Akira Beard: Blog https://akirabeard.com/blog en-us (C) Akira Beard (Akira Beard) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:11:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:11:00 GMT https://akirabeard.com/img/s/v-12/u823029677-o18710050-50.jpg Akira Beard: Blog https://akirabeard.com/blog 94 120 The drawing process with Life Drawing https://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 https://akirabeard.com/blog/2017/8/the-drawing-process-with-life-drawing Thu, 17 Aug 2017 18:52:01 GMT
The beginning with Life Drawing... https://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 https://akirabeard.com/blog/2017/8/about-life-drawing Tue, 15 Aug 2017 16:37:13 GMT
Art is... Life https://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 [email protected] 

(Akira Beard) akira beard art art opening california doris matsui sacramento sacramento artist https://akirabeard.com/blog/2017/8/a-memorable-opening-art-is Wed, 09 Aug 2017 20:20:31 GMT
Art is... https://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 https://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 https://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 https://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 https://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 https://akirabeard.com/blog/2017/2/life-stories Wed, 15 Feb 2017 21:15:12 GMT
Life Drawings, an interview https://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 https://akirabeard.com/blog/2016/8/life-drawings-an-interview Mon, 22 Aug 2016 16:29:35 GMT
House on Fire https://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 https://akirabeard.com/blog/2016/7/house-on-fire Thu, 07 Jul 2016 16:43:45 GMT
Drawing from Life... a collaborative artpiece with Sek3 https://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 https://akirabeard.com/blog/2016/4/life-drawing Mon, 04 Apr 2016 19:36:53 GMT
The Self Portrait Project and the Psyche... https://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 https://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 https://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 https://akirabeard.com/blog/2016/2/the-self-portrait-project Fri, 12 Feb 2016 19:52:12 GMT
The Self Portrait Project https://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 https://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 https://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 https://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 https://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 https://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 https://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 https://akirabeard.com/blog/2014/10/empathy-in-brooklyn Fri, 03 Oct 2014 15:36:50 GMT
portrait of a man in words https://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 https://akirabeard.com/blog/2014/9/portrait-of-a-man-in-words Sat, 20 Sep 2014 00:23:13 GMT
aliennation... https://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 https://akirabeard.com/blog/2014/9/aliennation Wed, 17 Sep 2014 00:48:09 GMT
the yellow house and the artists... https://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 https://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'? https://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 https://akirabeard.com/blog/2014/9/all-in-the-name-of-love Mon, 08 Sep 2014 19:01:05 GMT
the Retreat https://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 https://akirabeard.com/blog/2014/9/the-retreat Sun, 07 Sep 2014 20:17:21 GMT
the struggle and the secret of the world https://akirabeard.com/blog/2014/8/the-struggle-and-the-secret-of-the-world           This art thing is tricky. As is life, and i've come to see the art merely being the reflection of one's inner life. And the integration of the two,when the demands of life are made aware of, how easy is it to get lost in The demands of money, or specifically making a living as an artist, with one's art. If one isn't too careful, how easily what once existed as a quiet place of sacred in one's life, can be corrupted into becoming little more than mere work. A job whose nature is no different than the vast number of activities with titles whose only sensibility lay in the purpose of earning a wage. The vital point to remember is that the soul is always on the line. That aspect of our being that is unknowable, invisible to ourselves, yet felt and experiencced always somewhere hidden in the background. And so to place the proper relation to it, of support, of devotion towards, of faith and to guard it. Because in not doing so for the the average person is of no major consequence to the the extent where he/she can hide from themselves, from this soul connection. For the artist however there is the daily confrontation built in the practice of solitude where one takes hold of the medium of their practice. The honesty of one's integrity is contextualized in the activity of their art. Where a person may "check out" on their commute to and from work, and daydream the entire time at the job site, and the sum of hours wasted in a single life time, the artist by default is forced to look into the eye of this existential truth. Into the eye of the mind and heart to see if one is being truthful to themselves. If this isn't apparent in the daily practice, it will be made that more intense at various points over time in nonspecific spaces especially if one has gone astray from the soul source of their creativity.

      Always eating from the fruit of the social nature of how I involve myself in the interactions with anyone near that is interested in being my dossier in the sharing of their life, with regards to the artist and the soul such interactions of recent have provided insight as well as motivation to reflect back on my own status of which I will keep others confessions private here, in how obviously the shame to have fallen so far from one's inner nature regardless of how far. That is hearing the stories of various individuals that have reached that point currently, where the external focus of creating art (building a name, making a living solely with it, taking on impossible deadlines, etc) had bottomed out where one came to a point in even the the thought of art has become to paintful and/or confusing. I myself have been influenced in a way of recent, though in a polar oposite way. Placing too much emphasis on the guarding of integrity, and so in an extreme grasping too tightly with the end result being not much different from the artist that makes art from a source of marketing standpoint. Both lose sight of the fundamental nature of the origins that had one creating so early in life before all types of ideas formed with what was enjoyed so naturally, effortlessly. And so in this manner, I find it necessary to put on the brakes, step back, close my eyes and open them with a renewed shift from the detail to the whole and the walking back towards the aim of unification of the two.

          And this all leads to this current piece. Mr. Miyagi. I have painted him at times previously, but this is not to to be mistaken as an attempt in moving backwards in repeating a process of past success. Rather it is tapping into a muse, a source that I recognized at some point where to bring forth the energy of which I have deviated from. The archetype of Miyagi as a body of wisdom, comedy, patience, gentleness yet firm.  Stoic yet emotional when its real. A fantasy based in reality, that leaves no trace of damage, but restoration of inner strength and aspiration. Values that I find to be vital, and accessible and in how Miyagi exists as an phantom teacher in the reconnecting of the self to the soul of my experience. I suddenly remember the aim of my life practice, my art practice is inspired and an aspiration in doing the same to others. Guiding anyone that has gone astray, and pointing a finger towards the fundamental light of their own bright inner nature and supporting them in the walking towards it. the secret of the world, oil on wood, 16"x 20", 2014the secret of the world, oil on wood, 16"x 20", 2014

(Akira Beard) Miyagi akira beard art oil painting portrait https://akirabeard.com/blog/2014/8/the-struggle-and-the-secret-of-the-world Mon, 04 Aug 2014 17:32:31 GMT
The spirit show opening in less than 2 weeks... https://akirabeard.com/blog/2014/6/the-spirit-show-opening-in-less-than-2-weeks           My relationship with the art process is one of consistent self discovery. Its an exciting aspect of the practice that always results in an evolving. The spirit show is the current result of this evolution, which is the result of its two other areas that it preceded, which was 'Self' and 'Culture'. The process has been the same, though its evolved in its own way as well.  This process has been one of just over 10 years where I had taken my life and expressed it. It began with self, which had me doing a large number of Self Portraiture from a mirror while I was in Art School. Simultaneously I was writing in a journal towards the beginning of understanding my psyche. Of who I was. My thoughts and feelings of who I was. The cultivation of insight. This work was very personal in the way that it was solely about my experience, yet it was the foundation that would extend towards an exploration of social empathy, attempting to express the heart of the cultural, the American, the Western experience that I exist in with a society of some known, but more unknown individuals. This was the cultural exploration that had me working at all types of jobs, meeting all types of people in whatever social situations provided itself. Life was fun, for it was always a research of sorts that I could take both the pain and the pleasure back to the studio and express it into art for all. The ends of the cultural exploration led to the boundlessness, beyond the walls the limitations that I had experienced within culture, if there is a boundlessness. This is nature, or spirit. By nature, I mean the nature of things... that is the fundamental truth of what they are in the essence of their experience. Culture was oriented in the material, the appearance of things. I came to realize, this material is how we exist, relate, communicate. Everything is seen as separate. But is it all really? The spirit is the exploration of a possible 'oneness'. An interdependence among all things. All things working in accordance with everything else as a whole, expressing a stream of natural harmony despite the chaos that is visible to the eye. I will save the details of my discoveries for a future blog, exposing more and more thru reflections and artworks mirroring these discoveries. Yet, I am experiencing this oneness first hand. It does exist, it is the nature of reality.  For this upcoming show, I have called on various individuals having their own relationship with Spiritual awareness, practice, and/or cultivation. Most, but not all are artists. To me, that does not matter. I'm interested in the content of the individual, not of 'what' they are in that they can make a pretty painting or what not. Its been my experience to meet many artists, and continue to do so that lack this content that I am personally interested in. The art reflects this and the truth is in the conversation where there is little substance other than name dropping, self absorption, practical words of upcoming shows and projects, and so forth. I want to have a conversation with the person that feels the life given to them. Deeply, and is fearless about expressing it whether thru a piece of art or a simple conversation. This awareness of how one is living is an element of spirituality I feel. And more so, the courage to celebrate it openly, unashamedly. Furthermore, to devote ones life to it full heartedly. We find ourselves caught in lives of obligation to many things and forget the fundamental miracle afforded us all. Our birthright. Their is a missing link in how we live and who we are. That link is spiritual awareness, and its my hope that any words I write, say, or any art that I create will inspire any to discover the missing part(s) to their own wholeness, living the most complete experience possible. Living in peace, the truest freedom, loving and accepting ones self and becoming a walking expression of this love giving nourishment and fruit to the world with each step taken. Making the world a better place beginning for one's self, and by default benefiting others with this radiating light.

