Akira Beard: Blog http://akirabeard.com/blog en-us (C) Akira Beard (Akira Beard) Thu, 17 Aug 2017 18:52:00 GMT Thu, 17 Aug 2017 18:52:00 GMT http://akirabeard.com/img/s/v-5/u902946747-o18710050-50.jpg Akira Beard: Blog http://akirabeard.com/blog 94 120 The drawing process with Life Drawing http://akirabeard.com/blog/2017/8/the-drawing-process-with-life-drawing      

        There is a story of a zen monk who would get drunk on rice wine then dip his long hair into a bowl of ink and swing it around spontaneously onto a large piece of rice paper. Looking at the paper after, similar to a rorschach/ink blot test, an image would appear in his eyes from the abstract stain. With a few decisive marks he would then complete the piece, making the object visual to others. 

       This is essentially the method with how these 'Life Drawings' are made. Stating the obvious, I may not dip my hair in ink, but the process' essence in beginning with spontaneity and finishing with control is the similarity. The monk's method is completed in these two steps but once,  where in my drawings it's repeated numerous times until complete. And it’s those two steps which i find fascinating. I attribute the source with the beginning coming from the subconscious, and the ending with the conscious mind. 
















    I begin the drawing blindly. Turning my head away from the page, sometimes closing my eyes. I’ve even began while looking someone in the eyes and talking, which is a great method because the purpose is to distract the conscious mind from any involvement. Even with eye’s closed its still easy to fall into drawing thru familiar patterns, but whats sought after is opening a door where something new and unexpected might come thru. The door into the subconscious. 
















       These first marks are basically scribbles, and now looking, if I begin to see a hint of anything I draw while looking at the paper to make it clear. There are no set of rules really, so it could be as simple as completing the shape of a leg or maybe showing an entire figure. Every drawing is different. Sometimes the drawing never goes beyond just scribbles. It all depends on the preceding marks. At some point I shift back into the subconscious with looking away from the paper again and making rapid marks. As the drawing develops in this back and forth way in looking/not looking, it becomes semi blind where i look at the edge of the paper but not what's actually being drawn for example, so I can stay within the page itself. The aim is for an image to manifest on its own, which I could not preconceive consciously.  Similar to a midwife helping to deliver a baby. So the process is an intentional transitioning in and out of conscious and subconscious states, until a somewhat completed image has formed. The addition of rendering after sometimes also alters the image in unexpected ways, however it is far more conscious oriented, which would be likened to the monk making visible what he initially saw only personally, using deliberate marks creating an image for others to see as well. 

'Life Drawing #91', ink on paper, 11"x14", 2017'Life Drawing #91', ink on paper, 11"x14", 2017




(Akira Beard) akira beard art conscious drawing life drawing psyche psychology sketch subconscious http://akirabeard.com/blog/2017/8/the-drawing-process-with-life-drawing Thu, 17 Aug 2017 18:52:01 GMT
The beginning with Life Drawing... http://akirabeard.com/blog/2017/8/about-life-drawing  


  'Life Drawing #90', ink on paper, 11"x14", 2017'Life Drawing #90', ink on paper, 11"x14", 2017 'Life Drawing #9', ink on paper, 9"x12", 2015'Life Drawing #9', ink on paper, 9"x12", 2015










       (on the right:first piece in the Life Drawing series. On left: most current piece 2 years after)

          My friend had just come back from his therapist. He had taken a portfolio of his recent works to show her, including a few pieces of mine such as the one pictured above. She (the therapist) noticed how you drew a brain he told me. 'Did I?', I thought. Looking at it again I could see what she meant, though subtle and unintentional. The response intrigued me, enough to where it would transform the drawing from a doodle into developing a large body of work from it. It happened as a doodle where I had been working on a series of collaborative projects one after the other for the past weeks while sleeping on a couch in a large artist's studio in Greenpoint Brooklyn, NY. I had never made art outside my own familiar process, and so from this situation I found myself in I woke up one day almost as an instinctual desperation to cure a feeling of homesickness, I drew on paper to experience my old self again. The drawing became a cluster of figures and I thought nothing of it until a week later when hearing the therapist's comment. 

       I've had a longtime interest in psychology and I was anticipating the possibility with finally arriving at a way to incorporate it into my creative process. It would be a few months before I would find the space to continue, and this happened after leaving NY sporadically and ending up at a friend's home in Grand Rapid's, Michigan for a month where I could decompress from the overwhelming energy/experience during the previous 4 months. 

       When not enjoying long walks into the small, quiet city of downtown Grand Rapids during beautiful summer days, I would read books on psychology in my friend's basement converted into her art studio. One of the books was 'Freedom and Destiny', by Rollo May. The book became a favorite of mine, reading it over and over. It's too difficult with beginning to explain any of it's ideas here in a short format, but my hope was to again begin bringing such influences into my art. The next drawings I made I consider failures. I found some images online and made drawings from them. They were accomplished pieces in themselves, but they failed in purpose with the direction I wanted to go with art and psychology. This was obvious to me alone i'm sure, felt in the process with making them. I dropped working from references and started again with drawing mindlessly like I had done with the initial drawing months back. 

ink on paper, 8.5"x 10", 2015ink on paper, 8.5"x 10", 2015 Falling from Grace, ink on paper, 8.5"x 10", 2015Falling from Grace, ink on paper, 8.5"x 10", 2015 , ink on paper, 8.5"x 10", 2015, ink on paper, 8.5"x 10", 2015















(drawings from photos using photo references)

     Immediately the drawings shifted. Anyone who draws knows the difference between working from photo references and imagination. Returning to the latter, it felt as if stumbling across a forgotten well. Excited, I would drop my bucket deeper and deeper into it. I never had much interest in the Surrealist artists, but now I had. I began researching and learning all sorts of techniques with working from the subconscious mind. I discovered this was the fundamental key, that source of the well which I drew deeper and deeper from. The subconscious mind. Reading about methods such as automatism, spontaneity with creativity, dream imagery, symbol and meaning, abstract expressionism, and more became the tools for this exploration. 

'Life Drawing #18', ink on paper, 6"x8", 2015'Life Drawing #18', ink on paper, 6"x8", 2015 'Life Drawing #20', ink on paper, 6"x8", 2016'Life Drawing #20', ink on paper, 6"x8", 2016  
















(the next pieces made after not using photo references)

(Akira Beard) akira beard freedom and destiny grand rapids greenpoint psychology rollo may subliminal surrealists visionary art http://akirabeard.com/blog/2017/8/about-life-drawing Tue, 15 Aug 2017 16:37:13 GMT
Art is... Life http://akirabeard.com/blog/2017/8/a-memorable-opening-art-is         The opening this past Friday at 1810 Gallery in Sacramento, California for my show ‘Art is…’, was a memorable one. It felt a continuation with the idea I aimed to express with the installation of the the show itself. That is, the potentials with art can go far beyond limitations of medium, aesthetic value, even the artist themselves. Hence the show’s title, ‘Art is…’,  left open intentionally because art’s definition is too broad to be contained. The night’s spontaneous interactions with the audience was an example of this, feeling no different than painting collaborations among artists. There was a mutual exchanging of personal ideas and life stories, triggered by the contents of the surrounding artworks. From these one on one connections, mostly strangers amongst myself, I felt a sense of community in people opening themselves up effortlessly. One of my first encounters was with a middle aged woman sharing how she had began drawing early on as a child, but abandoned it somewhere later as an adult for a practical way of living, never considering the possibility where she might make a living thru art. She enjoyed attending art shows partly for the reason with witnessing a younger generation living out the passion she almost but forgotten. I responded similarly growing up in Sacramento how there was no supportive art community as there now obviously is, and how I too nearly gave up my love for creativity because of it.The conversations were vulnerable in these ways consistently throughout the evening. Another woman who always wanted to paint but felt inferior as an artist. I shared how I once worked in hospitals as an art instructor, where the patients’ ambitions were solely those of joy, with no concern for results. And how because of this, tremendous emotional healing sometimes occurred. She liked my abstract works in particular, and I assured her the only trick with those is to allow one’s self to simply move paint around in the fullest abandonment possible. Excited, she was eager to finally pick up a brush. Although thirty years apart, i was able to talk with an eight year old about creativity. His father and I talked about how children are the greatest artists because they are absent of pretense that haunts most adults. 

      The examples continue, but the last i will mention was the events peak for myself, occurring in the first hour when Congresswoman Doris Matsui dropped by. Introducing myself I found it difficult to connect, mainly from a state of exhaustion. I struggled in conveying the meaningfulness the show had for me where it felt like a personal homecoming after having left 20 years before. Especially arriving under the circumstances from living without a home over the last 4 years, traveling to various destinations where by it’s end I ran out of money, had no identity with an expired passport and driver’s license, lost my cellphone, a victim of bank fraud, and more, throwing me overboard and washing up on shore in my hometown. The majority of the works on display were made in these various places, sometimes in airports, hotel rooms, even other countries, etc. Unable however to explain the show properly, I excused myself exiting to the sidewalk with a beer. A few minutes after, my brother showed up with his family. He noticed Matsui through the window, remarking how she had helped him in a desperate life situation years ago. It was obvious this was to become the moment where he could finally thank her in person. My brother’s story is this- He was involved in an unfortunate car accident where his leg was broken from the hip down. Over the course of the following 7 years he would undergo 13 surgeries, part of which was to keep his foot from being amputated but which he could not save ultimately. Unable to work he qualified for disability. This ran out after a year, and suddenly the challenge went beyond physical reconstruction and recovery. He applied for social security, and by the end of 3 months where the applicant is to be notified wether qualified or not, he didn’t received any response. Contacting the office himself several weeks at a time, he was always told to keep waiting. During this period his wife was released from her job after developing carpal tunnel syndrome on site. The financial struggle intensified with supporting their two children as well as the piling of hospital bills. They would lose their home in the process with going under in debt. And even nine months after first applying, the Social Security office still had no answer. He hired a lawyer, yet things still were not progressing. Our father insisted writing a letter to the local Congresswoman, Doris Matsui. Not expecting a reply, but absolutely desperate he did so. Soon after on a Friday afternoon he received a call from Matsui’s office informing him the social security office would be calling in regards to arranging a court date to settle the matter. Hanging up, the phone rang again seconds after. It was his lawyer. She asked what he had done, and if he knew how a politician suddenly became involved. My brother explained the letter and the previous phone call. The case was expedited, and the lawyer told my brother to be in court the following Monday. Living in Fresno at a close friend’s after the loss of their home, Monday morning came and his wife loaded him from a wheelchair into the passenger’s seat for a 3 hour drive to the courthouse in Sacramento. Before they could leave, the lawyer called again announcing the judge had ruled in his favor. There was no need to appear in court. On top of finally receiving his first check, more than a years worth of compensation was awarded for the SS office’s negligence. And on this night, face to face inside the gallery he thanked Matsui. I believe even the assistant that talked to my brother on the phone was there as well. This event overshadowed my inability earlier to successfully describe the show to Matsui, and yet their interaction was the very expression of the idea with the exhibition where art doesn’t end when a painting is completed, or even after put on a wall for a show, but carries onward into the lives of those who might find themselves in contact with it.

