The TINDEL + Scoutmob Interview


Meet Designer/Artist John Tindel

He’s part of the upcoming Zenith show at Midtown’s Kai Lin Art Gallery. The show is an organic and seasonal tribute to nature-inspired imagery, the cosmos, and all things Fall. And Tindel himself is a tribute to all thing Southern… for the most part. Born in Opelika, Alabama, raised in Panama City Beach, and schooled in Mobile, Tindel is now an Atlanta man, working, designing, and painting as one half of TINDELMICHI: Two Fat Southern Boys That Paint. With a name like that, you know we had to talk to Tindel and get his Creative Eye perspective.

SCOUT: How might people know you? TINDEL: I always like figuring that question out. Hopefully it is from the art. I have been painting in Atlanta for ten years now, and my artwork has literally mutated during those years. I think people have enjoyed watching the evolution. Creating art is my aesthetically-pleasing O.C.D. Some folks say they have seen me paint live at various events. Some folks have been to the shows and exhibits. Some folks know me as the dude that is arguing politics in the back of an event. Right now though, it is probably as the TINDEL in TINDELMICHI: Two Fat Southern Boys Who Paint collaboration.

SCOUT: Describe your work to someone who has never seen it before. TINDEL: The best way I can describe it is as a layering of design, wit, dialog, illustration and self developed artistic techniques. With the color palettes that I use, it could be described as straight Martha Stewart on acid. I love getting political. I love writing thoughts on paintings. I love making work that is simply an experiment in design. All these things show up within the layers of each piece.

SCOUT: And if you weren’t an artist, what would you be doing? TINDEL: That’s a tough one. The more I make art, the more I feel that this art thing is an O.C.D., something that is going to happen whether I want it to or not. So, to imagine that I didn’t have the ability to be creative would be heartbreaking. I would be a farmer or carpenter.

SCOUT: If you had to pick, what is your favorite project you have done thus far in Atlanta? TINDEL: Favorite project would have to be pulling off Redneck Graffiti exhibit in Castlberry Hills with Michi Meko. It was a great exhibit. We had 100 lbs. of fried chicken, fresh artwork and Paul R. Jones sitting on the floor eating a full plate of food with us. It was a good spread. That was back in 2004, and it seemed like it kicked off a new pride in the South, in the culture and artwork that can come from the area. I have had hundreds of other great moments, but that stood out to me as a turning point.

SCOUT: What is your earliest memory of design? TINDEL: I remember telling my Mom when I was little that I wish I could go around to all the stores and make them new signs that looked better.

SCOUT: Birds, Dorothy, shapes, you have a lot of interesting subjects and mediums. What is your personal favorite? TINDEL: My favorite subject is text. Artistically adding dialog to a piece is tricky and one of my favorite things to do inside my pieces. I love working on wood with either acrylic or aerosol enamels.

SCOUT: Where in Atlanta do you go to get new ideas/find inspiration? TINDEL: Realistically, my backyard. But, I also like going to the Mattress Factory studios to paint in Michi Mekos’ studio. A good conversation can spark worlds of ideas.

SCOUT: And where do you go to unwind with a good drink and good company? TINDEL: I have two kids that are 1 and 4. What is unwinding with a good drink and good company? I think I’ve heard of that.

SCOUT: Your favorite “curious find” in Atlanta? TINDEL: There is a replica of the Statue of Liberty on Buford Highway. So if you can’t make it to New York, just drive up Buford Highway.

SCOUT: Another local Atlantan that inspires you or your work? TINDEL: Michi Meko. He is the MICHI in TINDELMICHI. We both have been strengthening our personal styles in order to make our collaboration stronger. The direction he is going is inspiring and gives me some things to think about in my own work.

SCOUT: You are such a Southern man, can you tell us your favorite Southern food? TINDEL: This is going to make me very hungry. Fried okra is my favorite. With a close second being my Grandma’s field peas.

SCOUT: Mmmm, keep talking. And what are you currently working on? TINDEL: I like to work on a bunch of paintings at once when I go to paint. I just finished up some great pieces for a show I have at Kai Lin Gallery. Also, trying to finish up a few commission pieces while working on a sculpture made out of Kudzu vines for a TINDELMICHI exhibit at Marietta/Cobb Museum of Art at the beginning of next year.

SCOUT: Finally, a shameless plug of where people can go to check out more of your creations? TINDEL: For the Art of John Tindel go to For TINDELMICHI go to To see it live, come to ZENITH, September 17th at Kai Lin Gallery.

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