Ken Gentle is known in the art world as Blacktop. Born and raised in Alabama, Ken now makes his home in Rome, Georgia. He is a self taught painter who has been interested in art most of his life. According to Blacktop one of the big inspirations in his life was seeing the works of Mose Tolliver and Jimmy Lee Sudduth. He realized art was not as simple or as complex as it was made out to be, but something that came from the heart and soul. He paints in enamels, acrylics, and watercolors. He also covers boards with a thin layer of tar, then paints it over with enamel and etches into it. His themes are abstract rural and he also depicts scenes from the southern civil rights movement. Ken says he’s a ‘Ruralist’ at heart. His paintings of houses and churches are clean and precise, often set against a surreal landscape. Ken is a rising star in the folk art community with a language and grace all his own.