     If you missed the opening, there will be a second one this Saturday August 12th at 1810 Gallery in Sacramento, CA. For more info, email at 1810gallery@gmail.com 

(Akira Beard) akira beard art art opening california doris matsui sacramento sacramento artist http://akirabeard.com/blog/2017/8/a-memorable-opening-art-is Wed, 09 Aug 2017 20:20:31 GMT
Art is... http://akirabeard.com/blog/2017/7/art-is  Art is...

         Art is…’, is the title for an upcoming show at 1810 Gallery in Sacramento, California. The inspiration with making an art show about art came from location. Although having left twenty years ago, I was raised in Sacramento. Growing up here was challenging for a sensitive, introverted, artistic individual in an environment void of artist culture. Especially during a time prior to social media or even the internet, my only community besides the occassional artist classmate was myself. Since however, art has become part of the social landscape and I was taken back after witnessing an event earlier in the year called 'ArtStreet'. It was overwhelmingly inspirational seeing a gathering of artists using creativity and aesthetics in expressing personal ideas. The large wherehouse turned art museum was filled not just with beautiful pieces, but pieces communicating social, political, existential ideas, etc. I never imagined returning to this city and participating artistically here, but this show alone made it a no brainer. Returning to my place of origin has brought up the past. Speaking within the framework of art, my memories quickly take me to the roots of my creativity during the earliest days of childhood.  And although i've developed tremendously since, coincidentally I found myself stumbling into this initial inner world with picture making just before returning to Sacramento. This has been the real return with the rediscovery of the bliss, joy of creativity as a child, which slowly became lost from on life's course of developing into an adult. And so with the continuation in giving form to the inner world with drawing and painting, the following stories are the source of their initial formlessness. Enjoy.

           Before learning to write the alphabet I was already drawing pictures. And all the years following never without acception have I deviated from the act, regardless of who I was or my life situation. Similar to sleeping, eating, breathing, etc., it functioned almost on a purely involuntary level, and similar to those things, as a means with survival. This was far more the case growing up where I never thought about it. There was never a reason to. I simply did it, every day. So much was the case, when I first decided what do with the rest of my life at 19, pursuing a career involving drawing wasn't apparent. I mean not even for a second did I conceive any possibility. So I enrolled in college with the aim of joining the corporate world after towards climbing the ladder of financial security and success.  


    Along with taking the required liberal art courses of history, math, science, etc., I slipped an art class in each semester. My first class was an introduction to general art making. It was here I would be served that painful apple of knowledge, robbing me of the innocence with drawing as a mindless act, and beginning towards becoming self conscious. During a critique where the assignment was to draw a still life, the teacher bluntly told me how my drawings were not art. They were illustration, and she explained the difference. For the first time I questioned with confusion what I had been doing my entire life, as if it were wrong. There was a method, a definition, a criteria, a standard and I was unaware of it, and felt inferior to it. Having no point of reference, it was difficult to fully grasp what the teacher was describing. It hurt emotionally however, leaving a lasting impact sending me onto a path of inquiry. Officially cast out the garden of my childhood, it would be far later on this journey where I would discover the destination point was in arriving back at this beginning. And twenty years later, symbolically do I find myself unintentionally painting circles at this arrival point. Not only do I find it's meaning reflective with having come full circle, the mindset in which they are painted is that of when i first made pictures as a kid. 


(Akira Beard) about art akira beard art art show drawing fine art painting sacramento art http://akirabeard.com/blog/2017/7/art-is Wed, 26 Jul 2017 16:24:47 GMT
Life Stories (episode 2) My second experience with LSD and Art making http://akirabeard.com/blog/2017/3/life-stories-episode-2-my-second-experience-with-lsd-and-art-making watercolor on Yupo paper, 11"x14", 2017watercolor on Yupo paper, 11"x14", 2017


           My second experience with the drug LSD happened at the beginning of summer in 2016. I’m not sure if it was a ‘bad’ trip or not. Its impact nonetheless was intense. So much so it still resonates more than half a year later. I was with my friend Ace at his apartment in the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY. It was late afternoon when I met him on the street after he just returned from a trip to the art store having bought a ridiculous amount of supplies. We carried it in and set up a painting station on the living room floor to paint that night. He had the idea of dropping acid, but i wasn’t sure about it myself because of the conditions. The environment was congested. There was the small interior space of the apartment that was more like an artist’s studio than a living space with paint everywhere. The apartment building was surrounded by similar buildings that stretched out for miles with no end. This was the opposite from my first experience with the drug a year before where i was in the spacious, solitude of the countryside. Ace poured a drop of the transparent liquid LSD on a paper tissue creating a stain the size of a dime. The stain’s shape resembled a cock with testicles, and this became the joke of the night. He suggested starting with half a dose, using the language of choosing to swallow the cock or the balls but not both at once. I can’t recall which I chose. We began painting on the floor of the living room and immediately all distractions were removed as I lost myself to the process of painting. We did a few collaborations and I was feeling great. Great in the way of how joyous it was to be painting with my friend. I didn’t notice any effects from the drug beyond this, but in a moment this changed. Ace suggested we relocate onto the small balcony. A tiny stretch of cement, with just enough space for the two of us to paint on, we clumsily layed out materials. Ace struggled with the mini speaker as well, getting it to work properly outside. I became self conscious suddenly, feeling exposed, but i went along with it. It was a beautiful scene, a dark summer night in NY, sitting here on a top floor balcony overlooking the backyards of all the neighbors below though know one was out. Further out the the tall buildings of Manhattan lit up with its lights. Ace put on gregorian chant music and it seemed a bit loud. It probably wasn’t, but the unusual silence of the city felt amplified from the vulnerable state with being under the influence of this drug. I didn’t want to affect Ace with the sourness I felt coming on so I just sat with it. It was a challenging situation, one where i had no experience with and my mishandling of it turned to paranoia. I thought of the neighbors calling the cops and knocking on the door? My imagination created a cinema with Ace reacting to the police aggressively and the 2 of us hauled off to the station with me tripping out in the back of a squad car. Thoughts like these were gaps in the spaces where I returned my attention to painting. I mentioned the music’s volume and Ace’s response was a shrug saying, “Yo, this is Bushwick!”. I got his point. No one cared, but I couldn’t shake my worry. I layed out a few small canvas sheets on the ground and painted with blue and white. Ace pointed my attention to the moon, and it looked like a giant slice of lime. I was taken back by its glowing radiance and suddenly the ground beneath vanished and it felt as if I were floating into the black void of the night sky. The gregorian chant was a reinforcing soundtrack creating a holy atmosphere. It was magnificent for a moment, but I couldn’t shake off being surrounded by thousands of strangers even if they were concealed in their homes. It was too much because of the people element, and it brought on some anxiety. I calmly told Ace I was going back in. We weren’t out long at all so I’m sure my behavior was obvious with how I was feeling. I returned to the position of sitting on my knees, hunched over a canvas on the floor. The hallucinations were only beginning, and the paint became alive with a pulse. I lost all control of it. The canvas was like a cage, and the paint a living creature wanting to be free. It ran off the page slowly and I could only watch it. I gave up using a brush and moved my arms in the air over the piece in a tai chi like motion waving my arms thru the wrists into the hands as if making small waves, influencing the direction of the paint. It was working! Overwhelmed by paint, I grabbed the small bag of chalk pastels nearby. There were hundreds of them in a black plastic bag, the kind they give you at the liquor store. Reaching for a color, the interior of the bag appeared ancient with all the crumbled chalk bits and dust speckling in the light like gold. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. This was all too much and I wanted the trip to end but it was just beginning. Before any of this Ace mentioned if having a bad trip, taking Xanax would knock one into a deep sleep into the next day. I asked for some at this point where he replied with shock, ‘What!? Already?’. This caused me to second guess myself and trust he was suggesting I shouldn’t miss out on this opportunity. This moment became an episode like the movie Ground Hog Day where I experienced this same brief conversation over and over, losing concept of time altogether. “What about the Xanax?”. “What about the Xanax?” No matter what was happening, i would find myself reliving this moment kneeled down on the floor over my painting with Ace on my right positioned similarly, asking about the Xanax. His answer always changed slightly, and I could no longer tell if this was being re-inacted in my head or was i actually asking each time. Terror grabbed me, fearingI was stuck in this situation for eternity. It came in waves, and yet there was a salvation that lifted me above it though I always fell right back into it. My salvation was in the grand beauty of the world. All it’s colors in particular. Perhaps influenced by the Gregorian music, the Catholic image of the feminine appeared in my mind’s eye. The thought of painting her over and over washed away all my human suffering. I felt a deep motivation in my soul to work with such an image. And after this entire experience, the motivation remains just as fresh. This was all feeling, in the face of the turmoil of my thoughts and emotions as well as the hallucinations. I didn’t see or hallucinate the image of the female saint, but i felt her stronger making it just as real if not more than anything tangible. I found myself traveling deeper into the feeling of bliss. I was scared I might not return from it, yet I allowed myself to go further. Ace would make a comment, usually cracking a joke now and then which acted like an anchor returning me to reality. I was grateful as if he were doing it intentionally for this reason. Although I must say commenting on subjects such as Hitler having a micro penis didn’t help matters for me, or being told you’re not that far from being a living Van Gogh. Thanks Ace. At one point I traveled so far away into that feeling and came back to myself with such force that I involuntary clapped my hands over my head. It was like being woken up from a daydream by a car crash right before the moment of impact. My hands for whatever reason were already in prayer form. The clap caught Ace’s attention with him still painting ten feet to my right. I didn’t even try to explain what i was going thru. I looked over at him and there was the large head of a demon coming off of his canvas. It was alive and moving its head about. Ace was calm as could be, in absolute control of the thing as me moved his brush around. It was like a domesticated pet to him. I turned my head away in shock. I was distressed by the sight, yet I couldn’t help but return my glance. He came over at one point to talk and I was distracted by how he was fragmenting before my eyes. The contours of his entire body were breaking away into pixels that dissolved into the air. I went to use the restroom, and the bathroom was covered in a neon glow as if it were a forest illuminated by moss. Dead flower life began forming from the ground and tiny specks of dirt or dust moved taking the form of ants. I urniated and the liquid was pure neon. I thought of a story with the Buddha in that moment, and how everywhere he stepped flowers grew in his footsteps. This changed the space, where the rotting vegetation became tiny flowers that budded in all sorts of colors. I returned to the living room and found Ace in the kitchen. I went over to him and was caught by how beautiful he appeared. He was radiating an aura like the pictures of the saints in Catholic churches. He was a living stain glass entity. I couldn’t help but say how beautiful he appeared. He laughed. There was a self portrait I had given him and he placed on his wall. We looked at it together. I had done the painting over a decade ago. Like one of those reflector images that changes with every angle you tilt it at, becoming a new image. The self portrait changed from youth to elder in a slow chronological evolution. The beauty of it all floored me and I felt such an honor to be involved in a tradition, a ritual such as painting. The night carried on in these ways. Traveling on a spectrum between freaking out and being blissed. Dawn eventually arrived. I again asked for the Xanax and Ace placed a few in my hand. The repeating episodes were gone after. I was already feeling the return to feeling ‘normal’ again, and the Xanax made me a bit drowsy but i couldn’t sleep. I was too excited. I went to the rooftop and looked at the sun rising over Manhattan. I looked over the edge and saw Ace on the balcony painting away still. Oblivious to the rest of the world. I felt excited and relieved as if having just survived a trauma I felt grateful to have gone thru. 

