Studio Tour

Studio Tour: Kiki Slaughter

by Annie Werbler

For the past two years, painter Kiki Slaughter has been building her large-scale abstract artworks in the enchanted ruins of a 377-square-foot studio at The Goat Farm Arts Center in Atlanta, GA. The move to this location from Virginia had Slaughter trading in a mountain view for a more industrial setting, but as it turned out, she got a little bit of farm life mixed in with her new city digs. The space is set within a 19th-century cotton gin factory converted to contemporary art studios and gallery venues, all sitting on 12 acres of land within the heart of the city. True to its name, there are even goats and chickens living on the premises. An unconventional contrast between old factory buildings and farm animals gives The Goat Farm a unique aesthetic charm that ignites many a creative spark. The compound is even sought after by Hollywood — you may recognize it as District 12 in The Hunger Games movies, or as the setting of scenes in The Walking Dead. “You never know what you are going to see around here!,” jokes Slaughter.

The bare, industrial bones of the artist’s studio space offer big windows, hardwood floors, exposed brick, and tall ceilings, of which many surfaces have become layered with pigment in a similar fashion to her paintings. “My work is best described as an experiment with the fundamental process of painting. I pour, scrape, layer, and otherwise manipulate the paint on the canvas to create pieces that are rich in color and texture,” she explains. As much as she loved the battered old wood floors, the dynamic nature of her painting process forced her to protect them immediately upon arrival. The floors are now covered in thick tarps that often get painted right alongside the canvases, as she paints on the ground and works on multiple paintings at a time, jumping from one to the next. And while it may seem part of the overall patina sweeping the room, even the two vintage French bergère chairs are (intentionally) paint-covered, having been upholstered with Slaughter’s own fabric designs.

At home, the artist admits that she is obsessed with decorating and finding the perfect spot for all of her treasured objects. But in the studio, it feels refreshing to just let it be what it is, and that’s an open space in which to paint. It is ever-changing, acting as a catch-all for the paintings created within its walls, and in time becoming a work of art itself. —Annie

Photography by Jimmy Johnston, except where noted

Studio Tour: Kiki Slaughter, on Design*Sponge
The painting studio of artist Kiki Slaughter features paint-covered floors and tall ceilings with exposed rafters. On the back wall is a pair of large paintings titled "Rebel Rebel" which measure 5x8 feet apiece.
Studio Tour: Kiki Slaughter, on Design*Sponge
The desk is a simple contraption made of sawhorse legs with a wooden tabletop panel. It often gets moved around the room according to where it's needed to act as a desk or sometimes as a surface for painting or setting down materials. Vintage French chairs reupholstered in the artist's own painted fabric flank the desk.
Studio Tour: Kiki Slaughter, on Design*Sponge
Detail shot of a paint brush in one of the glass containers Slaughter uses to mix colors. "You can tell from its opaqueness that a lot of colors have been mixed!," she says.
Studio Tour: Kiki Slaughter, on Design*Sponge
A stack of small paintings rests on a leather hide draped across the desk. In the background is a tiny nude study.
Studio Tour: Kiki Slaughter, on Design*Sponge
One of the pair of vintage French bergère that were picked up at Slaughter's favorite Charlottesville shop called The Curious Orange Store. She then had them covered in her fabric with a fun pop of pink piping.
Studio Tour: Kiki Slaughter, on Design*Sponge
On the exposed brick wall, a 42" x 42" painting called "Spring Cleaning" hangs above a collection of canvas strips soon to be made into a sculptural piece.
Studio Tour: Kiki Slaughter, on Design*Sponge
Colorful pieces of fabric hang on the wall and lay in a pile. Canvas rolls and stretcher bars sit ready to be assembled.
Studio Tour: Kiki Slaughter, on Design*Sponge
Detail shot of painted strips of canvas.
Studio Tour: Kiki Slaughter, on Design*Sponge
These 34x34" floor pillows, like the chairs, are covered in Slaughter's painted fabric. The neon green zippers add a vibrant shock of color. A few paintings in progress lean against the wall.
Studio Tour: Kiki Slaughter, on Design*Sponge
A side view of stored paintings in progress that have been set aside for the current moment.
Studio Tour: Kiki Slaughter, on Design*Sponge
Detail shot of paint-covered gloves and a pile of paint tubes in a handy IKEA cart that wheels around the room wherever it's needed.
Studio Tour: Kiki Slaughter, on Design*Sponge
Some painting supplies including soaked rags, and a brush in a mixing container.
Studio Tour: Kiki Slaughter, on Design*Sponge
Slaughter's son Hill visits his mom in the studio.
Studio Tour: Kiki Slaughter, on Design*Sponge
Kiki Slaughter in her painting uniform, which consists of overalls and TOMS (covered in paint, of course!).
Studio Tour: Kiki Slaughter, on Design*Sponge
A view toward the charmingly crumbling studio window and train tracks just beyond the property.
Studio Tour: Kiki Slaughter, on Design*Sponge
The Goat Farm Arts Center exterior, is, according to Slaughter, the perfect place to be inspired. Photo by Kiki Slaughter.
Studio Tour: Kiki Slaughter, on Design*Sponge
What I am most thankful for about my studio is... "The space to make a beautiful mess."

Suggested For You


  • Thank you for introducing me to Kiki Slaughter – having studied Drawing and Painting in college, I love reading about people who have a successful art career. I am in design now, but I still love painting. I am going to look at Kiki’s site and find out more about her work.

  • This space makes me happy. The pink piping on the chairs is such a nice touch.