DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - An Atlanta area artist said when he put his own art in his own yard code enforcement came knocking on his door. Now Kyle “BlackCatTips” Brooks has to go to court.
The artist's unique style can be seen throughout metro Atlanta. He has a large mural on the Atlanta beltline, paintings in major office buildings and on the side of restaurants. Last year, he moved to a home in Lithonia with a big yard, so he could display his art.
He said the neighbors all seemed to like the pieces he set up, but then a code enforcement officer stopped by.
“He pointed and said ‘that one isn't art, that's not art, that one is art.’ I was kind of offended by that an couldn't believe he said it to me,” said Brooks.
Brooks said he was told since some of his pieces have words on them, they're considered signs, not art. DeKalb County released a statement explaining it was not a critique, but about size. It reads in part:
“The three citations relate to the size, not content, of the signs on the residential property.”
Brooks took all the work in his yard down as he waits for his day in court. He said he feels like his freedom of expression has been taken away.
“You think you got this freedom, but when it comes down to it I'm not so sure, when they show up and tell you ‘you can't have this or you can't paint this’ I would think honestly they would have embraced me,” said Brooks.