      Below you will see images of some of the works that were made during the session described above. enjoy

painting by Ace where I looked over and saw the head of a demon coming to life from the canvas

painting made by me early in the stages after having taken LSD

painting by Ace during the session. This may have been a collaboration between us, but if so it is mostly his doing. I love this one

Collaboration with Sek3, 2016Collaboration with Sek3, 2016 collaboration piece we made together on the balcony 

(Akira Beard) acid akira beard art art therapy lsd painting portrait yupo http://akirabeard.com/blog/2017/3/life-stories-episode-2-my-second-experience-with-lsd-and-art-making Sat, 11 Mar 2017 21:32:00 GMT
Life Stories http://akirabeard.com/blog/2017/2/life-stories         self portrait 7, charcoal on newsprint paper, (2002)self portrait 7, charcoal on newsprint paper, (2002)       ‘Life Stories’ are the stories behind many of the art pieces I have made. From the beginning with my first body of work around 13 years ago, I made art from the intention with coming to know myself deeper. This would take a course of natural progression going from the highly personal and into a more impersonal expression from the development I underwent with the discoveries that came from using Life as the source which to make art from. And because of this, the creative process with art has always been less concerned with the resolution of painting and drawing problems. It has always been more than an event of playing with aesthetics, more than the designing of visual elements that form a composition. For myself, art has been a medium to explore the Life i’ve been given. 

headpiece 6, watersoluble oil on wood panel, 11"x 14", 2011headpiece 6, watersoluble oil on wood panel, 11"x 14", 2011        I imagine if you could reverse engineer the portrait paintings by two different artists what would be revealed? After removing the impressionistic brush strokes, the layering of colors, the building of forms, the variations in mark making, etc. what would be exposed beneath it all? One artist would reveal the emptiness of a blank canvas where the art was nothing more than these elements now removed from the finished result of a painting. The other would reveal a story, where the purpose to paint the portrait was born not from a motivation to create an image for the sake of painting itself, but from a Life experience. I was in an artist friend’s studio a few weeks back, and I noticed the large size portraits painted in acrylic, and obviously in progress that covered much of the space like wall paper. He hadn’t worked with the subject since a few years back and so I asked him about it. Hugh had just returned from traveling around Spain, and began telling the story of a man he had met in the community kitchen at a hostel. The man happened to have lived for 14 years in Hugh’s hometown of San Francisco, but decided he wanted to travel the world by car which he did for the next 20 years with his wife and son. They had been to many places around the world, always by driving there. The man had made a book about his journey with photographs and writings. Hugh only took a single photograph during his travels, and it was of this man with the intention to paint his portrait from having met him. He went on to tell me the stories behind each painting. I asked if he had any interest to incorporate somehow the stories behind them. Hugh did not. Hearing these backgrounds enriched the overall expression of the work, giving it depth, meaning and yet the viewer will only see the painting of these individuals.The paintings on their own are quite extraordinary, but after knowing the contents behind them I can't help but experience them after as rather ordinary as if presented incomplete. 

      I’ve always had the wish to bring forth the motivations left invisible in the background with any finished piece of art. And finally here feels like the right moment to begin the task. To integrate the visual with the literate, and bring completion to the several paintings and drawings made over 3 bodies of work since 2003. The format to achieve this will be a book, and thru this blog the beginning point to start from. I give you ‘Life Stories’.

     Where to begin? I could start from the very beginning, and work my way to the present but that is overwhelming. I know this from having tried over and over, over the past few years. And so I will just write.

     It was my first experience with LSD. It was in the summer of 2015, upstate NY. In all places for this initiation… Woodstock. How cliche. My friend, fellow artist, Ace acted as a guide with setting up the perfect situation. He was very experienced in the matter, and took care of every detail for the ideal situation. We set ourselves up in a large summerhouse buried in and above the forest, overlooking the NY reservoir. There were some neighboring houses nearby, but not a soul occupied them. The backyard itself from a 2 story patio deck led down to the beginning of the forest having no trail or boundaries. You could walk in and get lost. Ace regulated my dosage giving me half a regular full dose. The drug was a tiny wet stain on a tissue paper. I put it on my tongue and walked into the side yard meadow where it quickly dissolved. I didn’t know what to expect and quickly became a little nervous. This went away as I enjoyed the beauty of the tall grass and trees. I noticed mechanical junk spread everywhere. Circuit boards, car parts, machinery, wires and so on. Then I saw handsize plastic baby doll heads, the kind from an early era where the eyes look real with colored glass and the eyelids open and shut and have dark mascara eyelashes. The heads were decapitated, place on the tops of long skewers erected from the ground like you might see on the movie set of a tribal cannibal village. I came to find out an artist from the sixties made sculptures all thru out the area using recycled parts as I was witnessing here. It didn’t freak me out much, but it moved me to return to the house. Ace and I had set up separate painting stations, around 30 feet apart. Still I felt no different than usual, and began to paint as a distraction from the concern if the drug will ever take effect or not.

watercolor on yupo, 11"x14", 2015watercolor on yupo, 11"x14", 2015            layed down watercolor on a sheet of paper and had no idea what I had just painted. It was done almost as soon as I started.  My intuition with this knowing, the confidence i felt with putting the brush down felt intensely clear like never before. Excited I transported the piece to inside the house to preserve, eager to paint more. I remarked enthusiastically to Ace what just occurred and he smiled as he continued to paint on the deck. We had many insights over the following hours all the while painting, and now and then one would walk to the others station interrupting to share some. The conversations were fulfilling. During one of these Ace wanted to read the final letter he had written to his very recent ex-lover. I stood listening attentively as he read the short paragraph from his phone. Towards the end I felt the sensation of small tears forming in the corners of my eyes. This only escalated and just as he read the last word I had to excuse myself. We parted ways and I was desperate for privacy as if suddenly naked. I walked maybe ten feet and collapsed to all fours in the gravel of the drive way. Tears poured from me violently and primordial involuntary sounds came from my mouth with the convulsions that come with heavy crying. I didn’t feel pain though, i felt release. I didn’t feel embarrassed, I felt the necessity, the relief that I could finally cry this hard in my Life. If even only once. And i felt grateful, if LSD offered this alone I was content. After a few minutes I picked myself up and walked towards the meadow but collapsed again just as I reached it. I didn’t know what was happening to me, but I was okay to let it happen. I cried more and looked up realizing I was in front of a burial ground with a cluster of rocks with a single heart shaped stone centered and on top as the tombstone. Above hung a line of tiny colorful flags similar to Tibetan prayer flags with the image of a dog’s paw on all of them. I cried more and suddenly Ace’s dog Macey came running by my side. She rolled around in the grass, flopping around on her back and looking into my eyes the entire time. I began to laugh and give her a hug, thanking her as if she were an angel descending to comfort the suffering.  Empathetic Suffering, watercolor on Yupo, 2015Empathetic Suffering, watercolor on Yupo, 2015       I walked back to my station and started a new canvas. I didn’t think too hard, just painted. It was again a rapid piece. It was apparent the painting reflected the experience i had just undergone, as if the canvas were a polaroid taken during the trip and now exposed the image of the experience taken. The experience of empathy was overwhelming, yet wonderfully phenomenal and now I had a tangible record of it.  "Ordered Chaos", mixed media on Yupo paper, 2015"Ordered Chaos", mixed media on Yupo paper, 2015        Continuing to paint I began to have more extraordinary experiences. Every color I reached for was the right one, every stroke i made felt correct. The usual inner critic was absent for once. The inner child thrived without restraint and I imagined this is what it must have been like as an infant, when I first made pictures and hadn’t yet developed ideas of right and wrong. Pure joy and play, absolute bliss in painting. I became an observer to my own hand as if a higher intelligence was leading it. I watched it load the brush with black ink, and in a rapid but precise succession of 3 or 4 movements like a martial art form, complete the painting with an exclamation mark felt in the action of the stroke, symbolized in the marks left by it on the canvas. The next painting I found myself trying to recreate the awesome experience, and so the painting failed all together. But the impression the previous one left, excited me to reflect later on in hopes to integrate it back into my sober process.

