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About This Image:
The Atlanta Varsity is a landmark just by virtue of its existence. After all, it’s been part of Atlanta’s midtown since the 1920’s. In its original location on Luckie Street it was known as the Yellow Jacket. And yes, the Ramblin’ Wreck out front is a nod to its strong roots as a hangout for Georgia Tech students. The Yellow Jacket outgrew its first location and the owner, Frank Gordy, had bigger plans to own a chain of restaurants. Thus when its new location at the corner of North Avenue and Spring Street opened in 1929, it was known simply as The Varsity.
The chain has grown so far to eight locations, but the Atlanta Varsity is the original, and to my eyes the most beautiful. The current appearance of the Atlanta Varsity dates to a 1940 renovation. That’s when the exterior of the building was covered in stucco and given its now-classic streamline moderne style. Streamline Moderne is a late Art Deco movement. And there’s just something about that design that still speaks to me. When I see one of these beautiful old survivors, I hope that no one ever tampers with perfection! After all they are still trying to mimic this look in modern retro diners and restaurants.
The Atlanta Varsity has changed over the years. The curbside service of the original drive-in has greatly diminished while the interior seating capacity has grown. But no matter how many cars can be served outside, the Varsity will always be a beautiful vintage drive-in, you know? It just has that mid-century modern drive-in restaurant feel no matter what. And in a city that’s constantly growing, it’s no small feat simply to survive. The Varsity lost part of its parking lot to the I-75/85 connector through downtown Atlanta. And the Varsity Jr on Lindbergh, a John Portman designed-building, is utterly gone now. When I lived in Atlanta, I passed the Varsity Jr. almost every day so it’s hard to imagine. I’m sure Atlanta has changed even more for the people who grew up there in decades past.
That’s why it’s so necessary to celebrate the iconic places like the original Atlanta Varsity that manage to survive and thrive well past their contemporaries. These are the places that are truly local traditions. I’ve no doubt there’s many Tech students eating at the Varsity right now who are at least second and third generations of their family to dine there? The history and that great vintage style was why I chose to do this particular piece of Midtown art. After all as anyone who wanders through my work can see, I love history and architecture. The Atlanta Varsity has both!
Hope you might take a moment to share your own story. If you’ve found your way here, I suspect that you must either love classic Art Deco period architecture? Or you have a personal connection with this little corner of Midtown Atlanta? Or maybe some of column A and some of column B? I would love to hear your tales of the Atlanta Varsity and your take on my vintage style artwork.
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Messages From Past Customers
My daughter sent me this print as an early Mother’s Day gift. It arrived today and I love, love love it!
Received my red phone box cards today. Thank you – they are lovely. Look forward to purchasing from you in the future.
I love my “Toomers Drugstore” and “Auburn Supper Club” prints from Mark. He does an amazing job and every painting has detail and awesome colors. His Auburn prints are a must have for fans that love Auburn as much as I do!
The Lighting in this print is stunning! Thank you!
Best part of my day = getting my prints in the mail!!!!!!!!! Yahoo!!!!!
Absolutely delighted! They are perfect!
It’s simply beautiful! The colors are so vibrant and powerful.
It was my father’s birthday present. Thank you Mark. It brought back wonderful memories for him.
Love it… the print arrived today and looks awesome!!
Now I just need to get a suitable frame and get it up where it can be enjoyed.
I got my print today, thank-you so much.
I love it!
I just dropped it off at the framing shop on Friday and had a look at it…. it’s absolutely beautiful. I purchased it to replace a painting of Paris and to be honest the way that you have captured Dublin on the river at night makes it look more beautiful than Paris. Beautiful photo, you are very talented.
Received the print today! It’s gorgeous! I really can’t thank you enough.
I’ll frame it and hang it in my apartment in NYC as soon as I get back.
The print is absolutely breathtaking! I immediately went and had it framed, I just couldn’t wait to display it.
I’m excited to show off your work to my friends and family. You are one of the most talented photographers I’ve seen and it’s a pleasure to own your work.
I framed the picture of our house and put it under the tree for Sid.
He loved it!
…it is a surprise for my daughter when she comes home from college.. …and I can’t wait for her to see it!!
Nice surprise for her finishing her first year and doing amazing!
Originally I purchased these cards to give for Easter, but they are so beautiful I decided to frame and keep them for myself.
Mark Tisdale’s work is excellent.
The cards are very high quality. Images are sharp and colors are vibrant!
DeAnn just called me so very excited, she received the picture. She thinks it’s just beautiful.
Thank you so much and I’m sure you will be hearing from her too.
Got my print today – Beautiful! Thanks! : )
Can’t wait to get it framed and on the wall.
…thanks to Facebook and finding Mark E Tisdale, a special print will become a memory in my parents’ home this Christmas…
I ordered a framed print of the Macon County Clinic and Nurses house . My mother… worked there from 1956 until the clinic closed. Now 80 and retired for many years , she often talks about the many people she remembers from those days, My brother and myself were all born and treated there by Dr. Fred and Dr. Tom. We thought the framed picture would be something she would get great joy from and probably stir a few memories. It is a beautiful artwork and looking forward to seeing her face when she gets this gift on Christmas. Thanks for the Great GIFT!!
Just wanted to let you know, for Christmas, my sister got me a GIANT photo from you of the mountains and sheep in Connemara (Ireland).
It is really beautiful and I love it. Gotta have it matted and framed next.
Yes! I got my tractor print in the mail today, and I love it! It is beautiful. It is vibrant and ….perfect… and I am going to frame it and hang it asap! I love it. Thank you Mark! You are an amazing photographer.
I took the photograph of the house to be framed and the young lady who helped me choose the mats and frame was so taken with the photography that she asked for your name so she could see more on the web.
If you hear from an Erica I want a commission!
I just concluded my ordering of 11 metal prints of your Atlanta images.
Thanks for your help and artistic talents!
I treated myself last year to two of your lovely works of art. The telephone box & the Scottish cottage on a country lane. Love them!
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I’m Mark Tisdale, a Georgia artist whose journey started with a love of travel and a desire to capture the beautiful places I saw. It’s a path that has changed my life in ways I never would have imagined. I feel quite fortunate to spend my days doing something I love. I have been working as an artist for over a decade and I have supported myself as a full time artist for eight years and counting.
If you have any questions about my artwork or if you’re looking for a specific print, please send me a message with your questions, art requests, or comments.
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