David Landis’ large stainless steel sculptures, many of them inspired by nature, can be seen on the Atlanta BeltLine, in the Marcus Tower at Piedmont Atlanta Hospital, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Atlanta Botanical Garden, Alpharetta Public Library and many sites across the country.
I consider myself one of the fortunate ones in the arts community because I had a number of commissions lined up when the pandemic hit. Supplies have been an issue, however. I do stainless steel work and getting the material was harder and the price doubled. This kind of sculpture is so labor-intensive and materials-intensive that your margins aren’t huge, so those huge price jumps really affect your overall well being. I had a big project for the new Piedmont Hospital tower and there was a deadline. I had hired two new assistants in March 2020 — one had worked for me just one day when the governor shut everything down. I was alone trying to hit the deadline, working insanely seven days a week. My wife was ready to kill me, but the piece came out beautifully. They had the official opening in September 2020 but the tower opened a couple of floors earlier to help with Covid overflow. The building wasn’t finished but they needed the extra space.
My studio is in Summerhill where there are lots of new restaurants. They were closed for Covid. These restauranteurs are all pro the [Black Lives Matter] movement but during the social unrest last year they got their windows smashed too. It was a disheartening time. I just felt for my neighbors. The fact they are still functioning gives you hope.
I have a great commute through Cabbagetown; twice a day I go through the Krog Street tunnel, graffiti central. I love that artists there are putting masks on their work. Leave it to the Atlanta arts community to keep the Covid messages moving. I love seeing how responsive and immediate the painters are in this town. Something happens in the world and it’s all over the walls in that tunnel the next day.