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Will You Find Catlanta’s Golden Lanterns?

Will You Find Catlanta’s Golden Lanterns?

Screen Shot 2014-09-08 at 10.29.58 AMOn Saturday, September 6th, Atlanta artist Catlanta created six “Cat Lanterns” and hid them around the Beltline Lantern Parade.  Those who found the lanterns Tweeted, Facebooked and Instragrammed pictures of themselves with the Cat Lantern and #TEDxPT for a chance to win two free tickets to the event. Well, it’s happening again!

On Friday 9/19 – Sunday 9/21 Catlanta will be hiding six new Cat Lanterns for people to find. Again, if you find one, Tweet, FB or Instagram a picture of yourself with the Cat with #TEDxPT for a chance to win two tickets to TEDxPeachtree.

We were able to ask Catlanta a few questions about why he does what he does!

When did you begin?  And what was the genesis of the creating, hiding and giving away your cats?

I somewhat accidentally began Catlanta during the snowstorm of 2011. Bored and off work, I illegally painted a few cats I had been doodling for years around the city with Catlanta written nearby. I saw that people were responding to the graffiti on social media outlets, and there that there was an opportunity to develop a character that the residents of Atlanta could both recognize and interact with. I wanted the full support of the city and was far from being a graffiti artist, so I quickly traded in the spray paint for a paintbrush and started creating works of art that people could find and take home using social networks.  The first time I left pieces of art around town, people quickly snatched them up, and I saw that there were people who appreciated this kind of art experience.

Our theme this year implies the discovery of something that was before unseen. Tell us about a pure unexpected change in your life that was the illumination of a revelation.

A few years ago when this project was just beginning, my car died and I was left without any form of transportation besides walking. Anyone who’s spent more than a layover at Hartsfield-Jackson knows that Atlanta isn’t very well-suited for the pedestrian, but I kept it up and spent hours walking to get to my destinations. Exploring Atlanta as a pedestrian completely changed my view of this city and helped me really fall in love with my environment. I’ve lived in or around Atlanta all my life, but had missed so much of the in-between using a car to get from one place to the next. I’m no longer solely a pedestrian, but that time has inspired my desire to continue to explore this city and everything it has to offer. I’ve since discovered nature preserves, historical sites, and abandoned properties that have been right in my backyard this whole time. Exploring your city in a new way can make your environment new and exciting all over again. No matter how long you’ve lived somewhere, there’s bound to be something you haven’t seen before.

At the end of the day, what is it about your work that keeps you going?  

The residents of Atlanta and beyond! If you can’t tell, I love this city and want to do my part to encourage folks to get out and explore where they live. I’ve gotten so much support and love from the people here that I feel like I gotta keep painting for them. I never set out to paint cats all the time, but I feel a sense of obligation to keep painting cats until everyone in the city who wants one, has one. I think I still have a ways to go…

Which talent would you most like to have?

The ability to cross everything off my daily to-do lists.

What is your motto?
Don’t be afraid to find your own path. Art is my number one passion, but there’s a lot of aspects, traditions, and standards upheld by the art world that I don’t support or want to conform to, so I choose not to. I may not have the same experiences as other artists, but finding my own way to reach people is so much more rewarding. Plus, I haven’t had to write an artist statement in years!

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Bringing My Team to TEDxPeachtree 2014

Bringing My Team to TEDxPeachtree 2014

I am a firm believer in lifelong learning and that we have the opportunity to constantly evolve ourselves by continuously feeding our brains with new ideas and experiences. TED Talks, and more specifically TEDxPeachtree, offers me the opportunity to put away my mobile device and laptop for a day so I can learn, mingle and share with other like-minded individuals from all professions.

Everyone who starts a business talks about how important culture can be to the company. I want my company culture to be built on smart people who are independent thinkers and value brain stimulation. Companies built around people with these qualities, are better equipped to serve clients.

As the owner of AgencySparks it is important to not only create a team culture of excellence but also one fueled by intellectual curiosity. Having emerged refreshed from my attendance at previous TEDxPeachtree conferences, I want my entire team to also benefit from the enriching experiences that TEDxPeachtree has provided me.

The speakers and the engaging conversations at TEDxPeachtree make for good brain-fuel and I think the experience will make them better employees and more well-rounded individuals. But this “field trip” also serves as a reward for their hard work. It’s a conference that any business owner or supervisor ought to consider as an option for a team offsite.



Joe Koufman TEDxPeachtree attendeeJoe Koufman

With a large, distinguished network of corporate and agency contacts, and a deep passion for helping agencies grow, Joe Koufman founded AgencySparks in 2014, which provides an alternative, profitable business development process for brand marketers and agencies.

AgencySparks provides business development and communications consulting services to independent marketing agencies.


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An Illuminating Perspective

To me, “Illuminating” through photography is about opening up viewers’ eyes to something they’ve maybe never seen before, or something they’ve seen a million times but never quite seen it the way I chose to portray it.  Remember the way everything looked as a child?  Huge skyscrapers, seemingly giant athletes, massive 747 airplanes; often the only thing that separates the everyday from the awe-inspiring is the three feet that separate an adult from a kid.  So, I try to shoot from an angle you may not normally view things in, and I try to share each image in the way it impacted me the most.


Sun breaks through the clouds on ferry ride from Naha, Okinawa to Yoron island. Population: 6,000.


Clouds scatter as the sun rises to meet Mt. Ishizuchi (Stone Hammer);
Tallest mountain in Western Japan at 1,982 m.


Photo of Atlanta just past sunset from Jackson Street Bridge as commuters enter and depart downtown.


How do you see perspective shift your view and illuminate new understanding?

Kris Willis

Kris Willis is an observationalist, a loner who doesn’t like being alone, a fitness junkie and lover of creativity.





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