar.
I haven't decided what I think about modern buildings replacing older ones on the BeltLine, but I have to applaud the Junction Krog Street developer for asking Brandon to recreate his gorgeous fish. With the new building, we still have a bit of the old.
Want to experience the Atlanta BeltLine's street art and food scenes? Join a Food Tour on the Atlanta BeltLine. You will get a sampling of the diverse cuisines that make Atlanta a foodie town – from Southern fried green tomatoes to Detroit-style pizza to fruit-infused margaritas and more. Along the way, uncover secrets behind the vibrant street art, including ties to Hollywood. Come see for yourself how the BeltLine is completely transforming Atlanta, and find hidden gems you might not discover by walking the BeltLine on your own.
An Atlanta native, Nicole Gustin is the Founder and CEO of BiteLines Atlanta Food Tours, which offers walking food tours on the Atlanta BeltLine. She considers the BeltLine her backyard, and is excited to see how Atlanta is reinventing itself. To sample some of Atlanta's best restaurants and street art, join us on our unforgettable Food Tour on the Atlanta BeltLine. Or bring your fur baby on Barks & Bites: Doggie Crawl on the BeltLine. Follow on TikTok, Facebook and Instagram @bitelinesatl.