The Last Unicorn in the Valley of the Doll, watercolor on yupo, 11"x14", 2015The Last Unicorn in the Valley of the Doll, watercolor on yupo, 11"x14", 2015           One last piece I would like to mention from this session was of an abstract horse. Like the others, it happened on its own so to speak. I had been wanting to give my friend Angel a painting as a gift, and I knew it was to be this piece. Bringing it from the painting station into the house, Ace commented how it looked like The Last Unicorn. I had no idea what he was talking about, and he mentioned an animation from his childhood having this title, though he didn’t recall any details. Later in the evening when finally done with painting for the day, I sat inside the house to rest. Looking on my phone a friend had posted in social media her excitement that The Last Unicorn was now available on Netflix. I told this to Ace and he laughed at the coincidence.  The Red Bull, watercolor on yupo, 11"x14, 2015The Red Bull, watercolor on yupo, 11"x14, 2015  The next day I would do a full dose of LSD and paint the day away again. The first piece made turned out to be a reddish orange cow. Later this day I again went on my phone and curious about The Last Unicorn I read a synopsis on Wikipedia, and learned the nemesis to the unicorn was a red bull. I was at having painted the cow earlier, and telling this to Ace he laughed. A few days later when we returned to Brooklyn, I framed the painting and went to the post office to ship it out. I had written the friend’s name, Angel, in a cursive font on the package. After my turn at the counter, a young woman took my place where she caught my attention with her unusual accent along with her loud voice. I turned to look just before exiting, and she was tall wearing a very short skirt with large hole fishnet stockings and two words covered the entirety of each rear thigh. ‘Angel Face’ is what it read, written in the same generic cursive font I had used. I wanted to take a photo, but i already felt like a pervert staring at her along with all the other men in the post office. I texted Ace immediately sharing the further coincidence. He didn’t answer so I returned to the studio where he had just returned himself. He was at the pet store getting food for Macey, when he saw a customer he was convinced was his ex. She was just ahead of him in line and he couldn’t quite tell. Then he saw one of her arms which had a tattoo confirming it wasn’t her. The tattoo however read the single word ‘Angel’. Wanting to surprise Angel, I didn’t notify her that I was sending a gift. The piece was a few days past its arrival date, and I became nervous. The tracking showed it was in the city of arrival waiting for delivery. The surprise would have been a nice touch, but I decided to contact her and ask if she got it or not risking the surprise. Doing this, I happened to catch her in the moment where we were both online. Just as I was about to ask, she received the painting in that moment with the postman bringing it to her door.         Native is an artist I recently met in France. I wasn’t sure at first why I was in France at all really, but it became very clear after while living alone with Native for 2-3 weeks where we spent a good portion of each day passing drawing books between each other, collaborating on drawing after drawing often with long periods of silence between us although sitting just feet apart. Our dialogue was occuring loudly in our collaborative process. I was here to meet this individual on the Life, Art path. (continued)


(Akira Beard) akira beard art art therapy life drawings life stories love writing http://akirabeard.com/blog/2017/2/life-stories Wed, 15 Feb 2017 21:15:12 GMT
Life Drawings, an interview http://akirabeard.com/blog/2016/8/life-drawings-an-interview Life Drawings, an interview...

'Life Drawing #21', ink on paper, 6"x8", 2016'Life Drawing #21', ink on paper, 6"x8", 2016


Q: Can you please discuss this current body of work you’ve titled ‘Life Drawings’? Is their a meaning to it’s title? Was it inspired by anything?

A: The title came to me somewhere in the process of making the works. I found myself drawing figure after figure, and I guess Life Drawing came to mind thinking of the tradition where an artist works from a living human model as a subject of reference for their drawing or painting, which is generally know as ‘Life Drawing’. For myself however, the model is not a human subject but is life itself. So its just playing with words and meanings. 

Q: How long have you been working on ‘Life Drawings’?

A: Off and on for just over a year.  

Q: Can you talk about your process? 

A: The process is quite simple. Its really just a matter of drawing. I sit down with paper and a pen, and draw.


'Life Drawing #1', ink on paper, 6"x8", 2016'Life Drawing #1', ink on paper, 6"x8", 2016 'Life Drawing #32', ink on paper, 11"x14", 2017'Life Drawing #32', ink on paper, 11"x14", 2017












Q: Can you elaborate on that? I notice the drawings are mainly figures intermingling in all sorts of ways with one another. What reference do you use in getting various gestures and correct anatomy for example?

A: Its mainly imagination. This is also backed with learned knowledge of course with drawing, but the latter is just a vehicle serving with riding in the passenger's seat on the paper wherever the hand and head decide to go. With the blank page, I give myself to not knowing what I will draw at all. Acting with spontaneity, reacting after with intuition, then using the conscious mind with bringing more clarity and form to things that begin to appear on the page. I’m finding this approach to be a way which opens a door into the subconscious, revealing hidden aspects within that I wasn’t before aware of. Im finding it extraordinarily fascinating for this reason alone, as if coming to know a most intimate stranger a bit more each day but oddly having spent every second of my life up till then, with them always near. So I guess this stranger really, is the model that I'm calling life. 

Q; It looks like your painting the series as well?

A: Yes. Although I mentioned the meaning to the title with Life Drawing earlier, I wouldn’t restrict myself just so it can make sense or whatever. For example, that I should only do drawings because the body of work is ‘Life Drawings’. I like to keep the whole thing open, even if that means it all may go in a direction that is completely somewhere else. Which it sort of is. So naturally, since I paint the exploration has recently found its way there. More exciting is to explore new forms of creativity, new mediums which I've been doing recently with film. Also I've been collaborating with other artists and their preferred mediums such as a writer, a photographer, and more.


Q: What have you learned from making this series of work so far?

A: Its a little early to tell. I’m too involved in the work and haven’t really stepped back where I can see it in it’s entirity. But I can say i’m inspired to continue going further by whats coming out. I was thinking about all the stuff that we hold inside ourselves. In our heads, in our bodies, in our hearts. You know, the accumulated life experience. The thoughts, emotions, memories that result from it. What do we do with it? I’m inspired by, and this work relates to, not only my own, but the many stories I’ve heard, all the different individuals i’ve known and continue to hear from the lives they’ve lived. Its phenomenal just how much every person will go thru in their lifetime. Such a thought came somewhere along the way with looking at the drawings that were manifesting, in my eyes seeing pieces of us all in them. 

Q: Do you have a favorite piece, or a piece that you feel represents what your trying to express?

A: I made a painting just a week ago where in its process and result, reflects what i am going for with Life Drawing. I have no recollection of how I painted it, although it was quite rapid and again only a week ago. What I do remember however, is that I painted the piece horizontally, and settled with it as purely abstract. No representation of anything identifiable, but I must have liked the overall feeling it conveyed or something. A few hours later as it was put aside to dry, I walked by then seeing it with not only fresh eyes, but in a vertical position. It was experienced as a new painting altogether, and I saw the obvious profile of a portrait. So much so as if it were intentional. It was an odd experience, looking at this piece where I knew I had painted it, yet feeling as if I hadn’t. Or even, feeling something else had. Furthermore, I enjoyed sitting with it days later because of the feeling that it conveyed with its colors, marks, and subject. All of this felt sublime, and although I was the creator, I don’t see how I could create such a thing consciously. I think its impossible. I could now copy it, but that wouldn’t be the same. So this process of the mysterious manifested, the invisible made visible, abstraction transformed into a visual representation of symbol is a creative process/result that I'm chasing with the Life Drawing series. I say this in hindsight, thru realization after the fact. Taking the first steps I had no conscious intentions at all with any of this.  



Q: Is there an ultimate aim? Is there something you hope the viewer can take from the Life Drawing Series?

A: I have my own intentions, but I’d rather not elaborate on them. I don’t see the point to. I just hope that for the viewer, the artwork will be of benefit in whatever shape that may take.  


Q: So whats next?

A: Well, just continuing the work until its finished. Also, I’m working on making art print,s as well as a book. I have the first prints ready and hoping to release them in the following week. The book although in development, may or may not be finished until the body of work is complete but that hasn’t been decided.  


Q: Thank you Akira for taking the time, and I look forward to seeing more Life Drawings.

A: Thank you. I as well. 

(Akira Beard) akira beard art crosshatching drawing figure drawing fineart ink life drawing http://akirabeard.com/blog/2016/8/life-drawings-an-interview Mon, 22 Aug 2016 16:29:35 GMT
House on Fire http://akirabeard.com/blog/2016/7/house-on-fire

"House on Fire", collaborative painting by Sek3 and Akira Beard

           I dreamed I was in a large house. It was occupied by several people. Many of whom felt familiar like acquaintances, yet distant in the way that I didn’t know anyone’s name.  One room I was in, had me laying in bed with a woman. She was close to middle age, sort of attractive with an amazing body, and aggressive with the desire for sex. It was late, I was tired, but was kept up by her demands and a nervous energy. The nervousness came from a man laying in the same bed next to us. She in the middle, he and I on either side. He was awake, facing our direction but having a nonchalant attitude towards the pseudo intimacy occurring next to him. I wasn’t really occupied with his presence, but felt confused by it. Why doesn’t he leave? The woman pushed herself on me, but I just didn’t share the same libido and wanted to leave. We didn’t have sex. I exited looking for a bathroom. The house’s interior was in bad shape, looking as if it were in the process of still being built, or it was coming apart. It was hard to tell. I entered a large empty room with high ceilings. I went up some stairs to a bathroom that was just a corner of the room boxed off by 2 tall boards of fiber wood clumsily nailed together. Inside there was only room to stand, impossible to even sit on the toilet. I opened the door slightly looking out, and saw a man with a group of youths around middle school aged looking up at me. I closed the door and locked it. As I began to pee, a long electrical wire thin as string with its ends split open exposing tiny strands of wiry copper encased in rubber tubing fell swinging from a large gap in the corner of the wall. It crossed with my stream of urine as it swung back into the wall’s gap. Immediately smoke began rising from the gap, followed by a small flame. I could see a small stack of unused paper towels folded in squares like one sometimes does when out of toilet paper. The top piece having caught fire, I pulled it out and stomped it into ashes extinquinshing the flame. There was more paper deeper in the gap out of reach. A fire broke from it, getting into the walls and I began to panic. This house was on its way to a rapid complete incineration. My mind racing, the first instinct was to run thru out the house shouting “Fire! FIRE!!”. Just as quickly, I was halted by the self awareness that this was my doing. I felt guilt, shame, fear that the lives of others was ruined by my hands. The entire situation completely overwhelmed me into a state of shock and paralysis… then I woke up. Eyes opening, I felt confused in the first seconds with shifting into reality. My heart still racing, where was the fire that surrounded me? In a flash, gone? Then I realized it was a dream, and my heart calmed into relief. It was 6 am, and fully awake now I was grateful it wasn’t ‘real’. 


Song "Melancholy and the Infinite Sadness by Smashing Pumpkins


(Akira Beard) akira beard art house on fire oilpainting painting wip http://akirabeard.com/blog/2016/7/house-on-fire Thu, 07 Jul 2016 16:43:45 GMT
Drawing from Life... a collaborative artpiece with Sek3 http://akirabeard.com/blog/2016/4/life-drawing

      I started the day with sitting in a chair and drawing on a pad with pen, forming a cluster of figures. I’m here in a hotel in another country. The landscape isn’t that different from the U.S., I don’t however speak the local language. Waking up before the friends I’m staying with here, I’m unsure how to begin the day. Regardless of which however, I can always resort to drawing and so i do.  My friend Sek awakes a bit later, whereafter I decide to venture into the world for a cup of coffee. Upon returning an hour later, he smiles, showing me how he has added to the drawing while I was away. I didn’t mind at all, especially with how he expresses his pleasure in adding more figures to the cluster describing its process similar to solving a puzzle. My mind escapes me as I listen,  reflecting on all the people in my life and  even into the brief interactions I only earlier had, with for example, trying to order a grande vanilla latte with nonfat milk in a language i don’t speak. Here I was solving the riddle in the interacton between a barista and I, while simultaneously a bigger cluster of inner mental figures tangled, wrestling one another for position. Figures of anxiety, confidence, play, artist, consumer, idiot all overlapping at once, trying to communicate to this fellow person that i want nonfat milk. Luckily he was patient and kind with the petty affair. As I write this now, the following day from these events, I sit on a balcony high up in the same hotel where I can see a team of construction workers laboring together towards the erection of a neighboring building that is likely to be another hotel. They resemble ants more than humans in these efforts, working as a single body in their collective uniform, each individual going about their assigned task but as a unit. Another cluster that melts the parts into a whole. The separated parts that have their own personal worlds, and yet together form the world itself. 