       This show is fun. Everyday is something new. Im empty and open to it, being filled. It would be easy to arrive at a place of stress with the deadlines and all that I have to get done as curator and artist, having other projects hanging over me all at the same time. But I've existed in that way for too long and the conclusion what is the point to exist in such a way? Why miss out on the middles because I'm only concerned with the results of finishing. This show is about the heart. The metaphysical heart of passion, of intuition. So this weekend, one of the artists in the show, Michelangelo came by with a friend.The friend Sergio, is from Spain and though I thought they knew each other for a decent while, I was told it had been less than a week. Sergio brought a book that he had recently created in five months time, which was a beauty showcasing a world of imagined creatures in imagined environments and biology that he poured out. There were writings accompanying the images, and I would describe it as an artistic book of science and biology that was colorful, fun, and sexy. I was inspired by his passion and the results of finished labor that he exuberated. Even when he wrote his contact information for me, he did so colorfully. The three of us found ourselves at the Emerald Tablet, where my studio is as well as the Spirit Show will be exhibited. We gathered around a piano, where Sergio was playing Chopin like numbers while MIchelangelo and I talked. I got the idea to ask him ,"what is spirituality?", with the music in the background, and both he and Sergio nodded with excitement when I wished to record it. What followed is an excerpt in the video on this blog. It was a beautiful moment captured, unforced. Life had created the expression, and I simply mirrored it. Im trying to work with all art creation in this way. It is a leap, especially with deadlines which can kill the risk taking element, but what is their ultimately to lose? What is really threatened. All we can really do is try.... but i'm finding the way to be trying without trying. Letting go and allowing. The harmony resulting in a creation of art in this way is indescribable at best, but I will say it is bliss. Thus I'm seeing it as the way towards creation. Towards living. The next day Chessin, another artist in the show came by the studio. We haven't seen each other in a good while, so it was great to keep up. Mentioning earlier the lack of content that I experience in others, she is anything but. Our conversation had her sharing her recent life experiences of diving into life and all its mystery and rising to the surface with all she learned. She is fearless in this way and I feel the commadery in sharing the same practice. Of using this life given to us to better understand ourselves and this world we live in. Focusing on this spiritual aspect, life has become a magnet with the development of new relationships and situations that offer the seeds of further spiritual understanding. There is an element to this life that may not be able to be explained, but works in a certain as what I'm describing. The new age era uses catch phrases such as 'like attracts like', ' laws of attraction', etc. The truth is revealed in the experience always, and Im arriving at these truths. I wish the same to all.

         "Homage to the Tao", is a current finished painting that pays homage to the The Tao Te Ching and its author Lao Tzu. I have done a few other pieces paying the same homage, and the reason I continue to do so is that I've come to find its knowledge as a continuing source of spiritual knowledge. That knowledge of the indescribable aspect of that missing link of ourselves and the world we live in. The Tao is, excuse the phrase, but a guide to living in this manner. A superior guide that opens one up to one's self and the possibilities of the worlds realities in its mystery and uncertainty. For the spirit show, I have began building an installation to accompany the painting, intensifying the expression of the Tao's homage. More to come in process picks of the complete work, as well as further description of why the Tao. Homage to the Tao Te Ching, 16"x20", oil on wood, 2014Homage to the Tao Te Ching, 16"x20", oil on wood, 2014

(Akira Beard) Lao Tzu Tao akira beard art emerald tablet' love painting portrait spirit show https://akirabeard.com/blog/2014/6/the-spirit-show-opening-in-less-than-2-weeks Tue, 24 Jun 2014 16:16:53 GMT
update on the Spirit Show... https://akirabeard.com/blog/2014/6/update-on-the-spirit-show Its been awhile... leaving the winter of Detroit, Michigan and all its never ending snowfall I found myself on an airplane flying into the sunset of California arriving in San Francisco. It was a good omen, a red carpet of the metaphysical sort. The return to my spiritual birthplace. It was unusually hot for San Francisco weather, and so I made my way to the temple the following morning. The temple being Aquatic Park, a bay cove that is seperated by the vastness of the Pacific Ocean by a near complete circle of beach and concrete barrier. The work continues here. To dive into the experience of life, and reflect the discoveries in hopes that any will take whatever he/she shall from these reflections of art aimed at inspiring the he/she, that is you the reader, to dive into the bottomless miracle of your own being. The being that is inherit to us all, in its natural state existing in harmony with all things in the world at large. Our conflict though, the disruption of this harmony and the unnaturalness that follows. This disharmony being the consequences of the mind... the mind filtering all our experiences with ideas that separate, categorize, judge. We come into the world as baby's, blank and empty. We grow into minds filled with the world's garbage and we fail to empty the trash even as it overflows. Life grows to feel overwhelming, to feel burdensome. But we can always return to the reality that exists all around us, beginning with our relationship with it stemming from the core within us. The struggle, the conflict is the mind and the heart. The mind always milimeters away from the direct experience of all things with its thoughts, ideas, habits, compulsions, neuroses, associations. The heart and its inuition based in feeling life and swimming thru it naked and unafraid. The mind decides what color to wear, how many layers before going into the woods, careful not to be touched by the pine needles of the trees, planning the trip ahead with a budget and the days never line up right so its easier just to stay near home and dismiss the whole thing. The heart radiates with the first step into the woods and has one climbing a tree without concerns of having insurance just in case one gets hurt. We were once bright and beautiful, because the reality of the world is bright and beautiful when experienced without conditions. We are guests here, and we place conditions on our hosts. We feel entitled, and we believe in our thoughts as truth. Some believe in god, others money, some both and all types of other things. Yet these beliefs have little or nothing to do with reality. So what is reality? Reality is the here and now. Reality is change. Reality is groundless. Reality is unpredictable, uncertain. And when we work with reality, our experience is so different. Working with reality thru the human experience is working with intuition. Working with the heart. When reality makes itself apparent, as it inevitably will, how our beliefs fail us. I've heard of men of the church devoting their entire life of god, failing at the end on their death bed unable to deal with the reality of change. The ultimate change in reality... death. A life devoted to an idea, with strong awareness of that idea only to abandon it with the power of reality forced on one. I imagine it like being in the ocean, and having such strong ideas of one being in control or knowing anything true about it only to be faced with the unseen monstrous wave that takes one to the depths. Life brings us into its reality in this way. But why should we wait for that wave to do so? Why not find the inspiration, exercise the will to awaken into the deepest life experience now. That experience which is the biggest aspect of our lives that we dismiss as a hinderance in always wanting to arrive somewhere else. In our goals, in our drives... How ironic that we are labeled human beings, yet we are living expressions as anything but. How difficult it is for us just to be. To be with whatever is made available to us, on the spot all the time. So much of the time we find ourselves not wanting to be where we are, or who we are with unless it was made so on our watch. Have you looked at the sky today? Notice the shapes of the shadows on the ground? They were there today. Where were you when this was all taking place? Imagine a life time of missing out on this. This being the simplicity that is all around us. What is at the nature of all that we do in missing all of this? Is it senseless, or is it worth it. To dedicate so much time, energy to attaining something, only to have it for a brief period before repeating the process and onto the next thing. I end the rant here. It feels good, and is in harmony of following the heart. No doubt, no second guessing. Just expressing, reflecting and always trying to bring it back to this life as a miracle. The greatest miracle afforded us all from the day we stepped foot on this earth in our mother's arms. Lest we forget. I have been robbed, mistreated, committed sin and crime. I've experienced the shame, humiliation, the pain, the suffering, the love, the alienation and the brother/sisterhood. It is all beautiful for its reality is one of breath. That I am here and I am now. That I've slept on the street, that I've swam far out to see and hit with panic when looking down losing the oxygen and muscle performance that followed... yet somehow I made it to shore. Time and time again. And the majority of life, taking place on shore extended this appreciation, this acknowledgement and gratitude of how bottomlessly beautiful that it all is. The panic was unnecessary, self created for so long and was a murky glass of overcarbonated water that was unclear, unhealthy and poisionous and rotted a psyche that expressed an illusion of reality that the world is a glass half full. But reality exists in stillness, and with it the water was made clear and the eyes opened to see it for all it is. And with opened eyes, a child came forth taking my hand and I left the pain of holding on so as to walk into the heart of existence that I was afraid of for so long. And when I write these words, it is not the words that I wish to transmit, but the meaning they hold... that meaning is love. And not to be confused with the western idea of love, that is warm on the outside but corrupt on the inside exposed thru the neurotic indoctrination that was planted like a virus from our earliest upbringing that has us searching outside ourselves for experiences that are little more than surrogate parents. Love is the fearlessness of the open heart, the openness into the surrender of leaping into the heart of existence that is ticking away, all the time, but so devoted to the presence of it that perhaps its end is met with an even deeper enthusiasm as being the highest honor in ackowledging the miracle of life for all it is, truly, without conditions placed on it. Life was lived, and it was met with living it for all that it was, is, always will be. An experience blessed to every one of us.

