Bookzilla Loves ATL is a monthly blog series documenting Bookzilla’s adventures around the city of Atlanta. DBF’s curious Book Monster will visit various Atlanta-based organizations who are taking a unique approach to their industries and services, all while showing love for their hometown of Atlanta.
You may have noticed a tiny door outside the King of Pops walk-up window, or maybe walked passed one somewhere on the BeltLine. These magical little wonders all around Atlanta are the creation of Karen Anderson, Principal Artist and Director of Tiny Doors ATL! With the help of her tiny team, Karen has brought a fresh face to the Atlanta street art scene with hopes of getting her community outside and interacting with art in a fun, new way.
Bookzilla was very curious to explore this tiny world, so he met up with Karen to talk about her organization and check out a few of these beautiful installations.
Located outside of the King of Pops walk-up window in Inman Park, Bookzilla reads with Rosie the Riveter surrounded by beautiful butterflies and the warm summer air.
Tell us about yourself and what you do for Tiny Doors ATL?
My name is Karen Anderson, and I am the Principal Artist and Director of Tiny Doors ATL. I’ve always been fascinated by small art and sculpture. I create customized miniature sculpture for corporate and home environments, and speak publicly about community engagement through art. My work for Tiny Doors ATL includes everything from answering emails and meeting with applicants for new doors, to creating doors, hosting ribbon-cuttings, and repairing existing doors. There are amazing volunteers on the Tiny Doors ATL team who help with web-design, grant writing, grounds keeping and more. I couldn’t keep the tiny ship sailing without them!
Karen helps Bookzilla explore the mobile, tiny studio at Paris On Ponce.
How would you describe the Tiny Doors ATL organizational mission?
Tiny Doors ATL is an Atlanta-based art project bringing big wonder to tiny spaces. Our constantly evolving installation pieces are an interactive part of their community. We inspire curiosity and exploration by highlighting neighborhoods and landmarks that make Atlanta unique. We are dedicated to free and accessible art. Our doors are always free to visit and accessible to people of all ages.
The King of Pops door is one of the newest installations for the Tiny Doors ATL project. It has its very own tiny chalkboard and sidewalk. The door also features a tiny mural painted by artist Chris Veal, the original painter of the larger mural above!
What does Tiny Doors ATL bring to Atlanta as a community?
Our goal with Tiny Doors ATL was to join in the ongoing conversation of art in Atlanta. As we looked at the existing conversation between artists here, we noticed most art was happening on a large mural scale. Tiny Doors ATL plays with scale by offering a contrast to those large murals. You could walk past one of our 6-inch doors and not notice it is there. Part of the conversation of our project is the surprise of seeing something unexpected. The door invites people to imagine what is behind or beyond the surface of a wall and more subtly to consider what is happening within and between communities.
The second door ever created rests along the BeltLine right across of the Old Forth Ward Skatepark. Bookzilla enjoys taking a break from his book to observe the runners and bikers along the trail.
What do you love most about your work for Tiny Doors ATL?
If art is something that makes a house a home, then I’ve loved the opportunity to join with other artists in adding art to the walls of our city. In particular, I’ve loved the opportunity to collaborate with other artists. For example, a few different artists have collaborated with us on the art around Door #1 in the Krog Tunnel. A recent collaboration with Atlanta-based artist Squishiepuss, for example, reimagined our front door as an ice cream cone. While the ice cream scoop features a delicious, pink melting dogface and the door is decidedly a waffle cone, the art installation is still easily understood as a small door. I love the play between fanciful and pragmatic.
Paris on Ponce is filled with wonder, as is the Tiny Door just outside of the back entrance on the BeltLine! At its opening in 2015, Rosie the Riveter hosted the ribbon cutting ceremony where many Atlantans joined in celebration.
How can Atlantans get involved with Tiny Doors ATL?
There are so many ways to be involved! One of the easiest is to go out and find a door. We have a map to the doors here. If you post a photo and use the tag #tinydoorsatl, you’re instantly connected to thousands of other people who have interacted with the project. We love to see new and creative ways people find to pose and play with the doors. We host ribbon cuttings at new doors a few times a year, and an annual birthday party on July 28th (we just turned two!). This year we’ve been awarded a grant from Art on the Atlanta Beltline to host tiny lantern-making workshops in August. Links to those classes are on our Facebook page.
We’re always accepting donations, which are tax-deductible and go toward the maintenance of existing doors and subsidizing costs of new doors. Five dollars replaces a tiny doorknob, and $50 pays for a replacement cast of a damaged door! Donations help us keep this project free and accessible for everyone to enjoy.
Karen recently did a TEDx talk discussing all her work with Tiny Doors ATL. Watch that video here!
What has been your most exciting Tiny Doors ATL project in 2016 thus far?
Ribbon cutting ceremonies at the new doors are always exciting! A new tiny door takes months to create. From a neighborhood’s application, to meetings, to funding… It’s a long road from the first idea to a brand new door. This makes the moment when a door is revealed to the neighborhood so exciting! I love to see people interact with a brand new door for the first time.
Rosie is a mascot of the Tiny Door ATL movement. She is a great example of hard work and thinking outside of the box!
What is the best way to stay up-to- date on news and events for Tiny Doors ATL?
Bookzilla hangs out inside the Tiny Doors ATL tiny studio. Many awesome, tiny ideas are born here!
What is your favorite book, and why?
Picking a favorite book would be like trying to pick a favorite song! One particularly influential book has been Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic. Bechdel’s art and writing is a unique, mixed genre commentary on culture and naming the common but unseen or unnamed. In Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic, Bechdel uses her talents with words and comics to name formerly unspeakable dynamics within her family. At its best, art is a place to identify what seems invisible and discuss what we aren’t supposed to name.
Not only are the Tiny Doors ATL installations adorable, they’re also part of an art movement designed to get us all out and about. Bookzilla encourages everyone to get out and explore the many tiny wonders of Tiny Doors ATL!