    And so later that same previous day, from  early evening and into the hour just after midnight, Sek and I worked on a number of collaborative paintings. The first of these were the continuation with approaching the multifigure clusters that I have been creating on my own in this Drawing from Life Project. And so how lovely, where the opportunity occurs effortlessly with bringing this idea of relating to one’s self and with others, literally now here in the creative course of making art with he and I painting together. This integration of art with life never fails to leave a lasting impression on me. Of which gives trace with many of the works i’ve ever made, a story to be told with how they came to be. Such with these created together over this nite.  We each began a separate piece, laying down a figure on canvas with pencil and passing the two between each other. There was no direction other than working from the basis of this initial placement of figures, and I think he and I work together well in this way where this relating to one another on canvas, is without struggle/tension and opens up to a joyful interaction of play that invites absolute possibilities, where more often than not surprises us both in the results manifested. This artists interaction is casual, simple and easy as if talking to a friend in conversation with shared mutual interests, and without boundary. Everything is open without secret or hesitation, having no idea where any of it will go, and no resistance exists towards which. Just a sincere, honest, vulnerable dialogue. And with relating with others, not much more than such things attract my interest more. Yet sadly more often than not, I find others unwilling and/or are unable to relate with in this way. When the piece was complete, another friend/artist walked by adding to it the title, "This is Woman, This is Man... they can't live without each other". And so the cluster grows. Among ourselves, among each other. Drawing from Life continues, and please enjoy the slide show documenting the process of this piece.

(song for slideshow "handle with care" by Kid Cudi)


(Akira Beard) akira beard art drawing figure drawing ink kid cudi life drawing love in spite of everything sek3 http://akirabeard.com/blog/2016/4/life-drawing Mon, 04 Apr 2016 19:36:53 GMT
The Self Portrait Project and the Psyche... http://akirabeard.com/blog/2016/3/the-self-portrait-project-and-the-psyche        

        There are several layers to the Self. The personality, the psyche, the inner world of each our individual selves. My work as artist, and the life I live are integrated with the aim in peeling apart those layers. The Self Portrait Project is a continuation with having done this beginning around 15 years ago, my initiation with taking that first step towards the journey of who I am occured with looking into a mirror and then drawing what was reflected back. In his book “Memories, Dreams, and Reflections”, CG Jung experienced a dream where he was in a house having many floors where he began from the upper level and descended to its bottom. Each floor descended became more unfamiliar, eventually becoming archaic. From this dream he  realized each floor symbolized various levels of the human psyche where the top layer of knowing was the conscious, and below, the subconcious where beyond it contained the collective subconscious. With reference to his dream, my own life's exploration and reflected thru artwork has been my walking down those stairs in my own inner home. Its a phenomenal thing, at any point to look back on one’s life and witness how much one has grown consciously if having lived in such a way. How for example, when re-watching a film that one saw in childhood, such as Pinnochio, when viewed again years later one may come to see all sorts of meanings held within all sorts of symbolism. This of course not being limited to movie watching, more so experiencing all aspects within the realm of life itself. Including the world of dreaming!  Meanings holding clues to the riddles of existence. This is the wonder of mythology. How its archaic catalogue of stories are filled with endless portrayals of archetypes that reflect aspects of a primordial, basic generic self that crosses boundaries of culture and time, revealing the core of the collective Self, eternally relevant even to the unknowing invidivual drifting with haste in the course of the modern world of living, and separated from this nuclueus. And again with Jung, and his contributions to the field of better understanding the psyche, that divided self we become (the neurotic self) can gather it's pieces assembling them into a whole again recreating balance, harmony, connection, health in being. What he called ‘individuation’. 

    My creative process with artwork is held in being open to working in any sort of ways. Especially with one of the aims being exploration as described above, such an approach is crucial. The metaphor of emptying one's glass so it can be filled by another comes to mind. Like drinking the same liquid repitituously, how can one even begin to have the slightest idea of what all other variables taste like? And so as artist, being an open channel to the experience of where I am on any given day, which is always changing, is the approach. More and more ultimately, this process is anything but linear and nowhere near consistent. This naturally conflicts with how we are programmed since birth, and I find myself always in confrontation somehow with this conflict. Whether it is within, or outside of myself as in relation to others. This walking is more circular, like walking around a central point in the pattern of a circle within a maze that orbits from a central point that is the destination. Sometimes in this maze I become lost and stumble upon places I have been before. Its comforting to hold on to the past's familiarity after having gone into new territory that brings sometimes a sense of overwhelmingness from it. But I find it's important not to stay too long sitting in that seat of comfort, if one desires further realization of Self and the world. A few months ago I began drawing purely from imagination and intuition. I did it for around 2 months, then suddenly stopped. Beyond my earliest drawing period from childhood into adolescents, I haven’t really created in this way. Recently was different from then however, where not only technically was I now more advanced with drawing craft, but consciously I was naturally (and with much hard work the same) more developed as well. And so the 2 working together here, I was taken back by what was appearing on the paper. Its almost as if I were a witness to myself, watching someone else draw images in front of my eyes. And my excitement grew, which led into a slight mania with drawing first thing each morning as well as each night before sleeping,  over the course of a few weeks.  The rainbow  of my inner world was pouring out, and in moments I felt as if I were holding gold at the ends of some of these drawings. Their value being utterly personal. The unconscious was my greatest companion in my world of solitude and aloneness. It was like being awake and drawing my dreams effortlessly. It felt like being audience to a film that was foreign, yet strangely all too familiar after each scene passing. I understood everything it was saying in its cryptic language of visual symbol. Ironically, I also understood that consciously I could not say such things, and it was opposingly the subconscious' voice speaking, that expressed such things that could only be said by in the strange way of rather listening. Looking back now almost 2 months after this episode, I’m surprised I was able to keep that tunnel into the inner dimension open for as long as I did. I knew it was coming to an end when my conscious Self became controlling of the situation, wanting to formulate a consistency, concerned with the results. Still I tried, and ironically that was the problem. The process was one of spontaneity. And so how does one try to be spontaneous? Still I drew, but those doors closed more with each failure in this way.  Although failing to return here with drawing, maybe from the exhaustion with which, I recently found another entrance thru a side door with painting. Similar to  the drawings, here it was with with colors, strokes, that gave form to a puddle of abstraction, the image of inner experience whose meaning I smile in further awareness after. It is absolutely gratifying like discovering something that has been there all along, yet never noticed. I think of the movie Teen Wolf from the 1980's, where the main character becomes pretentious in his extroversion to achieve the one thing that he thinks will make him happy, the gorgeous head cheerleader of his highschool. He succeeds in winning her, yet it doesn't work out although it was a blast for a minute. In the end he comes to realize what he was really looking for was in the form of his childhood friend that always hinted at him for affection, yet he was always blind there to. And so he walked in the path of a complete circle, returning to the intitial starting point of his childhood where she was still there waiting and they lived happily ever after. I've experienced this quite literally as well as deeply symbolic. And again, the world holds meaning in abundance everywhere we turn our head. It is only from taking a responsibility in coming to know ourselves, that we may begin to develop the proper eyes that can see any of it. And if artist, to develop the hand just the same in drawing what has been seen, making the invisible visible to Self and others. Always more to come…. 'Life Drawing #40', ink on paper, 9"x12", 2016'Life Drawing #40', ink on paper, 9"x12", 2016  

'Life Drawing #81', ink on paper, 11"x14", 2015'Life Drawing #81', ink on paper, 11"x14", 2015 'Life Drawing #84', ink on paper, 11"x14", 2015'Life Drawing #84', ink on paper, 11"x14", 2015 'Life Drawing #35', ink on paper, 11"x14", 2016'Life Drawing #35', ink on paper, 11"x14", 2016

(Akira Beard) akira beard art cg jung oipainting painting portrait psyche self portrait project http://akirabeard.com/blog/2016/3/the-self-portrait-project-and-the-psyche Tue, 08 Mar 2016 18:20:27 GMT
The Self Portrait Project...sitting in solitude http://akirabeard.com/blog/2016/2/the-self-portrait-project

  The Self Portrait Project

             Currently living in solitude, separated from the world in many ways. Often alone except when spending time together with a close friend nearby. Although the aloneness can be painful some nights, it is invited inside intimately like a companion with the desire in coming to know more each day who they are, rather than as an enemy to be protected from, feared. I feel like a monk in sanctuary, tuning into an eternal silence that rests behind the noise and clutter grown accustomed to with modern living. I am not entirely alone however, where in writing these  words a church bell rings and a tribe of small children in Catholic school uniforms run to the playground just a hundred feet or so from my studio. This current artist’s studio is in a church building on the countryside of California near the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Last week as I took a break from painting and sat on the porch to rest my eyes, a monk visiting from Tibet approached asking for a chair. I grabbed one from inside, whereafter he and 2 other monks sat in a circle chanting in unison a mantra in their native tongue for half an hour at the table near me. The atmosphere is filled with an abundance of such spiritual and religious energy that feels nourishing, especially in evening hours when the only remaining figures are statues of catholic saints lit by moonlight. Its an opportunity I dare not miss, having the space to have such quality time with one’s self. I feel this way with many situations more often these days however, when able to let go of expectations of where I would rather be or who I wish to be with. Just before this I was living in New York for the better portion of the year, where the situation was the antithesis to this. There was little space to breathe much less find any real silence in its excess of energy, activity and people. And I dared not miss the opportunity to engage with that either. The difference I’m finding here is not feeling a need for more than to just be. How fast life passes when it is revolves around always doing. Ideally it would be filling to have both maybe. Such a thought arrives while painting these Self Portraits. Where the doing (the act of painting), is in being with the content of what is being painted. Drawing from the content of the inner world of thoughts, ideas, emotions, experiences… the inner Self. If you’ve followed the progress of the Self Portrait Project at all, you may notice the inconsistency with the imagery of the portraits. How they are not of a single individual. In regards to the inner Self portrayed however, they absolutely are representative of which. Every piece has a story attached, because each was painted only out of a necessity to express an interaction with living. Only in the studio space, do I find the pause in discovering life while it isn’t happening in brief, daily periods of creativity. Then its a return into the constancy of the world, traveling down its stream always in motion. I only speak on my own creative process of course, and what it has developed into. I paint, draw, write what is important. This my subjectivity, being the appreciation of the short life given, viewed from many angles. Expression, curiosity, engagement, examination, appreciation, and so on. Each painting represents pieces of this homage to living. So as individual artworks perhaps each appears as a random portrait in their separation, but together I hope they can form a single, broader portrait expressing the beautiful wonder contained within the spectrum of existence, drawing from the plane we are all born into, exist within, and finally leave from. 