              Another piece for the upcoming spirit show, "homage to Chuang Tzu". Along with Lao Tzu, he is credited with the birth of Taoism. Taoism being a philosophy, that aims to express that ineffable experience that is at the source of our existence. Also posted are some pics of the unfoldings of the reality that I find myself in. The mysteries revealed to me. Everyday. This was yesterday.... Working on an installation for the upcoming Spirit Show, where I am building a homage to the Tao. Taking a break to swim in the ocean, I come across Hippy Dave. A living mystic that finds me in times of doubt, to bring me back to the truth with heart and serendepity. On shore we found ourselves talking to an Australian couple. Dave to the wife, I to the husband. I asked how he enjoyed the swim. In a heavy accent, and a heavier smile that said it all, he said he was training for the upcoming Golden Gate Bridge swim. He was turning 60, and it was a way to celebrate. I loved it. Dave and I left, and appeared at my studio, where I drank a cold IPA beer while he played guitar singing folk style songs about walking the spiritual path in the face of materialism. A few hours later I was taken by surprise by a new friend in the neighborhood that brought over whiskey and talked openly of his life. I was taken back, and even more so when he showed me some videos of his music. The spiritual undertones were clear, though the surface of them would have one thinking anything but. This was my experience with him. It is almost like a reincarnation of a realized monk that came into a drunkard artist's body. It was profound. haha. It truly was, for behind all the tattoos, the surf talk, the alcohol I experienced the heart of Jesus in front of me. Im convinced that he doesn't even know his authenticity in this way. If he did, maybe it wouldn't be authentic. Funny how things are sensitive in that way, and its hard for us to see it within ourselves. Any who, please experience this blog as more of a stream of conscious. More to come. And for this upcoming show, if you happen to be in San Francisco, it will take place at the Emerald Tablet with the opening on July 5th, and the show being up for the month of July. It is a group show that I am curating, working with a dozen or so other artists their expression of spirituality. More to come very soon on these comrades and the development of the show. Enjoy your experience... always!

(Akira Beard) akira beard art love oil portrait spirit tao https://akirabeard.com/blog/2014/6/update-on-the-spirit-show Sat, 21 Jun 2014 00:03:51 GMT
the Tao, Carl Jung, and a lot of crosshatching... https://akirabeard.com/blog/2014/4/the-tao-carl-jung-and-a-lot-of-crosshatching homage to the TAO, ink on paper, 5.5"x 8.5", 2014homage to the TAO, ink on paper, 5.5"x 8.5", 2014

Expressions of the Tao, paying homage to the words, meanings, and spirit of the Tao Te Ching and it's author Lao Tzu. For myself, the discovery of the Tao Te Ching is more recent. I had come across it in previous years, but had no interest in sitting with its riddles of meanings. I blew it off entirely, and ironically if today I had a bible for which I devoted daily reading from, it would be the Tao. Actually, it isn't so ironic. The explanation is best done  with Carl Jung's theory of the Self and the ego. Using the symbol of a circle, Jung stated this was representative of the original/primordial self that we are all born with, into the world. A self that is born from unity in relating to the environment and all things in it. Over time however, a separate self which is termed the ego and represented by a dot at the center of the circle develops. The ego is the result of all types of conditioning, learning, that has one seeing separateness in all things in relation to it. When I was in this space of continuing development of the ego, it made sense that I would not relate to the Tao. During this period, I was more of an intellectual in how I sought the language of ideas, concepts, analysis, etc to understand myself and the world. I did see everything as separate, living and creating a future in living in the same manner. The goal was conventional, in being completive with the next superior in whatever I was desiring and working hard to be better so as to feel good about myself wether this was for acceptance, reward, security. And I did achieve a number of those things in all types of ways, and I identified with them deeply. This was the idea of myself that I believed to the point of arrogance to be true. To be real. But when the circumstances of true reality had challenged and wounded this idea of self and all that it encompassed, would I begin to make my way back from the center dot of the universe of my own mind, back towards the outer circle of the whole of reality… the original self. And this is where I found the Tao Te Ching. Or I should say this is where anything the Tao was communicating began to make any sense.
     Walking with a friend on the street, I asked his idea of love. I had recently been reflecting on my own and was astonished how it had changed so paradoxically. My idea of love before was defined by the center point, the ego, and was fundamentally dysfunctional in how it was a conditional idea based from a source of pain and related to another human thru expectation and obligation. I had the painful fortune of being intimate with another whose dysfunction was more extreme in this manner which at it's end became a mirror to my own. This mirror would lead me to explore love in the polar opposite,  from the original self which was without condition towards another. To be so vulnerable, so open and raw with another human with no expectation in return. What happened though was again a mirror, she had returned this just the same so naturally, effortlessly. I liked what I saw in the mirror was the difference this time. No, I loved what I saw. I had never been involved in such intimacy in my life outside of leaving the womb I must assumingly say. And getting back to my friend, his expression was conventional. It's nature was about feeding his ego, though his words and ideas were understood to him otherwise. Watching the downfall and the separation that lead to him and his ex was evident of this, just as it was evident in my own experience. Its almost as if there are two worlds, maybe more, maybe a lot more, that we exist with. More or less, the inner and the outer. The higher and the lower. How familiar we tend to be with one of these worlds more than the other. The outer world of the ego experience, that grows so unknowingly separate from everything. And when we grow so deeply into the tiny centers of a pinhead that finally pops, there is the unaltered aspect of our natural selves that has never left us that remains. And though this seemingly familiar yet foreign world that we begin walking back towards appears confusing in its irrationality, there is a map that can be a guide in support of understanding. Documented by an individual around 500 B.C., it remains of invaluable relevance towards the existence of that outer circle of ourselves that experiences the unity in all things, including the ego aspect of of the center. The ego of ourselves is 'the mother of the ten thousand names', and the egoless is the eternal. They both spring from the same source, only differing in name. This source for the sake of communication is known as the Tao. The transmission that came from the source that is beyond words and perhaps impossible to actually describe is known as The Tao Te Ching, and its transmitter Lao Tzu.
    Though I have created work in exploring, expressing the Tao Te Ching and or Lao Tzu, I found myself drifting away from it in recently daily living. What funner way to find my way back than to accompany the daily readings with drawings and excerpts of various chapters from it. Enjoy and best to you in finding your way back. And if these words make no sense now, there is a good chance they will in time. Regardless, enjoy the bliss of your experience. homage to the Tao #7, ink on paper, 5.5"x 8.5", 2014homage to the Tao #7, ink on paper, 5.5"x 8.5", 2014 homage to the Tao #8, ink on paper, 5.5"x 8.5", 2014homage to the Tao #8, ink on paper, 5.5"x 8.5", 2014 homage to the Tao #6, ink on paper, 5.5"x 8.5", 2014homage to the Tao #6, ink on paper, 5.5"x 8.5", 2014 homage to the Tao #5, ink on paper, 5.5"x 8.5", 2014homage to the Tao #5, ink on paper, 5.5"x 8.5", 2014 homage to the Tao #4, 5.5"x 8.5", ink on paper, 2014homage to the Tao #4, 5.5"x 8.5", ink on paper, 2014 homage to the Tao #2, ink on paper, 5.5"x 8.5", 2014homage to the Tao #2, ink on paper, 5.5"x 8.5", 2014 "Homage to the Tao 3", ink on paper, 5.5"x 8.5", 2014"Homage to the Tao 3", ink on paper, 5.5"x 8.5", 2014

