“I’m always excited for a new adventure,” says 29-year-old Sally King Benedict of her recent move from Charleston, S.C., back to her native Atlanta. In just six short years since graduating from the College of Charleston, the Southern abstract artist—with an array of large canvases splashed with bold strokes in playful color palettes—has become a darling to art critics and collectors around the South.
Growing up with art-loving parents (her dad, a lawyer, and her mom, an “earth-mama hippie,” sold artwork for their gallery-owner neighbor in the ’90s), Benedict’s childhood was filled with plenty of museum trips and exhibit openings: Her upbringing gave her a coveted foot in the door of the local gallery scene before she even had a driver’s license.
After making the move to Charleston, she spent a decade honing her skills in the classroom and working part-time under interior designer and fellow Atlanta native Kathleen Rivers. “I was painting on the side, and she saw something in me and thought I should be doing it full time,” Benedict explains. Rivers and artist Janet Gregg gave their young protégée her first show post-college, and her career took off from there.
But once her husband, George, received a job offer that moved them back to the ATL nearly a year ago, the pair packed up and headed south just after Benedict gave birth to their son, River. “My whole family is here, and it felt like a good time to transition,” she explains. “We were ready for a change.”
Her latest projects include a collab with longtime friend Morgan Henzlik Cohen, owner of Buckhead boutique Morgan Kylee—a series of Benedict’s paintings, inspired by fashion designer Rick Owens’ spring collection, hang at the store. “I thought it would be fun because I love the design side of fashion, and I love her space,” says Benedict. She’s also teamed up with home decor company Serena & Lily to sell print editions of her works and has future plans to turn her paintings into everything from scarf patterns to furniture textiles.
And though Chucktown will always be dear to her heart, Benedict says she’s happy to be home. “It’s definitely different,” she explains, “but there’s more grit here, and I like that.”