Pretty Southern

What does it mean to be a Southerner in the 21st century?

June 2011 archive

Talking Music & Art with NC artist Kat Lamp!

Born and raised in North Carolina, Southern artist Kat Lamp combines classic illustration and drawing with a modern, playful, graphic style in her signature work.  Whether designing gig posters for Southern bands, displaying her work in local galleries and coffee shops, or decorating a wall of a nearby Children’s Museum; award-winning artist and illustrator Kat Lamp has a style that is uniquely her own- yet beautifully fits whatever project she is working on.  I had the pleasure of getting to know a little bit more about the inspiration, influence, and drive behind this lovely lady.

Tell us a little bit about your background.

I was born and raised in North Carolina and have been drawing ever since I could pick up a pencil. My grandma has been probably been one of my biggest artistic influences. She took art classes at her local community college when she was 50. Before that, she was a professional seamstress for a few decades. Grandma’s main source of inspiration is the Outer Banks, and she has her paintings in galleries up and down the NC coast.

How would you describe your overall style?  Tell us about the work you are currently creating.

My style could maybe be described as Pop-Cartoonism meets All-Over-the-Placeism.  I’m currently in school learning graphic design, so lately I haven’t been able to paint as much as I’d like. Right now, I’ve been selling prints of my paintings & have been fortunate to work on some exciting graphic design gigs.

What media do you work in?

Most of my paintings are on scrap wood from a furniture factory dumpster & I’ve also been experimenting with painting on vinyl records that are too scratched to play.

How did you get into the arts and how has your upbringing in the South influence your work?

Getting into the arts just seemed natural for me.  I’ve often switched back and forth between spending large chunks of time playing music or making art.  My grandma taught me how to paint in acrylics and oils one summer when I was 7.  She is the most patient & gentle woman I know- she carefully taught me how to mix colors, use different brush techniques, AND clean everything up!  That being said, I learned early on that I didn’t have the patience for oil painting, and I’ve avoided it ever since.  I still hear her cute Southern drawl in my head instructing me sometimes while I’m painting.

On finding support and inspiration in the South.

I find inspiration all around me, all the time. Friends, bad jokes, good music, animals, pop culture, everything outside, boring things, non-boring things…  anything, really.  That might be why my style is kind of all over the place.  I’ve been really lucky to have opportunities to work with such incredible local musicians such as The Avett Brothers, Filthybird, and Lee Wallace.  I love the synergism that happens when mixing music and art.  It’s magical.

I wouldn’t be able to do what I do without the support of our strong arts community here in the Triad.  It feels like one big giant, extended creative family- everyone helps each other out in so many ways.  I love the strong connection between the music and art scenes.  I first started really getting my work out in public back in 2002-ish when I would make gig posters for some bands I played in at the time.  It’s been pretty much non-stop ever since.

What does it mean to you to be a Southerner in the 21st century?

Sweet tea and biscuits everywhere!!

See more of Kat’s work and buy copies of her gig posters at

[author] [author_image timthumb='on'][/author_image] [author_info]Kat Kraszeski-Jackson is an art teacher, artist, and diy crafter living in Greensboro, NC. She loves sharing her favorite artists, projects, and creative inspiration here on Pretty Southern.[/author_info] [/author]

Atlanta: A History in 500 Words

Atlanta is the capital of the South. We’ve got a restaurant in the center of town called Empire State South for good reason. That Damn Yankee Sherman declared victory in the Civil War after he burned Atlanta. But our fair city rose from the ashes to host the Olympics only a hundred years later.

Here’s a brief history lesson on the Awesome ATL.

1822: the first English settlers arrived in what is now Metro-Atlanta.

1823: Decatur was he first town founded in our city limits.

1836: the Georgia General Assembly voted to build the Western and Atlantic Railroad in order to provide a link between the port of Savannah and the Midwest. An engineer surveyed possible routes and drove his stake, the “zero milepost” into what is now Five Points.

1837: Terminus springs up around this area. It was briefly named “Thrasherville” for John Thrasher who built homes and the general store.

1842: “Marthasville” as its now called has six buildings and 30 residents. It’s proposed to rename the area “Atlantica-Pacifica” in honor of the railroad but is shorted to Atlanta

1847: Atlanta is incorporated as a town! Another railroad is added connecting the city to LaGrange in south Georgia and the city starts to boom.

1860: Atlanta has almost 10,000 residents and becomes the hub for all commercial, economic and social activity in the South.

Atlanta's main enginehouse after it was torched by the Damn Yankee Sherman

1864: that Damn Yankee General Sherman marches on Atlanta and burns it to the ground. Georgia’s capital was less than 30 years old. Sherman continues his reign of terror burning everything on the way to Savannah, pilaging the South, and cripling a culture.

