Khalilah Birdsong is a painter with a studio practice based in Atlanta, Georgia. The scale and evidence of physicality of her paintings echoes Alfred Leslie, Joan Mitchell, Jean Riopelle and the late abstract paintings of Gerhard Richter. Birdsong differs from many of these early abstract painters in that while many of those artists were tied to references to nature, and a looser freer gesture, she combines physicality with a precision and a finely calibrated balance in her work. This speaks to her own personal gestalt, rather than any movement or school of painting defined by social milieu or a specific time. Khalilah works with the Cincinnati Art Underground (Cincinnati, OH), Hathaway Contemporary Gallery (Atlanta, GA) and Loupe Art on Apple TV. Her paintings are prominently featured on the set of Tyler Perry’s TV drama, “If Loving You Is Wrong,” on OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network. Birdsong’s large-scale work has been commissioned for Legendary Events’ Flourish event venue in Atlanta, GA and can be found in the private collections of President Barack Obama and Tyler Perry. A fifteen-year veteran in the Film and Television industry, Khalilah is the Senior Director of Communications & Engagement at Tyler Perry Studios, where she has worked in various parts of the company for a decade.
I am interested in survival and resurgence. Distress, weathering is palpable on the canvas, but so is resurgence. I build layers up and then take them away to create a painting that is, ultimately, whole. The process of layering and stripping builds contusions, bumps and raw ridges, but also reveals patches of older, more forgotten colors. Every painting is an experience through process, which translates to the canvas to create a story that can only be experienced visually. My process is strenuous to the medium. Through it, my paintings achieve resolution.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT LOUPE?
“Loupe is great when I have friends over. We love listening to music with the now added benefit of streaming interesting artwork which provides an added layer of visual stimuli to our time together. I also love the fact that Loupe offers print sales, which is a new outlet for me.”
how did you start painting?
I came to art as a way to have a creative outlet after work. I studied International Business and found art later. I still have the first thing that I painted [a little wooden bird] and the brush strokes on the wings made me think, I have to keep doing this.”