On a stroll through Atlanta’s posh, buzzing Buckhead neighborhood, at The Shops at Buckhead, you’ll find a gallery called Buckhead Art & Company. The open space’s giant stark-white walls create a canvas themselves — a backsplash for the vibrant, striking contemporary fine art that has landed this gallery atop many international lists as a must-see. Inside this 4,000-square-foot gallery with paint-splattered cement floors and church pews for art-gazing, you’ll also find its owner: 24-year-old Katie Jones. We had an invigorating conversation with this all-things-art lover about how she came to fulfill a lifelong dream at just 23, the artists she loves, and some pointed advice for aspiring art collectors. Let’s get to know the lovely Katie Jones, our newest FACE of the South!
Tell us a bit about how your childhood and schooling led you to art.
I have to give thanks to many people, beginning with my parents. They constantly kept me involved in inspiring environments. At Greater Atlanta Christian School, I had the opportunity to be part of an amazing art program. Our art teachers exposed us to mediums that I now realize were not normal in the average childhood art education. They taught us batiks, encaustics, and they constantly encouraged us to think outside the box.
I also got to take dance in school, in addition to my involvement with Roswell City Dance and Studio 23 Dance Company. When you take classes from master instructors there, you don’t leave without being inspired and in need of an Epsom salt bath!
My professors at Birmingham-Southern College went above and beyond. The art department constantly challenged us on our history knowledge and pushed us within our mediums. They went the extra mile to take us to exhibitions within the Birmingham arts community. It was always exciting to see what they would bring in next to the Durbin Gallery. Our business professors went out of their way to introduce to successful Birmingham business owners and I’m grateful for their time outside of their office hours.
How did you come to own Buckhead Art & Company?
What fulfills you most about the art world?
Artists share their passion through their work. Growing up, our mom used to tell my twin sister Kelly and me, “Everyone has been given a talent from God. Sometimes it takes some people longer than others to realize what it is, but we all have one in different ways. What is the benefit of being good at something if we don’t do anything with it or share it with other people?”
I think it’s our life’s calling to develop our talents and share them with the rest of the world. But we cannot fail to give credit to the One who blessed us with them in the first place. The art world is fulfilling because there is always someone to be inspired by or look up to.
You might be sick of hearing this, but your age next to your accolades is impressive and unique. What are some setbacks that have come with being younger than many of your cohorts in the art world?
Every day presents a new challenge and occasionally a new problem I haven’t anticipated. That’s the hard part, but also the exciting part, of being a young entrepreneur. You have to experience setbacks in order to learn what will be successful. The ability to commit every ounce of myself to the gallery and our artists is a great advantage.
Is there an instance you can tell me about where a mishap or a misstep resulted in a lesson learned?
Where to begin on this one? Long story short, I’ve learned that you have to remove the emotion from your business decisions. You must constantly be examining your decisions because there are people who will take advantage of your inexperience. But a mishap or a misstep is just another opportunity to learn and grow. Many thanks to my sister Kelly for always being there after the unexpected occurs!
What’s something that people are surprised to learn about you?
Growing up, I was the child who consistently would end the semesters with 79s or 89s. It would drive my mom crazy, but she never gave up on me.
Is there an artist you’re obsessed with right now?
I really look up to Sally King Benedict. The art she creates and the way she markets herself is always positive and uplifting. It’s on my bucket list to spend time with her!
How about the one artist you would choose to have drinks with — dead or alive.
I would love to have cocktails with Jackson Pollock and Rose Masterpol. I can’t choose just one of them — I would need both of them there. Masterpol’s “Unity,” featured in the gallery, is what I call “The Modern-Day Pollock.” I would love to hear the two of them brainstorm. Talk about a dynamic duo!
What advice would you give to a young person who wants to start collecting art but doesn’t know where to start, or who doesn’t have a massive budget?
Less is more. I think it’s better to save up for a piece that you love rather than trying to fill your space with art that doesn’t mean something to you.
Where can we find you on your days off?
I try to start off the day with a H.I.I.T. class from Nathan Rogers at Bach Fitness. His classes are hard, but they start my day on a positive note. As a daughter of Cindy Jones, I also love dropping by Labels around the corner. It’s a local consignment boutique, and my mom always loved a good deal!
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received and from whom?
“You can always find something positive in everyone.” — my Grandpa “Choo-Choo”
Besides friends, family and faith, name three things you absolutely cannot live without.
Music, wine and travel adventures
Thank you, Katie, for sharing your story and showing us your studio. And huge thanks to CatMax Photography for these gorgeous pictures.
Image 1: Rose Masterpol & Angie Barker
Image 2: Richard Webb, Caryn Crawford, Leslie Busker, Anna Moran, Mary Kelly Clary
Image 3: Katie Jones
Image 4: Daniel Maltzman
Image 5: Colleen Leach, Clay Stapleford, Katherine McClure, Daniel Maltzman, Anderson Smith
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