(Akira Beard) Lao Tzu", ink akira beard art drawing portrait sketch tao te ching https://akirabeard.com/blog/2014/4/the-tao-carl-jung-and-a-lot-of-crosshatching Fri, 11 Apr 2014 19:46:59 GMT
the spirit and the culture.... https://akirabeard.com/blog/2014/3/the-spirit-and-the-culture     In spiritual literature, one of the reoccurring themes is the duality of the self and the eternal, or the possibility of that which is beyond the self.  The higher self/lower self, big mind/little mind, ego/ego-less, form/formless, man/god, etc.  Often what drives us into the spiritual exploration is when the material world, the human world fails us. Leaves us empty somehow, usually in the face of overbearing pain. When the life we have built ourselves into is delightful, where would the inspiration to go beyond it come from? But when aspects of that life begin to change, to fall apart, do we find the inspiration to ask the deeper questions of the world and ourselves. I wouldn't assume that everyone reaches this point somewhere along the line, but living in a modern world that does not supply the education of the underlying truth of the world and our existence, and antithetically indoctrinates a convention of living that misleads in relation to it, it is inevitable to the extent that the vast majority will suffer at some point as the result of this displacement. I feel typical as an American in this way of my upbringing, looking back how the typical ideas resulting from institutional education, as well as media, peers, family, and so on led to this conditioning that was the influence in me reaching the point of experiencing the pain, the emptiness of a world that I believed in, only to abandon these beliefs and begin to ask those deeper questions. Though I have spent the imbalanced major portion of my life experience in the material/human realm, it is in the spiritual realm that I am finding the fulfillment of what I was desiring in all the relations within forms in the material world that always left me feeling short in the end. The spiritual realm is a complete paradox. I feel this paradox is the reflection of being caught between these two realms. The spiritual world is highly personal, yet not personal at all for example. In the spiritual relation to reality, the awareness seeing past the walls of 'the self', compassion arrives in how one sees the world as they see themselves. Unity. Causing harm to another is realized as the reality of causing harm to one's self, and benefiting another is the mirror to benefiting one's self. Yet how contradictory is this to the world we live in. Such ideas are viewed as rhetoric, impractical, naive. And so the impersonal relation to living, becomes personal how one must more or less keep it to themselves. The nature of the cultural conditioning is one of self servitude. Work towards building a life for you and yours, separate from everyone else. The world becomes a series of divides and the challenge becomes in the maintenance of them all. In this world we are like schizophrenics that wear a personalized mask for the variety of relationships in our lives. How can we ever know who we really are with such obligations? And when one begins to challenge the self, does a unique experience like no other begin to take place. The self, with its habits, routines, compulsions, coping, ignorance, arrogance, delusions…. When making even the smallest shifts in one's life such as abstaining from caffeine, alcohol, sex, or any other vice that one holds habitual value towards is removed, how the discomfort follows. And it is here in that bridge begins to appear in the experience to walk thru the withdrawal of the self and see what lay beyond it. No easy task. And again, to the rational mind this seems pointless, absurd perhaps, and when life is good what drive is there to do such. But when the pain that fills the self becomes overbearing, the only option left is to let go. Let go of the pain body of the self that we have identified with so completely. And in this pain, if we still not feel the inspiration to work with it until it reaches that climax of intensity later on, still the potential never leaves us somewhere inside that we may arrive at the deeper drive of ourselves that we look for in all the wrong places that bring this pain to us. And when we do begin to work with the 'negativity' of our lives, we find ourselves beginning to work with ourselves and the world we live in. I don't see how there can be any higher achievement than this. The person that has reached this, has gained themselves and the world, and sits in it like a king/queen on a throne with a genuine smile of contentment that is the result of the deepest hearts center breathing life to the external world of forms. This is not the appearance, or the idea of success, it is the existing expression of it radiated thru a transparent wall of flesh.
        Today marks a week for myself of having gone thru a minor fast, cleanse, and abstaining from alcohol, caffeine, sex. I experience the strength, clarity, value derived from such a practice in working with one's self in this way. The trick is of course to maintain these qualities as a lifestyle. That part I am still at odds with. Though I experience the invaluable nature of profound experience in living in  such a way, still there is that aspect within that exists in wanting to feed itself in all the lusciousness that the world's industrial landscape aggressively supplies. Marcus Aurelius stated that the path of life's contentment is simple, in that it is a matter of drawing a line from end to end and simply not deviating from it… but how we can't help ourselves from deviating.  I begin to understand more and more the monastic life. It takes such strength to strip one's self down to their nature, and to live in the world that doesn't relate to this existence. I heard  a crowd participant in a dharma talk ask why buddhists monks shave their heads and wear the golden robe. The monks reply was that it was a reminder. A reminder of the line and to not deviate from it.
       At different chapters in my life, when I was searching for answers, many of these arrived thru the literature of great thinkers. When I was searching for meaning in my life I came across Viktor Frankl, the creator of logotherapy that aims at assisting the individual in realizing his/her own life purpose so as to live a life of meaning. When I was questioning the process of my artistic practice, I was obsessed with Mihaly Csikszentmihaly's "The Flow", where as a professional of psychological studies, he created a formula for happiness that was embedded in the process of any activity. And so here, I am searching for answers in living as a devotee towards the spiritual aspect of existence, while simulatneously existing in a world that is void of any nurturing or communion with this realm. So here I find the writings of Thomas Merton. A figure who devoted his life to spirituality, and though was a devoted member of the Catholic Church, his devotion went beyond any form of religious dogma that challenged this devotion. He was one of the forerunners of his tradition in developing relations with Buddhism, Taoism, HInduism, etc, seeing parallels in the nature of the spiritual wisdom that was not bound by any single religion. I am finding inspiration in his devotion to his unshaken certainty of the spirit that his him openly speaking from the heart of for example the spiritual self and the modern world, among other things, that are so relevant to anyone with parallels of anything I have described in my own exploration in this blog writing. To Thomas Merton January 31, 1915 – December 10, 1968. Rest in natural great peace brother. The following words are written into the drawing, and are an excerpt from his book "Love and Living", which further describe the inspiration of which I speak in relation to the spirit and the culture. Enjoy

      "Spiritual nakedness, without masks, is far too stark to be useful. It strips life down to the root where life and death are equal, and this is what nobody likes to look at. But it is where freedom really begins: the freedom than cannot be guaranteed by the death of somebody else. The point where you become free not to kill, not to exploit, not to destroy, not to compete, because you are no longer afraid of death or the devil or poverty or failure. If you discover this nakedness, you'd better keep it private. People don't look. But can you keep it private? Once you are exposed… Society continues to do you the service of keeping you in disguises, not for your comfort, but its own.
This realization of the true self at the apex is a coincidence of all opposites, a fusion of freedom and unfreedom, being and unseeing, life and death, self and non-self, man and God.
    The danger of education, I have found, is that it so easily confuses means with ends. Worse than that, it quite easily forgets both and devotes itself merely to the mass production of uneducated graduates- people literally unfit for anything except to take part in an elaborate and completely artificial charade which they and their contemporaries have conspired to call "life"… If I had a message to my contemporaries, it was surely this: Be anything you like, be madmen, drunks, and bastards of every shape and form, but at all costs avoid one thing: success… What I am saying is this: the score is not what matters. Life does not have to be regarded as a game in which scores are kept and somebody wins. If you are too intent on winning, you will never enjoy playing. If you are too obsessed with success, you will forget to live. If you have learned only how to be a success, your life has probably been wasted. "

homage to Thomas Merton, ink on paper, 5.5"x 8.5", 2014homage to Thomas Merton, ink on paper, 5.5"x 8.5", 2014

(Akira Beard) akira beard art drawing portrait religion sketch spirituality thomas merton https://akirabeard.com/blog/2014/3/the-spirit-and-the-culture Mon, 31 Mar 2014 17:54:28 GMT
Homage to Pema Chodron https://akirabeard.com/blog/2014/3/homage-to-pema-chodron homage to Pema Chodron, ink on paper, 5.5"x8.5", 2014homage to Pema Chodron, ink on paper, 5.5"x8.5", 2014 Its a challenge living on this earth. If you stop to look at the nature of these challenges, it can be overwhelming. Paralyzing even. But it doesn't have to be. And what is the alternative? To ignore this reality. This fate that we all share. We tend to go about our lives in this way. Ignoring the bottom line. Always trying to have a ground to exist on. Even though that ground is removed from the bottoms of our feet, flinging us into nothingness, we set back to build it again and again. What if there is no real ground? What if the true reality that we exist in, but hide from is in opposition to how we live? What will our experience be then? What is the sensibility in living a life where you live lives of separation, being one thing at home among family/friends, and another when at the workplace involved in obligations of labor that are meaningless? Meaningless in the sense of fullfillment. The American psychologisit Rollo May, "Many people feel they are powerless to do anything effective with their lives. It takes courage to break out of the settled mold, but most find conformity more comfortable. This is why the opposite of courage in our society is not cowardice, it's conformity." What does it take to get us to live? To live with the awareness of the world as it is that we all live in? To live wholesome existences, that are respectful of the world and accepting of its unseeing laws? Our lives become the deepest concentrations that aim to live so distant from the eternal source of our existence. We stray from our natural selves and get lost in the world at large. Things make sense for periods of time, but then they are shaken up. We attach so externally in beliefs and ideas that will bring us some type of security, any type of security. Whether religious, emotional, financial, and on and on. And these investments that we value in lasting forever, are met with the reality of change and we find ourselves lost. But its in this place of desperation, that the opportunity to begin can occur. To ask the questions that lead to a life of purpose in finding those answers that only our existential experience of seeing the reality of the universe, and taking the leap into it can find. Many of us in our hearts desire a life so wonderfully different than the one we bound ourselves to. And taking that first step is the scariest thing. But maybe what is at the root of this hesitation is relative to us all. Perhaps the fear of death, perhaps something else. But to begin at such a place as this, could possibly transform from the root, the core to above sending ripples that send currency into the will of our being to step thru all that holds us back. To arrive back at the beginning point of it all, becoming who we already were but deviated so far from at some point in our development.

      The above is a morning reflection, written in the manner of automatic writing more or less. It is not an issue of being correct or incorrect. Rather, looking. At one's self, and relating to the world. If anything, trying. That is all that we can do anyways. Is try. Whose to say anyways whether another is right or wrong. I find it more beneficial to work on one's own experience, rather than being so concerned with that of others in this way, Let the fruit of the existential experience alone be the measure in the discerning of what works and what doesn't, what makes sense to one and what does not. I find more and more inspiration from various sources in the understanding towards this existential path. One of those recent ones I keep coming back to, or I find coming to myself is Buddhism. There are many levels to this school of thought. The teacher, writer, Pema Chodron for example, I find inspiring in how her story is a detailed description of my words above in how one is living a lifestyle of convention that is typical in its forgetfulness of the deeper nature of being, but when it was shaken up the drive became to asking those questions that only the world beyond the 'self' can answer. She was in her second marriage in her mid thirties, when her husband stated he was going to divorce her to be with his mistress. Chodron would discover that he accumulated a number of mistresses over the years, and she was devastated of course by this and the foresight of divorce and having children I am sure as well. She was traumatized with overwhelming feelings that were hard for to manage. The ground had disappeared from under her feet, and so began the desperate search to get any type of ground back. Chodron dabbled in various schools of psychology, spirituality, etc. and it was an article by the Tibetan Rinpoche Chogyam Trungpa that would hold the potential for this ground that she would soon dedicate her life to eventually for the years to follow up to the present. The article was on 'Working with Negativity". In it Chogyam described the paradox of how negativity can be a powerful energy, that can lead to one's transformation for the better. And how the 'negative, negativity' is the experience of negativity that should be avoided, in how one conjures up ideas of blaming others, or seeing one's self as a victim, etc. This is the essence of what draws me to buddhism in how it has one working with what is available to one at all times. One's self, and the world one lives in. My understanding of culture has led me to it's opposite, in that it's constructs condition and influence the distancing with reality,  though portraying the image of what reality is.  And its when the reality pulls the ground from under, that we experience the emptiness of its eternal space. Let this piece be of even the smallest homage inspired by Chodron of the constant reminder we all need in a world of forgetfulness, to live each moment possible with awareness. To see the paradox of the world in how what we think is good for us tends to be bad for us, and vice versa. And to rise above both into the unconditional experience of the present moment of each passing second and be here with it all. "Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror. Just keep going. No feeling is final."- Rainer Maria Rilke

