Buckhead artist Sally King Benedict finds inspiration in people and through yoga
Sally King Benedict is among one of the most illustrious names in Atlanta’s contemporary art scene. Best known for her round, geometric faces, the 30-something Buckhead resident’s work is hallmarked by playful squiggles, broad-lined brushstrokes, angular shapes and whimsical dots and rings. When put together, these lines and patterns create a form, most often a stout visage, that emotes wonder and exudes color.
Benedict recalls the first face she painted, which was a representation of her childhood housekeeper and caregiver, Katie. “She made our house feel warm and safe, and I wanted my paintings to also reflect that feeling.” Since Katie was such an impactful, memorable person in her life, Benedict painted with her in mind when she started doing figurative portraits. From there, Benedict began creating more people—people she wanted to meet, people who lived in places she had never been. They became the subjects that are synonymous with Benedict today.
The artist is represented by prestigious galleries throughout the country. In Atlanta, she works solo and takes appointments at her gallery/ studio in The Galleries of Peachtree Hills. Her large-scale, dramatic works are often used by interior designers in spaces that have been featured in magazines such as Architectural Digest and Elle Decor.
As an acclaimed artist, Benedict could easily focus on her accomplishments and paint only what she knows sells well. For example, her works on paper, which she releases occasionally through her own website and debuts on Instagram, often sell out within minutes. But she doesn’t always stick to familiar processes and mediums. Instead, she’s explorative, choosing to reflect and experiment as she paints— a practice she credits to yoga.
Benedict tends to always be working on 10 things at a time in different sizes and in various mediums in her studio. “It’s very physical in my studio, so I’ve found that doing the beginning part of a typical Vinyasa flow routine calms me down. It helps me breathe better and makes me focus. I also go upside down a lot in my studio and get into a handstand. It increases the blood flow to your brain, and it changes something in my mind. I come back down, and I feel lighter; I feel happier,” she explains.
That physicality is likely due to Benedict’s striving and pushing herself to continue to grow. She recently wrapped a residency at Eden Rock in St. Barths, and in late spring, she launched a men’s, women’s and kids’ swim line with Mott50 and Maisonette World. Come fall, she’ll host “A Timeless Affair: Atomic Art,” an annual gala benefiting Fernbank, with Anne Irwin Fine Art owner and curator Emily West. She’s also in the beginning stages of writing a book with her husband—something she’s not ready to divulge yet.
Regardless of where her art takes her, she never strays too far from her Buckhead roots, always drinking in the surrounding inspiration. Like her art, that begins with people. “The arts community is so strong here in Buckhead. It’s great to be around that kind of energy. There’s always something new to turn to, and there’s always somebody new to meet. And that’s wonderful.”
SALLY KING BENEDICT
By appointment only
425 Peachtree Hills Ave. N.E., Suite 11C
Wellness columnist at Simply Buckhead and dog columnist at Atlanta Pet Life. Lifestyle writer specializing in women's interests, travel, people and interiors.