1865: the Civil War ends but Yankees and Carpet Baggers hold the city captive during Reconstruction. The Union Army remained in Atlanta at Fort McPherson until 1888. Also in 1865, the Ku Klux Klan was founded in Tennessee and their violence against the Union Army, Republican whites, and newly freed slaves spread throughout the South

1871: President Ulysses S. Grant’s Congress passes the Force Bill suspending the writ of habeus corpus. Klan activities withered but racial tensions still run high.

1888: with the “New South” focused on a modern economy, instead of plantation farming, Georgia Tech opens its doors for classes.

1906: 27 people died and 70 more are injured in the Atlanta Race Riot (a result of the media-fueled hysteria over alleged sexual assaults on white women by black men). Most of the claims turned out to be false.

1917: 50 years after Sherman had burnt everything, the Great Atlanta Fire destroyed the entire city. More than 10,000 people are homeless. Amazingly only one person died: a woman who had a fatal heart attack after seeing her home burnt to a crisp.

1936: Margaret Mitchell (a modest newspaper woman) publishes “Gone With the Wind” and wins a Pulitzer prize in 1937. The New York Post calls it “A Fine Panorama of the Civil War Period” and it becomes to quintessential work on the Southern Renaissance.

The Premiere of "Gone With the Wind"

1939: Atlanta hosts the premiere of “Gone With the Wind” at the Georgian Terrace hotel. It was a three-day party throughout the South. Governor Eurith D. Rivers declared premiere day, Dec. 15, 1939, a state holiday. The film received 10 Academy Awards and (based on inflation adjustments) Gone With the Wind is the highest grossing film of all time at $2.9 billion worldwide.

1941: World War II brings an industrial boom to Atlanta with airplane production, plus growth in railroad traffic shipping wartime commodities.

1942: The Center for Disease Control is founded in Atlanta. The 1940s and 50s saw the flight of citizens to surrounding metropolitan areas thanks to the construction of the highways.

1961: Atlanta becomes the epicenter of the Civil Rights movement thanks to the bravery of Dr. Martin Luther King, Ralph David Abernathy, and the heroic students of the historically black colleges. Mayor Ivan Allen Jr. supported the desegregation of Atlanta’s schools. Throughout the 60s and 70s businesses promote Atlanta as “the city too busy to hate”.

1990: Atlanta is selected as the host city for the 1996 Olympic Games and begins major projects on parks, transportation infrastructure, and the sports facility now home to the Atlanta Braves.

1996: the Olympic positivity was thwarted by the bombing in Centennial Olympic Park killing two people and injuring 111. This violence, on top of other inefficiencies, leads IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch to call our games “most exceptional” in his closing speech when at previous Olympics he closed in saying those games were “the best ever.” He resumed saying this at the closing of Sydney’s Olympic Games in 2000.

Present Day: Atlanta is a cultural epicenter of the South, drawing thousands of visitors each year and millions of travelers through the world’s largest airport, Hartsfield-Jackson. Restaurants, art galleries, and new neighborhoods pop up every day.

If you’ve got a great story idea about our fair Southern city, please comment below!

Southern Nice Spreads the Love

The best part about living in the South is our diverse culture. We’re a young region, like the rest of America, but we’ve had to rebuild after Civil War, Great Depression, multiple recessions and that darn Boll Wevil.

Why not promote the nice things about living in the South? That’s what PrettySouthern aims to do, and now we have a partner in pleasantry: Southern Nice.

Southern Nice is the brainchild of Jeff Burns: a native Southerner, graduate from Georgia Tech, and all-around gentleman. His company launched in March 2011 and has already received hundreds of orders for his products bearing the Southern Nice logo. They started out with two tee shirt designs and in their first week sold almost 100 shirts plus a bunch of koozies and croakies. To date, Southern Nice has sold several hundred shirts in just a few months.

“This was something I always wanted to do,” Jeff explained. “I grew up with Southern hospitality, that sort of kindness, for me the South is about the people. I wanted to have one brand for everyone who calls themselves a Southerner.”

Southern Nice proprietor Jeff Burns with Clark Howard

What’s better is Southern Nice donates 50 percent of their profits from sales of their “city” shirts. The company has tee shirts dedicated to two great Southern cities, Atlanta and Nashville, with the proceeds going to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta plus Hands on Nashville. Southern Nice plans to roll out designs for Charlotte, Charleston and New Orleans by then end of 2011 with proceeds from the sale of those shirts also going to charity.

“When we first started it was going to be for profit, a side business just for fun,” Jeff said. “It wasn’t until I started to realize how big the brand could be that we should collaborate with local charities.”

The products are fantastic. Comfy, soft shirts (produced in part by local Atlanta company IceBox), plus nothing says “I’m a Southerner” like a pair of croakies or a coozy with the Southern Nice logo.