            The following words, written into the drawing, are those of Chodron's from her book "When Things Fall Apart"... "The difference between theism and non-theism is not whether one does or does not believe in God. It is an issue that applies to everyone, including both Buddhists and non-Buddhists.Theism is a deep-seated conviction that there is some hand to hold: if we just do the right things, someone will appreciate us and take care of us. It means thinking there is always going to be a babysitter available when we need one. We all are inclined to abdicate our responsibilities and delegate our authority to something outside ourselves. Non-theism is relaxing with the ambiguity and uncertainty of the present moment without reaching for anything to protect ourselves. We sometimes think that dharma is something outside of ourselves, something to believe in, something to measure up to. However, dharma isn't a belief; it isn't a dogma.
It is total appreciation of impermanence and change. The teachings disintegrate when we try to grasp them. We have to experience them without hope. Many brave and compassionate people have experience them and taught them. The message is fearless; dharma was never meant to be a belief that we blindly follow. Dharma gives us nothing to hold on to at all. Non-theism is finally realizing that there is no baby sitter that you can count on. You just get a good one and then he or she is gone. Non-theism is realizing that it's not just babysitters that come and go. The whole of life is like that. This is the truth, and the truth is inconvenient…
Relaxing with the present moment, relaxing with
hopelessness, relaxing with death, not resisting the fact that things end, that things pass, that
things have no lasting substance, that everything is changing all the time, that is the basic message"

(Akira Beard) Pema Chodron akira beard art buddhism drawing portrait sketch' spirituality https://akirabeard.com/blog/2014/3/homage-to-pema-chodron Fri, 28 Mar 2014 17:17:08 GMT
The world is yours chico.. https://akirabeard.com/blog/2014/3/the-world-is-yours-chico world of forms/formless world, watercolor/ink on paper, 5.5"x 8.5", 2014world of forms/formless world, watercolor/ink on paper, 5.5"x 8.5", 2014 Inspired by the movie 'Scarface', in a scene where the main character Tony Montana, at a restaurant giving a drunken soliloquy of his discontentment with life. Here, a man who has all the money, all the power yet is dissatisfied. I was inspired to have a little fun with it. The words following, are the text incorporate into the piece. The world is yours!

Is this it? This what is all about mang? Eating, drinking, working, faucking... then what chico? Go to school, get a degree. Choose a career you don't really enjoy. Buy all kinds of things. Always the newest things. Get married. Have kids so they can live this way to. Get divorced. Start over againn. Cono! Retire. This what I worked for mang? Get old, have a faucking heart attack or something. Recover and wait around to be dead. This what is all about huh? This what I lived for?

The world is yours chico. The world is inside of you. Stop being a maricon, and start to live chico. Really live! Live for the nowww. Appreciate all that you have, here and now. You came into the world with nothing. You leave the world with nothing. So why, you spending all your time, always trying to have someting. Living like a haza, always wanting more. Maybe you already have, all that you will ever need in this life. You just haven't looked yet. So look chico. look.

(Akira Beard) akira beard art painting portrait scarface tony montana watercolor https://akirabeard.com/blog/2014/3/the-world-is-yours-chico Mon, 24 Mar 2014 16:01:25 GMT
human all too human... https://akirabeard.com/blog/2014/3/human-all-too-human        Sometime last year I was thrown into that situation where the entirety of my life had been shaken up. And when it rains, it so often pours. One thing became another and it felt to no end for a point there. One of these matters was finding out about a situation of deception of a lover that I was so intimate with.  A few close friends knew of the matter at the time of its occurrence, but kept it secret for nearly 6 months until I would stumble upon that jar of darkness and open its lid after the lover had just separated.  Feeling betrayed, humiliated, overwhelmed with intense emotions which were so foreign to myself, I knew of not how to work with what was happening to me. Prior to this I had been experiencing tremendous resolve thru exercising the will to face the misfortune that was occuring so recently in my life. This process involved sitting with the pain as openly as possible, reflecting on it afterwards with space and writing, and transforming the results into an art piece. An example is where after having lost my lover, and my apartment, I was apartment sitting my friend Daniel's place for a week. I was in such pain, I lacked any appetite for food, entertainment, socializing... I would sit in the apartment and read spiritual literature such as "The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying" by Sogyal Rinpoche, and relating it to the loss I was at the center of, would go to the kitchen table and write my insights. Upon exercising all that came to me on the subject, I felt so alone. And I sat with that too. Wishing for a way out, I thought of inspiration. Someone that could transmit me the courage, the wisdom, the unwavering devotion, the love. I desired a coach... I always loved the Rocky movie series, and the boxer's coach Mick's face came to mind. He became the symbol of all those qualities that I so desperately was hungry for. I began to paint his portrait and upon completion, integrated the text I had earlier written reflecting on the current loss. The result of all of this was an art piece.  love and loss, watercolor/ink on paper, 8.5"x 2.5", 2012love and loss, watercolor/ink on paper, 8.5"x 2.5", 2012

The piece finished, the experience however did not end there. I can't recall how it initially occured, but I would end up developing a connection with an individual across the globe in Australia. Elhi was mourning the sudden loss of her mother, and a connection manifested thru the piece created, as well as online chats we would have. The piece would exchange lives, from mine to hers, and though the communication has milded, the connection remains. This wasn't the first time a situation like this had occured, but the harmony experienced by its entirety has become clearer to myself and has become the ultimate inspiration so as to live fully, and to express from this fullness openly, honestly. The harmony is that of life and art integrated. Only semantics dividing them, the reality not. So this has become the process... living life with awareness, reflecting on the nature of the experience, creating an art piece mirroring this reflection back into the world in hopes of benefiting the life force of another. When I repeatedly express life itself as a miracle, this is the source from where such an attitude comes from.

     So much of the artist's path is of continued experimentation and exploration. I recently answered a college student from Georgia's question about my techniques of experimentation with watercolor. Outside of learning the language of painting and drawing during art school myself, I have never and still am not concerned with experimenting with the use of mediums. I do however experiment in other ways. Getting back to the episode that began this blog, with going thru the circumstance of being overpowered by feelings of hurt and betrayal by the ex, an aquaintance of mine confronted me in how I focus on the positive aspect of life so extremely. She suggested I explore the darkness and create from that place since that is the reality of the situation that I was in. So I did. It was a Sunday morning, and I had just left the couch of a friends place and was being picked up by a few friends to go hiking in nature. I had the conversation on the phone with the aforementioned acquaintance and though in a car with 4 friends, I couldn't be there completely with them. I was that much more overwhelmed by the thoughts, the emotions of not only processing the betrayal by the ex, but now by the drive to make art out of it. The car stopped at a light nearing downtown, and apologetically I told my friends that I couldn't do it today. I ran on the streets, perhaps looking a bit deranged, and made my way to the studio. I set up an artist's board with charcoal and drawing paper and walked away and sat under the sun... I sat with the pain but couldn't cry. Though I wanted to, for I felt so heavy inside. I would do a series of drawings without reference other than my own thoughts/feelings. Towards the end, I focused on one drawing and took a break to go outside. Still wanting to cry, I put a the hood of the sweater over my head, and the earplugs of my music in my ears and turned it up all the way. The song playing was John Lennon's "Mother". It wasn't the words of the song that hit me in that moment, it was the intensity of the vulnerable unrehearsed primal screams that were borderline melodic that had me balling in tears. The song is around 3 minutes, I must have lost myself in this manner for at least half of it. Though I found a quiet space in the dark, when the song finished I plugged my ears back into the real world only to look over my right shoulder and see a young individual remove his eye contact as if he had just been pointed out in a criminal line up. I wasnt embarrased however, I was liberated. I went back to the studio and finished the drawing. And getting back to experimentation, the drawing was a failure but a learned experience in the end. Upon completing the drawing, there was nowhere to take it. Unlike the above "love,loss" piece, this piece invited death not life. The nature of this piece was about a sick feeling I felt in my stomach, and art was a container to bring it out in. I didn't feel the will to invite such expression into anyone else's life. Though I continue to do such pieces, I keep those more to myself. There potential is more cathartic towards my own healing, so that I may cultivate the strength in attempting to make expressions that can perhaps add to the life force of the world, not take away from it.

