Ken Blacktop Gentle



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About the artist

Ken “Blacktop” Gentle

Alabama native Ken “Blacktop” Gentle, is a nationally known artist who works out of his studio in Rome, Georgia. His career as a full-time studio artist began in 2002, after working for Hewlett Packard for 22 years. Gentle is a self-taught artist who began painting at an early age as a way of sharing his experiences of growing up in the South. His paintings typically start with a base of "black tar" on wood, tar paper, or cardboard - hence the moniker "Blacktop". 'My paintings tend to be personal and reflect my devotion and respect for people I have met or who have influenced my life. Many of the people I paint were not proud of their occupations or their station in life. Through a process of storytelling I try to show the humanity of these people – their internal beauty, the degradation and anger that they experienced in life, while invoking the past, their spirit and their environments.

Gentle has produced a wide-ranging body of work that is in numerous galleries, business and private collections around the world. Recently his work was added to the permanent collections of Kennesaw State University and Appalachian State University. His illustrations have been featured in the newly released book Taylor Smart and the Chamber of Skulls, written by Mark Randolph Watters.

Publications & Interviews: 
Sanford Herald
Atlanta Journal Constitution
Enjoy Magazine
Art Slant
V3 Magazine
Carolina Arts
Georgia Public Radio
New York Arts Magazine
Dining Out
Peachtree Review
Rome News-Tribune

Recent Shows:
Quinlan Visual Arts Center
Jeanine Taylor Folk Art Gallery
Art House Gallery
Folk Fest
Van Gogh’s Hide-A-Way Studio

204 Broad Street, Rome, GA 30161 

Work samples

  • Weisslake
  • Noblefoundry
  • Bigcity
  • Johnscreek
  • Lakeburtonpine
  • Theburial
  • Valleyhead
  • Boat_house
  • Saturdaymarket