“It doesn’t matter if your black, white, Asian, or Hispanic…it’s the way you smile we can tell you’re from the South. Our Southern history, our culture is enriched by diversity, and other regions can’t say that. Living in Atlanta especially, we want everyone to feel like they’re Southern.

For more info on Southern Nice, check out their website or their Facebook page.

Do you call yourself a Southerner? Are you nice? Then these shirts are for you! We’d like to present our first PrettySouthern Prize! The FIRST TWO people to comment on this post will get a FREE SOUTHERN NICE TEE! The NEXT 10 folks will get a FREE SOUTHERN NICE COOZIE! Good luck y’all!

Words Only Southerners Say

Before we get to our favorite words only Southerners say, let’s hear it from the famous belles of
“Sh%t Southern Women Say” on The Southern Women Channel.

Down here, there is no Pepsi. Everything is Coke. Even Pepsi is called Coke. True Southerners don’t like going North because up there, if you ask for Coke, all y’all get is freaking Pepsi.

In Northern states, iced tea is served with a box of sugar packets because Yankees are too lazy to actually blend sugar into the hot liquid to make sweet tea. Damn Yankees.

Life below the Mason Dixon line is so sweet, just like our tea and Coca-Cola. Southern accents over time have developed their own vocabulary. These words tend to come out with even more zest if the Southerner has been drinking bourbon.

Here’s a sampling of words only Southerners say

Y’all: it’s never “you guys” but “y’all”. We’ll know you’re a Yankee, or that your parents were Yankees, if you say “you guys”.

Fixin’ to: used to let your compatriot know what’s up. As in “I’m fixin’ to make me a drink”

Lagniappe: a little bit of something extra (especially for those form N’Awlins and the Gulf area)

Pocketbook: girls from the deep South’s middle-o’-nowhere areas are known to call it this instead of a purse.

Mash: Southerners don’t push things, we mash ‘em.

Po’Boy: a long sandwich, usually served with fried oysters, shrimp or fish. But in NOLA, your po’boy could even have plain deli meat. Po’Boys are really defined by their good, long crusty bread.

Buggy: it’s not a shopping cart, but a buggy

Might Could: a polite way of presenting your options

Caddywompus a.k.a. caddywonked: a more fun way to say sideways

Access Road a.k.a. Main Road: screw the term “service road”. If the D.O.T. is working on the highway, there’s only one road to get back on your route again and it’s via an “access road” or “main road”. And by the way, if you live in the South, that construction is going to take five years just to pave two lanes. Especially if it’s I-75 in Georgia or Florida. Same thing for I-85 in the Carolinas. Because of this tragic lack of getting the roads fixed, Southerners do not call our interstates “freeways” but “highways”. There’s nothing free about our highways (see GA-400).

Sweeper: as in run the sweeper referring to the vacuum

Made: whether you’re referring to a test you aced, a photo you took, or a baby you birthed, “made” is the verb

Changer or Clicker: you want me to pass you what? A remote control? Honey, that thing is called the changer or the clicker. There’s no controlling the remote in a Southern house. That darn thing will cause World War III, ‘specially in SEC football season.

Yankee: anyone from the North. Even if you’re from Washington D.C., you’re a borderline Yankee. But stay here long enough, plant some roots, and you’ll grow up to become a Southerner.

“Bless Your Heart”: if you’ve heard this, especially from a Southern woman, she doesn’t mean it. It’s her nice way of telling you to put on your grown up pants and deal with it. As said by one of our New York friends “I could shout a parade of Yankee-style expletives in your face and it wouldn’t be nearly as bitchy as bless your heart.”

What are some of your favorite words only Southerners say? Y’all can comment below.

Top 10 Southern Girl Songs

Southern Girls are the finest ladies in all the world. Here are PrettySouthern’s Top 10 Songs about Southern Girls! We created this list based on reader feedback (plus used the most popular searches in Google). Do you agree with our list? If not, tell us why in the comments section below.

We have to give an honorable mention to Miss Kellie Pickler for her song “Southern Girls Night Out”, plus pay our due respects to Patsy Cline, Lucinda Williams, and Dolly Parton for singing from the heart of true Southern women everywhere.

PrettySouthern’s Top 10 Southern Girl Songs

#10: Collective Soul, “Georgia Girl”
#9: Lucero, “Banks of Arkansas”
#8: Corey Smith, “From A Distance”
#7: Conway Twitty, “Southern Comfort”
#6: Better Than Ezra, “Southern Thing”
#5: Incubus, “Southern Girl”
#4: Allman Brothers, “Melissa”
#3: General Johnson and the Chairman of the Board, “Carolina Girls”
#2: Amos Lee, “Southern Girl”
#1: Lynyrd Skynyrd, “Georgia Peaches”