          And so with this recent piece, the exploration, the experimentation continues. I've been working with hot pallettes, because orange, yellow, reds best express the nature of that which I have been focusing on. More spiritual oriented expressions. And so for fun, why not take it the other direction. So I began with blue, and allowed the reflection to arise from these colors as well. Learning from the trial and errors of the past, in relation to all that was mentioned in this blog writing of life, art, intention... this was the result. Human, all too Human is the title of a book by philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. The piece isn't about his ideas however, I've always liked the title, and used it as a reference point in the summation of this piece's spirit. The beauty of the unconditional human experience... enjoy

    The words written in "Human, All too Human"... -Human, all too human. To be afraid. To forget. To make mistakes. To struggle. To be confused. To lose soo much, to lose everything perhaps. To take accountability for the consequences of one's actions. To admit guilt. To experience pain. To suffer. To cry. To commit sin. To cope. To experience addiction. To hate. To lie, to cheat, to steal. To fall. Yet, it is in the humility of being open about such things when brought to the light  of awareness, that begins their resolution. . The resolution of so much that we deny in our experience resulting in an incomplete human experience, becomes wholesome . The denial of life becomes a distortion of ideas of what reality is, and the avoidance of experiencing reality directly is replaced with coping. No form of coping holds the power of contentment. Rather than liberation, one is slave to the external attachment of one's choosing. In the desperate search to replace the loss of one's inner half, everything outside one's self is manipulated to try and make it fit. But it never does, and we experience this over and over when we lose that, whatever it maybe time and time again. Yielding to the fear however, taking the leap, even a little one, the hidden nature is revealed as the heaviest release as if shedding the weight of one's entire body and walking forward in great strides effortlessly. Everything falls in its place so easily as if puzzle pieces rained from the sky forming complete images of the world in their consolidation. Dark turns to light in all things. The world has transformed in a complete reversal. Burden becomes purpose. Vulnerability becomes strength. Struggle becomes appreciation. Death becomes life. Life is seen with eyes wide open as if waking up from a coma, almost as if seen for the first time. So clear, so fresh. Life is received as the greatest gift, and the gift is opened by living it unconditionally for it's wholeness. As a complete human, one never feel the need to apologize for how one lives. It is the incomplete human, that finds him/herself apologizing . Apologizing to themselves for missing so much of what was hidden for so long, to themselves. And so when it is revealed, open the entirety of yourself without a single doubt to it.


human all too... 9"x 12", watercolor/ink on yupo, 2014human all too... 9"x 12", watercolor/ink on yupo, 2014

(Akira Beard) akira beard art painting portrait transformation watercolor yupo https://akirabeard.com/blog/2014/3/human-all-too-human Wed, 12 Mar 2014 16:31:50 GMT
exploring the power of presence https://akirabeard.com/blog/2014/3/exploring-the-power-of-presence  

Having arrived in Detroit, Michigan almost 3 months ago, I unknowingly would be living in the most severe winter here since the early 20th century from what the locals describe. It has snowed nearly every single day for these last few months. Part of me being here, is the exploration of throwing myself into reality and working with it. There were various fingers pointing to this place, and I simply followed. There is always that initial fear, doubt in making ones self vulnerable to such uncertainty, yet that is the whole point. And more often than not, the mind's dysfunction is revealed if one go beyond thought and experience the action. Its not the doing that makes so much difficult, its the thinking of doing. After being here, the experiences that have presented themselves... it all makes sense in a perfect, indescribable way. Not without challenge of course. Coming from San Francisco, where I had my practice of swimming in the bay as a spiritual discipline, biked thru the city for inspiration, participated in social circles on the regular, and so on... my life would go from complete activity to that of near hibernation. Due to the snow here, I have been forced to be indoors most of the time. On the occasional social gathering, conversation tends to relate to the severity of the weather and the 'winter depression' that results from it. Yet it again however, this is an opportunity for inner work. To not demand condition of the place I find myself in, but to find its treasure. The treasure I found in being with it. And when the sun begins to melt away the snow, I will find the treasure in that as well. The goal is to not experience reality via condition, rather unconditionally.

             Excited that it had finally stopped snowing and the temperature above the 30's, comrade Emilee and I excitingly drove over to a nature park in Troy, Michigan. The snow had not melted, but the fact that we could even walk around without feeling the punishment of the wind chill was relieving. We walked around tall trees buried in snow with the smell of maple all around. And half way thru we found a spot and meditated. We closed our eyes and tuned our being, in harmony with the present world. When coming to again, it was as if the spotlight of the world had been turned on. The colors vibrant, the tiniest sounds intense, the firmness of the ground so inviting. Being in nature invites this intense presentness. Mediation is the vehicle to ride in the passenger seat taking it all in on like a tourist in a foreign, exotic land that gives no other joy than experiencing all that is within it. The trick is to carry this same spirit outside of the nature park, into as many as life's situations as possible. Whether waiting in line at the post office, purchasing a coffee from the local barista, driving to work, etc. To invoke that same passion of participation with whatever is offered. I shipped a painting for a show in Maryland this morning, and the worker was rude. She was uninterested in helping me. While she rolled her eyes, lost patience with my slow demeanor, and so on, I was present with her. Not analytically, emotionally but just intensely with her. The make up on her cheeks, the number of black pearls on her ring, the crows feet in the corner of her eyes, the various subtle tones of make up sloppily applied on the lips and bled to the skin around it, the gradation in blonde hair with dark roots, and on and on. I enjoyed being there. I was a little stressed with her pressure applied demands, but I was with my stress too. All done with direct eye contact and gentleness. Though it didn't happen here, I've been in  such situations before where my devotion to presence had an affect on the other party. Its almost as if they became aware suddenly of the lack of theirs and saw the fun of it and joined in. I feel this tends to occur when that pattern is broken where one party is dependent on the reaction of another, but when the other party creates with spontaneity rather than predictable reaction, does a shift occur. I can remember a situation with a police officer yelling at me, where I went to him right after, made eye contact, only for him to yell at me more. When I spoke, though with a shaky voice, I took full responsibility for what I had done, apologized, and ended with the inquiry as to why the need to yell at me with such aggression. He looked stumped, removed his eye contact and parted ways. Im sure he would have new how to react if I had reacted in any number of ways. But unscripted, a creative response was demanded though not met.  The power of presence is so relative with so much of this life experience. Without it, its as if one misses out on the experience of life itself. Fundamentally, presence is so easily accessible, yet it is so easily missed. Test it in your next conversation. Is the other person present? Or are they distracted. Distracted by thoughts, emotions, what others are thinking? More importantly one's self. Are you present? Are you aware of the time, the season... while you're in its pulsating center?

         This piece was inspired by recently visiting the Detroit Zen Center. Though I don't identify with being a buddhist, I continue to learn so much from the Buddha's teachings. It was a beautiful experience to be in the presence of this community, though only once so far, and sit in meditation with them. Whether inside the temple, or outside of it, the commitment is to cultivate the ability to be deeply aware of the constant occuring reality, and to live fearlessly in it. Sometimes this mediation takes the form of a seated posture, sometimes it is on foot. Regardless of the time or the place, the devotion is to live in it's center. Or as it says at the entrance of the Detroit Zen Center, " Bring only your open heart, leave everything else behind... transcend the human world and realize your true nature." -Sunim. Enjoy

"Inner World", oil on wood, 8" x10", 2014"Inner World", oil on wood, 8" x10", 2014

(Akira Beard) akira beard art detroit zen center meditation painting zen https://akirabeard.com/blog/2014/3/exploring-the-power-of-presence Tue, 11 Mar 2014 19:20:36 GMT
searching and finding after ten years https://akirabeard.com/blog/2014/2/slight-insights-into-the-development-of-my-practice Upon graduating from art school around a decade ago, I began taking all that I learned up to that point in regards to the creation of art and set out towards the unfiltered development of my own.  Though there was a natural struggle early on in doing this, thru that process of trial and error, if you were to look at what I had produced over this decade span it may not be so obvious based on looking at the art itself. This is because of the format of how I worked for the most part. Though predominantly paintings and drawings, even when I experimented with other medium such as found objects, the composition was always consistent in its minimalism. Most of the work was simply an object in the center, surrounded by empty space. In the beginning of working this way, my intention was to bring intense attention to the idea that was being expressed, by reducing it to a single object. Anything beyond that, I felt would be a distraction. For example, my money paintings during the cultural exploration period of my art, was always a dollar bill in the middle surrounded by nothing. Even when I went beyond painting money as money, where I used the dollar bill design as a composition in itself, I still kept this second money series strictly as an object in the middle of space. An example is where I painted Jesus in place of any of the U.S. presidents, and used symbols of the republican party, the jesus fish, etc. to create an expression of American religion in a composition. This would be carried onto my portrait series within that cultural exploration realm, as well as the current Nature exploration. What I've come to realize currently, beyond the initial intent mentioned earlier in this minimalistic consistent approach, is that a deeper aspect of my intention (unknown to myself) was that the effort has been one of searching. I can remember hearing an NPR show on Richard Pryor some years back, where one critic described him as a cultural anthropologist in how Pryor dug into the American soil and brought artifacts to the surface that contained a knowledge of what this American culture was about during his lifetime. I liked this cultural anthropologist idea, and used it as an inspiration in my own efforts. And in current realization after a decade of exploration, do I find that discovery as to why I have worked in such a disciplined format. I always talk about wanting to understand the deeper nature of this human experience. In doing so, it is a practice of removing layer after layer in hopes of getting to the center. The exploration has always been a drive inwards, not outwards. If the drive were outwards, my paintings would consist of adding various design elements. But the drive has always been on what I am painting, not how I am painting it. When I painted Snoop Dogg for example, it wasn't a painting of Snoop Dogg. But it was a painting of the values of ignorance and lack of existential responsibility. The model was chosen as a cultural archetype that represented this on a popular level.  "American Existentialism 2", watercolor/paintmarker/graphite/pen/acrylic on paper- 5.5"x 8.5" (2010)"American Existentialism 2", watercolor/paintmarker/graphite/pen/acrylic on paper- 5.5"x 8.5" (2010) But during this period of culture expression, it was hard to see the deeper nature for it was bounded by the walls of culture itself. Anyone can turn on the tv, read the paper, step outside with the minimal awareness and see the limitations, problems that exist as a result of culture sustainability. Yet it was with the current nature exploration, that realization has come to fruition. And I can't help but feel excited what lay ahead in this sense, not in the way of any external reward, but the discovery of what I have been looking for, for so long. And as part of this nature exploration, I find myself arriving at specific teachings and teachers on the nature of reality. Chogyam Trungpa is one of those. His teachings continue to bring me to realization of the genuine human experience, and to take the leap towards embracing it. To exist with the utmost human wakefulness possible, deeply alive, appreciating the unconditional experience of being a human being in a phenomenal universe. Thru my cultural exploration, I came to find this modern western culture seemingly backwards in so many ways. But with the cultivation of this understanding that I discuss from Trungpa alone, does my personal experience within culture no longer feel as such. Rather it feels harmonious and forward. Thank you Rinpoche. homage to Chogyam Trungpa II, watercolor/goauche on paper, 9"x 12", 2014homage to Chogyam Trungpa II, watercolor/goauche on paper, 9"x 12", 2014

