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Pea the Feary feels the power of Atlanta’s raw creative energy. Can you?

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Reading time6 minDateOct 26, 2021Published byPea the Feary
Photography by Nate Ryan

The Atlanta illustrator, with a spiritual philosophy of care, discusses the city’s ancestral hunger, the power that resides in our surrounding environment, and the raw creative energy surging through the city that’s waiting to be tapped.

If you should know anything about me, it’s that I’m big on astrology—very Scorpionic, as creative individuals go. I’m a fan of the deep, dark, scary, gritty things. As a result, fear has been a big part of my existence, and acknowledging the things that evoke fear has been a healthy exercise for me. Exploring the idea and concept of fear for myself, and for no one else.

So, I’ve combined fear as a defining force with the (sometimes complementary) idea of fairies and fantasy and magic. All of that mystical stuff has always captivated me. That combination spawned “feary” as a descriptor, and it seemed to stick—so that’s what I’ve stuck with since.

It’s nice to meet you. I’m Pea the Feary, and I live in Atlanta.

For me, everything has to do with the energy of the space, or environment that I’m inhabiting. And this might get a little weird—as an artist, I’m allowed to be weird—but when I'm in a space, I can feel its energy very intensely. I tend to be really particular about the type of spaces that I occupy. Even the historic energy of a specific region can rise up in the way that I express myself in that space. And so when I’m in any particular location, I like to be able to see outside, notice the architecture, feel the sky, skim the trees, breathe the air, all of it.

“Atlanta has an old ancestral hunger for something. There’s this sense of power and authority in the people who live here and you can feel it radiating from the ground.”

Photography by Nate Ryan

When I didn’t have a car, I would get on the train just to see the city’s expanse. Like, not to go to the mall, but to literally be on the train going to the mall because I needed the journey. Those train rides expanded my mind, and my emotional connection to Atlanta, and even my perspective on traveling from one place to another. There's a lot of deep ties that were created during those moments—just me observing movement in the city while on the train.

Altanta’s environment just feels right. When I think about the city of Atlanta, the energy here is so raw, and so powerful. It seems to be an energy of fight and grit, and it demands respect. I can feel it; that incessant demand for respect. It immediately captures my attention.

Atlanta has an old ancestral hunger for something. There's this sense of power and authority in the people who live here and you can feel it radiating from the ground. And I enjoy sitting directly in that space—in that raw creative energy. It’s almost as if the city is asking… “So what’s next? What are we going to do now?”

In Atlanta, there are Black people everywhere. I was like, “Where am I? What is this place?” I felt so excited, with this strange boost of confidence animating my body. Honestly, I don't know how else to express it.

We definitely have our gaze focused on the future. This city is an old place, but when it comes to the culture we’re creating here it always feels like it’s on the edge of becoming a new thing. It’s not always concrete, and it doesn’t have to be. I think we’re still figuring it out and that’s okay.

The world should put respect on this city—the culture of modern hip-hop comes from Atlanta. We literally created the way that music sounds now. Atlanta has influenced culture in a way that is so subtle, and quiet, yet powerful. We’re a city that's been influencing culture on a day-to-day basis since the very beginning.

I’m not even sure if I should say “we,” since I’m a transplant rather than a native. I don't want to take up any space that I might not deserve—I feel like it's important to say that because Atlanta has so much history. The feeling coming from transplants is not quite the same as the feeling coming from the native people of Atlanta. Some days, I feel as if I don't have the same amount of pride as they do, since I don't know if I could ever match the level of honor they have for the city.

But even still, there is a space for everyone here. My mom is West Indian—we're Caribbean people—and when we arrived in Atlanta we immediately moved to a space where there were more Caribbean people. It’s like there’s a micro-world for every type of person in Atlanta, and that's really beautiful. And you can find and cherish those places, if you look thoughtfully. Atlanta is actually a city of little mini-cities, and each of them, all have some sort of energy that they're trying to express or grow into. And each mini-city is a great example of what it means to be creative. All sorts of people come here to do something that requires new thought, in a really fresh way.

After being here in Atlanta for seven years, I often reflect back on the day I first arrived. I saw a bunch of Black people, and that was a huge surprise. Because sure, there are Black people in Columbus, Ohio, but they're not everywhere there. But in Atlanta, there are Black people, like, everywhere.
I was like, “Where am I? What is this place?” I felt so excited, with this strange boost of confidence animating my body. Honestly, I don't know how else to express it.

That sense of belonging and sense of competence came with seeing myself in Atlanta. And I’m sure it feels that way for other Black people and other people of color as well, because the city is a very diverse space. But seeing a reflection of ourselves—thriving—is amazing. It’s mind blowing.

I can do anything, here in Atlanta.

Atlanta is waiting.

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