(Akira Beard) akira beard art love in spite of everything oilpainting painting portrait self portrait the self portrait project http://akirabeard.com/blog/2016/2/the-self-portrait-project Fri, 12 Feb 2016 19:52:12 GMT
The Self Portrait Project http://akirabeard.com/blog/2016/1/the-self-portrait-project               Welcome to the blog for this current body of work in its development, "The Self Portrait Project". Here I will share the creative process during much of this exploration with process pictures, stories, and so forth. In the upcoming weeks, I will be opening up an online store where these pieces can be purchased. With this I will be using a sliding scale pricing system with the intention/effort to make any of these artworks available for all. If you found your way here, thank you for visiting and may you come and go uplifted. 



            Inspired after watching a documentary on artist Bryan Lewis Saunders, I began painting a self portrait everyday for a week. Saunders has remained true to this art form for more than 20 years, having never missed a day. You may be familiar with his work from an experiment where he spent 11 days under the influence on various drugs while continuing to make self portraits. Aside from this tiny aspect of his overall body of work,  Saunders is committed towards keeping true to this daily practice for the remainder of his life! I found the devotion alone extraordinary, but more so it was the expressiveness of the artwork that inspired a return for myself into Self Portraiture. Working within the boundaries of such a specific, single subject, each piece however turning out so differently from the next, expressing all sorts of varying aspects to the individual. Sometimes revealed as well are aspects relative to the broader world of the many.  Art aside, this has been an ongoing interest thru out most of my development. The curiosity born in children with arriving into the world as a foreigner and engaging with all things as much as possible, so as to become familiar with any of it. That curiosity never left, and each painting made is a reflection of its ongoing exploration. So here is artist as child remaining, looking into the mirror of the world and solitude, and reflecting back what is seen from the eyes of intuitive creation, one painting at a time. And with these artworks, and those to follow I present The Self Portrait Project. 


(Akira Beard) akira beard art oil painting portrait self portrait project http://akirabeard.com/blog/2016/1/the-self-portrait-project Mon, 25 Jan 2016 19:14:37 GMT
Love in Spite of Everything... the process of a current body of expression http://akirabeard.com/blog/2015/1/love-in-spite-of-everything-the-process-of-a-current-body-of-expression              Love eternal. When lovers separate, is the love over? Was love dependent on form, time and space? Was it little more than a condition, existing as ecstasy? When the marriage ends and the two walk away from one another do they detach themselves, start something new only to forget? The nature of our world is built on opposites. With birth comes death. The high and the low, inner and outer, the symbolic mind and heart. The experience of intimacy is a magical place of the irrational. A high place of bliss, where we allow ourselves the temporary ride of being vulnerable to its power but somewhere the bumps of the mind begin to appear taking us off course into territory that has us reaching for seat belts and a map. The shared ineffable correspondence of a formless experience becomes a matching of the semantics of "love". Will the definitions of our 2 individuals align or won't they? How do we come to define the nature of things that can't be defined. Where does one pull such meaning from in the first place? Why is it not enough to settle for the fruit of it's experience. Maybe this has to do with our need to make things last. Our often unconscious fear of death. That need to assert any belief we hold to be true to ourselves, for assurance that we have even the slightest sense of control. And so we control ourselves, feeling another to be obligated to ourselves simultaneously… in the name of "love". "If you really loved me you would/wouldn't…" Yet how beautiful, when one finds it within to go beyond one's self here, making one's self vulnerable to an overcoming of self creating an opening for the world to pour into.  Beyond the pragmatism that shapes the world with clumsy fingers. Here one is back on track, if one is interested in love. Gone is the map, seat belts unbuckled. A trust in the basic goodness of what lay ahead in uncertainty. Its like seeing the world for the first time. Mile after mile. And this enthusiasm need not stop here. At the point of separation, the loudest alarm going off bringing entire intensity of emotional hemorrhaging from the heart. And the mind steps in like a dam, terrified of the loss of control. And if one doesn't catch this crucial moment, life forms into divided conflict separating ourselves from ourselves with the building of walls protecting us from pain. Becoming the accumulation of all that we avoid, we become heavy to ourselves. But we can just as easily become light. That is the beauty of it all. The human will. The will to Love. To love the end, where revealed upon doing which is that there is no end. There are only the ends that our mind's create. And so these following pieces are the process of those walls removed. "Love in spite of everything". Regardless of the circumstances existing alongside all the bliss, bringing a marriage of opposites and embracing with open arms, both with equal enthusiasm.. love.

           The insights reflected from the words above come from the life experience. And although "Love in Spite of Everything", was motivated by the experience of intimacy, it is not limited to. Such a place aided in the awakening of discovery as how I've come to experience love (mostly by experiencing what love is not), and this extended into a love that is met with the world at large. And so I will share current reflections of life exploration, that is the catalyst towards going to the studio and making art that aims at embodying the treasures of realization. Enjoy.

             Succulent Studios in Brooklyn, New York in October nearing three months past. The opening of my "Inadvertent Solo Show", was approached with the enthusiasm of open arms as mentioned above. My perspective was clear, centered. It all stemmed from one mantra alone. I'm so grateful to be here. To have been invited by strangers that placed nothing but support, confidence in my abilities. And to accept the invitation to bring forward my developed meaning up to this point, I unhesitatingly said Yes! And the fruits of a week's labor of living in the gallery, working from morning to night was about to be celebrated now. I enjoyed every second of the process up to which. Because I never forgot, how wonderful it is to have a breathe, and to breathe color into the world with it. I had no expectations. No extroverted concerns. I only accepted the challenges of the present in what ever they would be. But there revealed none. What occurred over the course of the evening was the most successful show I've have yet to participate in. My aim with all that I do is that it somehow benefit any other. That somehow what I represent can manifest human connection. Both outwardly, but especially inwardly. Whether its merely inspiration from the aesthetics of my works, or the deeper meanings there content holds, I always hope somehow any of it will leave the viewer changed in a way better to themselves, towards their own well being. And so at this reception, it was amazingly consistent at how many individuals I met that collaborated with myself in this way. The dialogues I found myself in with complete strangers, that opened themselves to me of who they were and what they took from the show touched me so deeply. The defiency  that I so often experience in the world, that saddens me more than all else was non-existent here. I had to pinch myself more than once. Humans so loving of themselves, not hiding but revealing and interacting with curiosity, intrigue. Fearless of vulnerability, sharing in trust. I was offered a number of opportunities to continue these experiences beyond that night with some of these folks met. Invited into the intimacy of strangers worlds, some would become instant friends. One of which is Angela. "Angel of the Sun", whose experience with played a major motivating influence in the current body of work began following this show, 'Love in Spite of Everything'... To be continued


(Akira Beard) akira beard art love ny portrait watercolor yupo http://akirabeard.com/blog/2015/1/love-in-spite-of-everything-the-process-of-a-current-body-of-expression Sun, 25 Jan 2015 04:12:16 GMT
Religare... with the words of TS Elliot http://akirabeard.com/blog/2014/11/religare-with-the-words-of-ts-elliot religare, ink on paper, 5.5"x 8.5",2014religare, ink on paper, 5.5"x 8.5",2014

Some scholars have traced the origins of the word "religion" to it's latin roots of 'religare', translated as "to reconnect, bind". (re= again) (ligare= to bind)... It is with this re-connection that is at the heart of our fundamental struggle in, with all things in this world. It is also the completest victory if we are ever able bring the 2 together. As it once was, though with time, our choices had stretched a space between so far. May we meet one another there, on that mountain top of our shared destiny, fullfilled and be among one another in rejoice, grace, and peace.

   Excerpt from TS Elliot's poem "The Gidding"-

What we call the beginning is often the end
 And to make and end is to make a beginning.
The end is where we start from
...we shall not cease from exploration

And the end of all our exploring 
Will be to arrive where we started 

And know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, unremembered gate 

When the last of earth left to discover 
Is that which was the beginning; 

At the source of the longest river 

The voice of the hidden waterfall

And the children in the apple-tree
Not known, because not looked for

But heard, half-heard, in the stillness

Between two waves of the sea.

Quick now, here, now, always-- 
A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)

And all shall be well and
 All manner of thing shall be well

When the tongues of flames are in-folded 
Into the crowned knot of fire

And the fire and the rose are one.