(Akira Beard) akira beard art portrait rinpoche sketch watercolor https://akirabeard.com/blog/2014/2/slight-insights-into-the-development-of-my-practice Fri, 28 Feb 2014 17:23:26 GMT
the beauty of the human head https://akirabeard.com/blog/2014/2/the-beauty-of-the-human-head human headpiece, watercolor on yupo, 9"x12", 2014human headpiece, watercolor on yupo, 9"x12", 2014 Continuing from the previous blog post, regarding the exploration of the beauty of the grotesque... curiosity towards the understanding of the human experience has been with me as far back as I can remember. Though I've spent a good number of years taking this existence for granted, my greatest discontent seems to lay in finding continued inspiration in learning of the complexities of who we are. This includes the study of human psychology, metaphysics, philosophy, and so on. If you follow my artistic expressions at all, you can see these explorations and realizations thru out. Another aspect towards the exploration of who we all are is the study of anatomy. That physical expression of all of us united. We may come to have different ideas of who we are, what reality is and so on, but we all share the same physiology. Muscles, bones, organs, etc. A few years ago, I had the fortune to teach artist's anatomy at art college, and this gave me the opportunity, the inspiration to explore it further. I would come to find a beauty in the colors, shapes, functions, forms of human anatomy, and so naturally would this extend into art pieces created. I've attended the traveling cadaver show, "Body Worlds" on two occasions and left moved. It really brings that objective mirror of reality of ourselves. Its like being in a museum of death that, at least to myself, doesn't feel morbid at all. In San Francisco, I've also had the experience of visiting a cadaver lab at least a half dozen times so as to draw from ecorched corpses, like the artists of past such as Leonardo DaVinci did in their acquisition of anatomical knowledge. The most recent time I did this, around 18 months ago, I held a human brain in my hands. When I left the lab that day, I can recall being cut off by a car on the street as I walked almost immediately, and how I was transparent to any reaction of aggression. I was really in tune with the bigger picture of this existence so immediately after spending intimate time with the dead, and was unaffected by the small things. Memento Mori. There are so many miracles accessible all around us, and the personal existence of ourselves is a powerful one. Though alot of my research tends to be intangible, the anatomy of ourselves is a visual one that can only aid in deeper appreciation thru awareness, of the beautiful mystery of nature. At its nature, it is just another example how such a complexity of systems work so perfectly together thru design that is beyond imagination, comprehension. I hope these paintings can pay even the most minimal heed towards this aspect of our nature.

         This painting, "human being", will be on exhibition alongside other talents at Modern Eden Gallery San Francisco, opening March 8th. For more information please visit  moderneden.com. Thank you for visiting.


(Akira Beard) akira beard anatomy art moderneden portrait watercolor yupo https://akirabeard.com/blog/2014/2/the-beauty-of-the-human-head Wed, 26 Feb 2014 22:09:00 GMT
homages to Joseph Merrick, a.k.a 'The Elephant Man' https://akirabeard.com/blog/2014/2/homages-to-joseph-merrick-a-k-a-the-elephant-man For an upcoming show at Spoke Art Gallery where the theme is of tribute to David Lynch, I new upon invitation immediately that I was going to paint the Elephant Man. This was an early film of Lynch's, made in 1980 which is loosely based on the life of Joseph Merrick.  Merrick was born and lived during the 19th century with severe deformity resulting from massive tumors that covered most of his body, which only progressed over his short lifetime. The name elephant man, was the result of a stage name where he was exhibited to the public as a 'human curiosity'. This is how he made his living.  The film uses Merricks life, as a foundation point and adds to it characters and situations that reflect on the nature of various social archetypes of human interactions with that of a severly deformed individual. Myself, I saw the film as a child and have revisited time and time again since. As a child, the only lasting effect it had was that it terrified me. I was disturbed by the image of the elephant man, too young to comprehend its psychological layers. Years later, it is these deeper psychological reflections that has me watching the film time to time. Characters relations with the elephant man range from pity, prejudice, exploitation, curiosity, repulsiveness, and so on. What I love about films with such an array of archetypes is that though we tend to want to identify with only those that are positive, and condemn those that are negative, if one is honest with themselves one generally experiences the variety of themselves in all the characters. I feel that is what makes such a film as this so deeply beautiful. We are capable, as well as guilty of a lot more than we care to admit. And if one interacts with such an art piece, so as to put their barriers down one can walk away with more than just an entertaining experience. I did. Its aided in the deeper awareness of myself.
    Relating to this piece, but the show itself aside, I have been working with the theme related to the grotesque for the past few weeks. The grotesque as beautiful that is. Participating in a series of exhibitions these next few months, from unrelated resources the themes have been coincidentally similar in working with the grotesque. What I enjoy about working with themed shows, is that it tends to create a playground of sorts where I further explore what I have been, yet within subjects I would have otherwise perhaps not done so personally. For example, I am exploring the nature of all things at the moment, where I have focused on the nature of love, reality, mind, spirituality, and so on. But for the time being it has become about the nature of the unconscious, dark matter. The grotesque. This piece of the elephant man, is based on a subject matter that is to be direct about it, disturbing. However, paint itself in all its colors, forms, textures. strokes lends itself to beauty. Not that I am working with any juxtaposition, but it is there. Though I have chose not to incorporate text into this piece, reflections are a natural occurrence of the subject that I am expressing. Though I do not relate physically to the elephant man with his ailments, like many perhaps, I relate to the experience of being judged or even felt to be outcasted as the result of appearance. A few years ago, I had the unfortunate experience of having an abscess in my mouth gums, which grew to nearly the size of a baseball. It deformed my face, and I can recall feeling so self conscious walking the streets prior to going to the emergency room for treatment. People stared. It can't be helped. For whatever reason, it is in within us to react toward others that have exaggerated appearances. Their is even the milder occasions, where I have been on both sides. Laughing and pointing a finger at someone's fashion attire which is in opinion 'bad taste', and having been mocked by the public in regards to my own. Though situations like these occurred in younger years, it is reflections such as these that are inspired by the elephant man. Obviously the nature of his appearance was not the choice of his will, and brought on everyday reactions of unfortunate negativity daily I could only imagine. And as I write this, I think that is the tragedy felt at the heart of the expression… that one can be made to feel so ugly, not by actions they have exercised as the result of will, but as the result of nature itself. Being born in such a way that has the world one lives in despising one's self. Yet the beauty in the tragedy being where the elephant man, in the film, lived with sincerity, forgiveness, and exercised the will to live for the sake of living appreciatively. It is these last few sentences that has me so inspired by such an archetype of a man. elephant man headpiece, watercolor on yupo, 9"X 12", 2014elephant man headpiece, watercolor on yupo, 9"X 12", 2014

(Akira Beard) David Lynch akira beard art elephantman painting portrait watercolor yupo https://akirabeard.com/blog/2014/2/homages-to-joseph-merrick-a-k-a-the-elephant-man Tue, 25 Feb 2014 15:35:25 GMT
uprooted... https://akirabeard.com/blog/2014/2/uprooted primordial nature, ink on paper, 8.5"x 10", 2014primordial nature, ink on paper, 8.5"x 10", 2014


I love meeting new people. I love being present with every type of individual and listening to their story. Past, present, future. Much of the art that I create is the result of constant life experience, especially as the result of being with people. So thank you, for the inspiration to all those that I come in contact with. For being who you are at that given moment in time. There is no judgement on this side, only appreciation. These expressions tend to be more or less the commonality that forms as subject matter for a drawing, writing, painting, etc. Just another page added in the exploration of the human condition. Enjoy