(Akira Beard) TS Elliot akira beard art drawing religion spirituality http://akirabeard.com/blog/2014/11/religare-with-the-words-of-ts-elliot Mon, 24 Nov 2014 23:15:24 GMT
empathy from California to New York http://akirabeard.com/blog/2014/10/empathy-in-brooklyn     So here I sit, in this beautiful gallery space in Brooklyn, New York known as Succulent Studios. It is an amazing experience to be here upon invitation from supporters in the collaboration of bringing forth the expression of my life, my labors, my art. Having never been to New York, the first week spent here navigating different areas such as Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn I had one miracle after another. This blog however is not about my trip here, so I will not get into the details of which. This writing is about what made being here possible, which lends itself to the inspiration for the drawing posted as well as its process of creation. Beginning to end result. The drawing was made just prior to me coming to NY, where I was in the Sierra Nevadas on a nature retreat with a dear friend of mine. Della. The drawing was made during one of our morning conversations, where we would sit on the open porch looking out into the valley of trees surrounding us. Our conversations are so natural in how they lack any type  of control. We reveal ourselves so openly to one another, and receive each other mutually the same. It can be a challenge to have such relationships with people, so I cherish them when I find myself fortunate to be in such good company. I learn a lot about who she is, as well who I am from our being together. The drawing began with observing Della as she talked, but when she left, I continued and it would begin to appear as me. It has a little of us both in it, and the writing within the drawing was done a month later, where although we are on separate coasts, I woke with this deep appreciation of all that i have in this moment and reflected this thru writing. Empathy was what came to mind. Life works in a specific accord it often seems, one that can't be measured or seen. Things line up in a certain way for us to accord with them. And when we do, the ascending staircase of a dark future lights up a few more steps forward for us to walk upwards in our development. An example here would be love. The previous relationship I had with a lover taught me further what love is. I had certain ideas, but those were only ideas. The experience of being in close proximity to so much contradictory of love showed me what is not. That love is not manipulation, control, grasping, and so on. In words, in concepts things appear so obvious but its the direct interaction of experience that shatters all conceptions revealing them as true, or true misconceptions. And so from the ending of the relationship of a controlling nature, I would find myself beginning a bond with Della. And in her actions, would I be indirectly shown aspects of the nature of true love. And the timing couldn't have been better, where in a space of being shattered and so open as the result of a desperation that followed would I land in the arms of care, compassion, nurturing. All aspects that are the roots of love. We often develop and identify so much with the external nature of things, fooling even ourselves in for example how we are so loving or compassionate, and I have been intimate with this in others and have been guilty of this within myself... and so these truths of love were revealed to me as if there were no one around and I walked in accidentally only to see a person exercising such qualities though there were no one around for miles. She is genuine, authentic, real. Words being irrelevant here, it is the living expression of her commitment in daily action that grants me the unshaken confidence of love and respect that she has for me, and  I only hope in being able to return it so truely. There are various factors of love and support that afford me the opportunities of grandeur that I continue to have, such as this 'Inadvertant Solo Show" of mine in Brooklyn. It begins with the universe firstly, then the microcosmic aspects that compose it. For us as people, this includes other people and our relationships to one another. Hence, the inspiration for this piece. Thanks Della.. Love you! "Symbiotic Empathy", ink on paper, 5.5"x 8.5", 2014"Symbiotic Empathy", ink on paper, 5.5"x 8.5", 2014

(Akira Beard) akira beard art drawing portrait sketch http://akirabeard.com/blog/2014/10/empathy-in-brooklyn Fri, 03 Oct 2014 15:36:50 GMT
portrait of a man in words http://akirabeard.com/blog/2014/9/portrait-of-a-man-in-words      This is a collaboration piece between a writer friend of mine named Lapo and myself. I've never done much collaboration work with other creative individuals. I thinks perhaps the reason is that I didn't feel a commonality at the root of the expression so I either didn't feel motivated or a real point to working as a team. I am beginning to meet such individuals currently, and so am feeling the draw to put forth the energy and see what comes of it. I've listened to Lapo read a handful of his journal writings, which I feel to be reflective of a deeper exploration that opens doors of empathy where the listener can relate with their own life experience. And in the spirit of the creative individual, I am inspired and taken back by Lapo's ability as a writer to convey these expressions with a voice that I see as authentic to his inner nature. So here is a piece that began with a drawing created from just a single line, and it would lead to where it did. A portrait wasn't planned from the beginning, but it went there. And in the spaces of relaxation over a beer in a biker bar called the Warehouse in my initiation of attending the tiny town of Port Costa in Central California, Lapo finished the portrait by giving content to the flesh thru the medium of writing. The following is the story of this man we brought to life together... enjoy

"There is a moment in which I first recognize the nature of the person I'm looking at, encoded in the patterns of areas and lines etched into their face. A droop here, a dimple there, simple boundaries for a geometry of identity, singing loudly out of the silence of a stranger's countenance. I look at it, and parse the hidden meaning.
    The man in question is a sagging son of a bitch-- at first glance. His friends, such as they are, fault him for his softly sad, contemplative attitude. They see it as a failure to take action. All his life he's known better, has known his own mind in silence, secure enough in his own truth that he saw no need to speak up just to correct the misapprehensions of others. He hasn't wanted to make a fuss about it, hasn't wanted to stand up and assert himself. He knows that people don't' really care to know the truth, that the truth's simulacrum is good enough for most everyone to shunt around as a dead symbol of what it is.
   In other circumstances, in long ago moments long dead to the present, in a time when he wasn't yet so sure in his own person, his decisiveness manifested-- invisibly, unexpectedly. Nobody witnessed the trials he was put through, and there was nobody there to cheer as he passed them all with flying colors. That's how and when he knew himself: alone in a room that never changes --a chamber within.  And just as it didn't matter then to prove anything to anyone else, he knew at that moment that he never again would care to drag his inner life, naked, through the dust of public display, for other people to squint at with myopic eyes and form meaningless opinions about.
  He would simply know, and keep silent, his daring and his will hidden behind the veil of appearance. He would be complete, one and alone, forever contemplating his own reflection without the need to reveal it. He would come into being. He would become God. "- Lapo
ink on paper, 8.5"x 5.5", 2015ink on paper, 8.5"x 5.5", 2015

(Akira Beard) Lapo akira beard art crosshatching drawing ink portrait http://akirabeard.com/blog/2014/9/portrait-of-a-man-in-words Sat, 20 Sep 2014 00:23:13 GMT
aliennation... http://akirabeard.com/blog/2014/9/aliennation This current drawing "Aliennation", is available for purchase thru a bidding system on an auction site. If interested, please click here to be taken to the auction. The following words are background on motivation for the piece as well as the text which appears on the original drawing. Enjoy and love thyself!! "Alienation", ink on paper, 5.5"x 8", 2014"Alienation", ink on paper, 5.5"x 8", 2014

I can recall so early on feeling so different from all those around me. The analysis of details explaining why,  I do not know, but the feeling was clear to myself. I never found myself fitting in, regardless of the tribe I was surrounded by. I can remember being excited at the orientation upon attending art college, where the speech giver talked on this subject, giving the hypothetical example where being one of the few artists in one's elementary thru high-school education, and how this made us a 'freak' of sorts that brought feelings of alienation. He concluded by saying this institution would be a home of communion of like minds, and by the cheers and laughter that followed it was obvious how many of us related, including myself. My alienation however would not be cured with this communion, for my interest would be found to be different of those even among of most of my art peers. Interestingly, and openly I state how even to this day I feel alienated. The difference is the emotion that relates to it is no longer of the negative sort, where I've come to accept. The substance of my feelings of alienation in past were perhaps different in how it was melded with adolescent development into adulthood which comes with all sorts of physical and psychological challenges naturally, but today my alienation relates to meaning and purpose. Life up to this point has been presented to me as a baton and running with it into a world of uncertainty with the aim of realizing the simple fundamental nature at the root of this world. I love life so deeply, so openly, and I would like to say fearlessly but I continue to work on which but I am with daily focus doing which. Everyday I work on myself with developing the courage to live with devotion to the heart in the face of all the obstacles that poke at it. And the sadness that I feel is that I can feel alienated for the pursuit of such an endeavor. Regardless, I walk forward and love it all in spite of everything! The following are the words written in the drawing "Aliennation". Enjoy.

Our alienation… alien to ourselves, to those around us. We have a world within that we fail often in its exploration So focused on the world outside. So caught up that we grow to forget about anything else. And so fade the possibilities of life form, existing anywhere but our narrow scope of a universe. And this control eats at us, ruins our eyes. We are never able to see clearly as if looking into the sun that one time too long. We travel in time warps missing the view of terrain that is organic, colorful and so alive it talks to us. But our eardrums are damages and our ears have fallen from lack of use. We hear life's noise and mistake it for life's music. And all this missing of the sights, sounds, tastes, feeling grows dark in our bellies and expands into a cancer with a sad face. In our distortions of thought based realities we confuse the disguise of our well being and public appearances for all that we are. But that face that grows from our bellies grows so big, becomes so intimidating yet it is like a newborn. It just wants to be fed and loved, and is crying because the neglect is killing it slowly like an unkept garden of flowers. Water the roots and watch how it all begins to change. From this (_____) to that (_____).


(Akira Beard) akira beard alien art crosshatching drawing figure ink http://akirabeard.com/blog/2014/9/aliennation Wed, 17 Sep 2014 00:48:09 GMT
the yellow house and the artists... http://akirabeard.com/blog/2014/9/the-yellow-house-and-the-artists The second drawing presented from the recent series created during a 2 week retreat into nature is "the Artist." This piece is available as the original artwork, and can be purchased thru the auction site with a starting bid of $30. If interested please click here. The following is the background on the drawing's creation, as well as the text on the piece itself transcribed. Enjoy! "The Artist", ink on paper, 8.5"x 5.5", 2014"The Artist", ink on paper, 8.5"x 5.5", 2014

              Staying at the residence of a friend's near the Sierra Nevada Valley in Northern California, it felt as if we were 2 artists living at the Yellow House like Van Gogh and Gauguin. We meaning Della and myself. Della was often inspired by the surrounding nature which was endless pine and oak trees. She would gather her watercolors and walk off to a different spot to paint each day. She asked if I ever felt inspired by all the beauty in the landscape, and I replied with a yes, however not in the same way to paint it. I found the environment itself, of open sky, a panorama of forestry, the colors and the textures, the sounds and the smells inspiring in that it pushed me to create effortlessly. It was an energy that I worked with, where I would wake up on the couch on the front porch to a sunrise of pink and blue and begin to write and/or draw before I had even adjusted my waking vision. The contentment felt was deep, that this was enough to be here in the presence of such beauty and to create from where I sat in it. No obligations, no deadlines, no pressures, just the appreciation of life and the involuntary act of making artworks influenced by this. And though the majority of the time was spent in solitude in this manner, as mentioned in the previous blog post there were moments where Della and I communed over coffee, dinner, etc. And from here we had a series of talks, in this case relating to art. We talked of our relations to art, what art means to ourselves, and so on. And being playful with intuition, when I carried on in my space of drawing, without intention of illustrating our conversation it was only after the result where I would consistently realize that what appeared on the page was reflecting the many conversations we had. So here, after talking of art, it was a portrait of an artist that manifested. And the text in the piece... " The artist... So much potential in the hands of an artist. In all our lives, we tend to live by an unspoken code, a non-existing social contract of compromise. Whenever in the public spot light, and even in the presence of close company we hold back. Play roles. Our lives are governed by a fear of what will the neighbor's think. And it is in art where a platform of liberation exists like a room without a door, without walls, waiting to be walked in. Yet how many accept this invitation? Many surround the boundlessness of the space within with walls of neuroses and paint it in colors of idiosyncrasy, commercialism, banality, tradition and put locks of fear on the door. In the West we have freedom of expression. Yet if a person isn't liberated in the deeper existential sense, how can they possibly exercise this liberty? And never is the cosmic battle of our individual lives of higher and lower self, of big mind and little mind, material and metaphysical, ego and the awareness looking back into the ego, so apparent as it is to the creator who finds themselves in front of a blank canvas. And thus the question is no longer what he/she will paint, but firstly what is the source from which they will paint it? ", were taken from the essence of my feelings involved in Della and I's dialouge. And so from the process of life, a piece is brought forth with the hope of transmitting the nourishment experienced by the creator and into the viewer. May these expressions inspire as I have been inspired to create them.


(Akira Beard) akira beard art drawing ink portrait sketch http://akirabeard.com/blog/2014/9/the-yellow-house-and-the-artists Fri, 12 Sep 2014 18:18:56 GMT
all in the name of 'love'? http://akirabeard.com/blog/2014/9/all-in-the-name-of-love  

       In the artist's spirit of always pushing the creative envelope, the creativity is not limited to the art itself. Or perhaps it is all art.  And so with this, I extend the relationship with the viewer interested in possession of these art works created, offered thru an interactive process of bidding. This is the first piece presented for the auction, which begins at a bid of $30. These are original pen and ink artworks, 5.5"x 8.5", and are presented in a simple white frame. Please click here to bid. I will continue to post each piece created during my recent retreat, and have them available and presented in the same fashion as shown here on my blog with high res pic and background on the piece.  Regardless if or not you participate in the auction process, I appreciate the support of following these endeavors of creativity and heart. Best to all...

     The second drawing that I share, following the introduction of the preceeding blog post, in the body of drawings/writings that I created in my 2 week nature retreat is titled "it is what it is not". The text written on the drawing itself is "one of the ways of learning of what something is, is by experiencing what it is not... Love for example". When I find myself in the opportune space of complete solitude, I allow my heart to run its course and bring to the surface of thought what it shall like an archaeologist digging thru ancient ruins and piecing fragmented fossils together in classifying a species of time past. One of the reoccuring chapters that this process opens to is human relationships. Lovers, friends, family, acquaintances, and so forth. This recent retreat of 2 weeks in the woods was spent nearly in isolation accept for the company my dear friend Della, who's invitation I accepted in being able to be in such a circumstance. Being creatives, there was an unspoken respect in regards to giving one another space to be naked in one's own isolated element. There were rituals of communion however, where we gathered and shared so openly our nudeness in the presence of each other. Usually over morning coffee just after sunrise, or laying on the ground with full bellies under the stars we talked so vulnerably. What I found interesting about the process as a whole over this 2 week occurence was how it all translated thru the artwork without effort. It was almost as if the drawings simply extended the conversations whether they were with myself or Della. So in this drawing, the thoughts, feelings that I had recently with an ex-lover made itself visual as if I were simply a viewer myself in the process watching an invisible creator illustrate a story that i was speaking of. I choose not to share details in respect of making a presentation of another that isn't so favorable. I have no dilema of presenting myself in a way that is not so pleasant, like sharing a photo that shows my not so good side under harsh light, but it is slanderous in placing another in a situation without there consent. The positive however, is that there is always the possibility that the decomposing stench of a present made past may compost into giving fresh soil of life to fresh flowers that breathe natural fragrance of perfume. That is my feeling towards the words in the piece expressing the wisdom of seeing the benefit of what may appear at first negative. In the words of Lao Tzu who says to thank one's abuser, I say thanks to she for the priceless gift I could have recieved no other way. With the deepest gratitude... I will always cherish the light as well as the dark from the experience. "The Negation of Love", ink on paper, 5.5"x 8.5", 2014"The Negation of Love", ink on paper, 5.5"x 8.5", 2014   Click here to bid

(Akira Beard) akira beard art drawing ink life love portrait http://akirabeard.com/blog/2014/9/all-in-the-name-of-love Mon, 08 Sep 2014 19:01:05 GMT
the Retreat http://akirabeard.com/blog/2014/9/the-retreat         I have just returned to the city from spending the last 2 weeks on a retreat in the Sierra Nevada Valley of northern California. My friend Della and I house-sat for a couple while they attended a wedding in Vancouver, B.C. The experience was the highlight of this year for myself. It is an experience that would be of benefit to most of us, in how it simply involves the nourishing of the soul from being in nature. Though my life is not conventional at the moment, hasn't been for some time, yet I do exist in that place of various types of human relations, life obligations relating to earning/maintaining a living, etc. We absorb so much, daily and what do we do with it all? How does it affect us? Psychologically, emotionally, spiritually? Its not until we leave the lives of habit and routine that we generally build ourselves into, that we can have any kind of clear reference point into our own lives. Being in nature, this point of reference is taken to the extreme. And it is here that I found myself these last 2 weeks, and it is this clarity that unforseeingly came as the result of it. Waking in the morning to a mountainous valley of green forest receiving a golden glow from the sun rising in the east, I found myself effortlessly picking up pen and paper to sit in it before I had even wiped the morning crust from my eyes to transmit the inspiration that came from being in a place of such beauty. Whatever I was doing was an act of mediation, where I was involved deeply in whatever was being done. Whether it was hiking on endless trails in the mountains, swimming in the lakes and ponds, grilling elk burgers, watering the garden, catching a snake, it was all meditative in how all thought centered intensely on what was occuring in the moment. There was no distraction of being involved towards anything else. Time went by slow in this manner, to where if it weren't for day turning to night it would have not been noticed at all. Even here, it was not noticed. I woke when I woke, I slept when I slept. When, where didn't matter. This was a harmony of comradery felt in all things around me. The elements of distraction, media, communications, computer, material things of trend and fashion, and the most distracting... the element of being around other people were all non-existent. And it is from the absence of all these things, that the transmitter in the head and heart can be met with that of the world outside of the self. Without static. And it is from here the clarity begins, and I experienced it deeply. And as artist, I swam in it, and the drawings, the writings that poured forth were the photographs taken from this connection of the 2 worlds of inner and outer. And the benefit for any to find the time in one's life to take refuge if at all possible in such an environment, is how the imbalance of these 2 worlds occurs from the many distractions and absorptions we take from and live with from them, and how the communion of the 2 worlds find their way back in marriage like distant lovers re-uniting when man/woman arrives alone in nature and with nature itself alone with.

                 The definition of myself, upon recent discovery, in regards to social title of what I do is that of philosopher. The artistic aspect follows this rather than guides. One of my confusions of recent that has grown, but from this retreat has been cut through is that I draw and paint. The confusion has gathered from taking the results of these creations on a professional level of exhibitions, promotion, etc. and having met all types of artists and seeing all types of arts, yet in both finding very little relation towards either in what is at the center, ambitions of my own practice. With painting for example, so much of my experience with others has been the focus on the elements, the aesthetics of painting itself. Design orientation as the motive, where the inspiration is about color, shape, texture, etc. and the experimentation within a compositional frame. Such things aren't fascinating to me. I'm more interested in the person's life than what they paint. And seldom do I see this thru a person's work in this manner. Not that this is good, bad, or trying to define what art is or whatever, I am simply stating the beginnings of my own relation. I would rather spend a day with a farmer that lives a life of contentment and walk into his world, than see a retrospective of the worlds greatest painter. When I taught briefly on the college level, I had a great conversation with one of the model's while we were on break before setting up the next pose. He was an artist, and we talked of our process. He would describe his inspiration came from seeing the shapes of light fall on an object, and how he would be drawn to translate the response to canvas with color. My inspiration came from hearing this man's struggle with getting older and how a physical injury had bed ridden him to where he had to come to terms of having defined himself for so long on being an athlete and having a Bruce Lee body, only to take up smoking, drinking and gaining weight and suffering a depression from not being able to continue the lifestyle of running and gym work that he had made routine for years like eating breakfast first thing in the morning. I wanted to paint that! The class I was teaching was anatomy, which involved 'Life Drawing'. The interesting aspect with this is again, my relation to this term is more personal. But like the conversation with the model mentioned, I understand the conventional definition of what is being spoken about. Life Drawing, working from a live model as opposed to from a photograph. I did my share of this in learning the principles of drawing, painting, and it was exciting but the excitement transferred onto broader things once I received the education I had reached for. And so with the principles learned, life drawing for myself became defined in drawing from life. Experiencing the life journey and making the invisible abstract aspect of it visible in sharing, expressing thru the aesthetics of the visual arts. The artist in the shadow of the philosopher.

        On my retreat, I created a body of work consisting of drawings. I wrote much as well and have incorporated some of the writings into the drawings. The process of all the works was intuitive. Never knowing where each piece would go, I would begin by scrambling lines on paper and at some point an image would begin to take shape. It was always a journey of following the shape to fruition, a mystery revealed in each piece. This process was a reflection of the heart of where I found myself in the arms of nature. There was no work to be done, but just sway with the wind as if I were one of the many leaves on the branches of the surrounding oaks and pines that swayed in the force and music like a soft orchestra came forth from in the spaces of infinite leaves on infinite trees existing in the same universal pool of life all relating as a solid whole of so many fragmented parts. I was along for the ride and here it was came from it. Enjoy!

       This upcoming week, along with sharing the pieces created I will be creating an auction bid where if the viewer is interested, they can purchase the piece. I will be doing this from my blog page, where I will share background on the piece at hand. 

"Forward on The Path", ink on paper, 5.5"x 8.5", 2014"Forward on The Path", ink on paper, 5.5"x 8.5", 2014        The accumulation of this idea of self that grows bigger with age. An abstract representation of who we think we are sculpted from the clay of the daily experience of our lives. Life giving it shape, not our own hands. This is the difference between reaction and creation. Conformity and individuality. The clay head gets bigger with time, and becomes so heavy and though we grow weary of carrying it upwards each step we know no other way of doing so. We have no existing reference point of comparison. "Thats life", "that's the real world" we casually say with tired arms and legs. But its when the happy accidents of our lives trips us up and the weight we hold onto so desperately falls from our hands and shatters to pieces that the world becomes a feather. Some float on and enjoy the groundlessness. Others cant get beyond the fear, how the pulsating of the dormant heart beats so alive and there is for once no shadow of a weight to hide it. The heart of the human core is exposed in the universe's light and it burns like looking at the sun for the first time. The fear cultivates the desperate act of senseless of putting all the pieces back together until the weight is heavy enough to continue carrying up the stairs. And it is does get lonely if one remains a feather, gliding up the stairs easily losing all sight of a society of Sisyphuses that get stuck at the bottom falling and climbing with the weight of their life burden of creation. And the feather should be the symbol of freedom, because the experience of it is. So fragile, so vulnerable, so easy, so light, and so trusting and so open in floating in accordance with the winds of the world and seeing it all from vantage points of the high and low. This is a tall order and not for all. The antithesis perhaps could be likened to a rock, and many settle for this. Settle for less when there is so much more. If anything could come from this writing, its the awareness that there is so much more.

(Akira Beard) akira beard art drawing nature portrait http://akirabeard.com/blog/2014/9/the-retreat Sun, 07 Sep 2014 20:17:21 GMT