Let's look into the nature of ourselves. Let us look at ourselves as if we were an outsider to ourselves, looking at a distance in nonjudgmental observation. Underneath it all, what will we arrive at? Let's look into the nature of our actions, our ambitions, our goals, our relationships with all things. This is not a practice of psycho-analysis. This is not about deconstructing one's self and piecing it all back together. This is simple honesty. In the most basic sense. Will we however have the courage to extend this honesty to ourselves? It is worthwhile to do so for life will bring one back to this place of self confrontation over and over. Its as if we are running from something, yet no matter how far the distance we always end up at that initial starting point. This is the juxtaposition of the inner and outer position of our being. So much of life management is dedicated to external participation. Somehow however, we find ourselves disoriented when life shakes up the external worlds we create. The disorientation is that we don't often know how to deal with the situation internally. We cope, we run, but we don't often deal with that broken world. We move towards recreating the next one. Why not rid the juxtaposition of inner and outer, and harmonize the two? The world seems so backwards in the nature of this juxtaposition of inner and outer, where with the outer will the inner be given life. But the harmony exists in the opposite. From giving life to the inner, does the outer flourish. This is like a seed planted in the earth, growing from the ground up into a blossoming flower. How beautiful when we experience our lives in this way. How when we exist from the heart, we sometimes find ourselves spotlit on a stage receiving standing ovation of encouragement from the universe's applause. We win the prize without manipulating the world we live in. We work in accordance with the world itself. Existing from the heart is relating to the world via that metaphysical aspect of ourselves. A deep trust in basic goodness of the world is placed, and one opens one's self to the possibilities, the mysteries. This is the boundless experience of reality. Yet how we tend to exist from the mind and limit ourselves to the potential of reality in this way. Existing from the mind is like walking on the street and thinking each step before the next. The walk becomes stressful, exhausting, and thoughts often lead to negative foresights of what may exists at the end leading to the point of sitting on the couch to avoid walking at all. What suffering… yet how we tend to live our lives in this manner. Always thinking, doubting, rationalizing, intellectualizing. How much nicer to feel the bottom of the earth under one's feet with each step, and take in the weather of the air depending on the geographical location and time of day. Appreciating life for life. Grateful and aware of life itself. Aware that I have eyes to take in the full spectrum of the world's color wether by nature or manmade, that I have ears to hear the orchestra of sounds whether the complex collaboration of a city or the quite stillness of a rural town. That I have a tongue to taste the ingredients of infinite flavors of desire. Life is beautiful. Life is not made beautiful, in that it was created to meet conditions making it so. No, life is experienced unconditionally, as is. Life is beautiful in that it is experienced as it is with gratitude and awareness. And from the beginning, in our most basic primordial state, I can only imagine how such appreciation was natural. But years went by, and things changed with life experience and the seed that began to grow uprooted somehow reversed like the nature of an ingrown hair. So taking a time out, and giving ourselves space and looking at ourselves as an outsider. Will we see the ambitions, actions, relation towards all things with ourselves as uprooting or downrooting?

(Akira Beard) akira beard art crosshatching drawing existential ink sketch https://akirabeard.com/blog/2014/2/uprooted Fri, 14 Feb 2014 16:29:07 GMT
the truth transforms us (message to Christopher) https://akirabeard.com/blog/2014/2/rebirth-message-to-christopher  

Change is rarely met without the struggle of moving forward. Change, when it occurs with anything that we place high value on. Especially when it involves that vulnerable aspect of ourselves, the human heart. I'm discussing human relationships of intimacy in particular. The communion of 2 lovers and the separation that at some point inevitably follows. Inevitably, because even if there is complete unified harmony between 2 people, no one is acception to the law of impermanence. Death. Myself, I went thru the process yet again of being in an intimate relationship only to have it end after 5 years. I have experienced loss before, in various forms, but nothing quite seems to compare to the pain as when making myself vulnerable to another human being and then parting ways. The physical, emotional withdrawal at the end is not without tremendous difficulty. Never is one so alive in an autonomous way, where even a molecule of dust on the skin is met with intensive sensitivity. The world has opened up, and it is overwhelming. The heart is exposed and ever does it hurt. Paradoxically, what a powerful place to be in. Of course, this is easier expressed in hindsight. It was only a little more than a year ago, that I could not go a day without crying, vulnerable to nostalgic thoughts that brought up fierce emotions that would have me drift away regardless of what was occuring in the reality of that given moment. The paradox is that behind the pain, exists the potential to not only heal, but to experience such deep realization of ourselves. One has to experience the pain however, walk thru it like walking thru a wall of fire. And walking thru this wall will burn badly, however, the fire is not real and will not singe one's skin. It will hurt nonetheless, and though it may not feel this way, know that you will not die from this yielding. Our thoughts and emotions may overpower us with intensity, but they can not kill us like an actual fire can. And only when walking thru, will this intimidating fire of fierceness be transformed into a transparent crystal body of water of bliss which we swim in towards our healing. Culturally, we are not taught how to deal with ourselves when we experience this separation, the breaking of attachment with a loved one. We cope, we deny, we blame, distract ourselves often thinking the hands of time will heal. We run away from the pain. We run away from ourselves. We run away from our healing. And this becomes the pattern for death when it raises its head in all aspects of our existence. We spend our whole lives running away. Yet, if we look at this situation when it arises, as it will, over and over in various forms, perhaps we will see the paradox of it. And so be inspired to stop running away, and start running towards ourselves. And perhaps there will be a contentment, an inner peace that is familiar, though years forgotten, that we exhaustingly devote so much time and action towards externally, yet never able to find. And perhaps in this realization, the contentment acutualized is the result that there is no place left to go.

   To my brother Christopher who is in that process of separation. Nothing but love to you and the continued path of self realization and victory. You are a beautiful man. Do know this, and an expression shared to you from the words of Thomas Merton... "In actual fact, conventions are the death of real tradition as they are of all real life. They are parasites which attach themselves to the living organism of tradition and devour all its reality, turning it into a hollow formality.
      Tradition is living and active, but convention is passive and dead. Tradition does not form us automatically: we have to work to understand it. Convention is accepted passively, as a matter of routine. Therefore, convention easily becomes an evasion of reality. It offers us only pretended ways of solving the problems of living - a system of gestures and formalities. Tradition really teaches us to live and shows us how to take full responsibility for our own lives. Thus tradition is often flatly opposed to what is ordinary, to what is mere routine. But convention, which is a mere repetition of familiar routines, follows the line of least resistance. One goes through an act, without trying to understand the meaning of it all, merely because everyone else does the same. Tradition, which is always old, is at the same time ever new because it is always reviving - born again in each new generation, to be lived and applied in a new and particular way. Convention is simply the ossification of social customs. The activities of conventional people are merely excuses for NOT acting in a more integrally human way. Tradition nourishes the life of the spirit; convention merely disguises its interior decay.”

    There is an eternal wisdom of the world that is not limited to, but more familiar to us in spiritual writings/teachings passed down for generations that exist somewhere in all cultures that unifies the nature of us all, beyond the words that only exist to communicate their meanings. It was in my place of nakedness, humility, and pain that I opened my heart to it's transmition. In this way, I feel blessed for the pain bestowed upon me, just as much as the bliss, the love that preceeded it .And please do not mistake these words as religious born again whatever, this is the expression of the realization of genuine human beingness, on the most basic, fundemental level of experiencing the world as it is, as a human. Such an example of that eternal world's wisdom, I feel, can be experienced in the words of Thomas Merton. The following drawing is paying homage to him, and his words and the writing below are excerpts of his writings which I have also incorporated into the piece. Enjoy and best to you.. always.

homage to Thomas Merton, ink on paper, 8.5" x 10", 2014homage to Thomas Merton, ink on paper, 8.5" x 10", 2014

“Do not depend on the hope of results. You may have to face the fact that your work will be apparently worthless and even achieve no result at all, if not perhaps results opposite to what you expect. As you get used to this idea, you start more and more to concentrate not on the results, but on the value, the rightness, the truth of the work itself. You gradually struggle less and less for an idea and more and more for specific people. In the end, it is the reality of personal relationship that saves everything.”
"You do not need to know precisely what is happening, or exactly where it is all going. What you need is to recognize the possibilities and challenges offered by the present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith and hope.”
The logic of worldly success rests on a fallacy: the strange error that our perfection depends on the thoughts and opinions and applause of other men! A weird life it is, indeed, to be living always in somebody else's imagination, as if that were the only place in which one could at last become real!”
“The greatest need of our time is to clean out the enormous mass of mental and emotional rubbish that clutters our minds
“Pride makes us artificial; humility makes us real”
"We have the choice of two identities: the external mask which seems to be real...and the hidden, inner person who seems to us to be nothing, but who can give himself eternally to the truth in whom he subsists."
"The solution of the problem of life is life itself. Life is not attained by reason and analysis but first of all by living.”
“The biggest human temptation is to settle for too little.”
"The question of love is one that cannot be evaded. Whether or not you claim to be interested in it from the moment you are alive you are bound to be concerned with love because love is not just something that happens to you: It is a certain special way of being alive. Love is in fact an intensification of life a completeness a fullness a wholeness of life.”
"Love is our true destiny. We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone we find it with another.”
"We live on the brink of disaster because we do not know how to let life alone. We do not respect the living and fruitful contradictions and paradoxes of which true life is full.”
"This act of total surrender is not merely a fantastic intellectual and mystical gamble; it is something much more serious. It is an act of love for this unseen person, who, in the very gift of love by which we surrender ourselves to his reality also makes his presence known to us.”
"Words stand between silence and silence: between the silence of things and the silence of our own being. Between the silence of the world and the silence of God. When we have really met and known the world in silence, words do not separate us from the world nor from other men, nor from God, nor from ourselves because we no longer trust entirely in language to contain reality.”
"A man who fails well is greater than one who succeeds badly.”
"In actual fact, conventions are the death of real tradition as they are of all real life. They are parasites which attach themselves to the living organism of tradition and devour all its reality, turning it into a hollow formality.

Tradition is living and active, but convention is passive and dead. Tradition does not form us automatically: we have to work to understand it. Convention is accepted passively, as a matter of routine. Therefore, convention easily becomes an evasion of reality. It offers us only pretended ways of solving the problems of living - a system of gestures and formalities. Tradition really teaches us to live and shows us how to take full responsibility for our own lives. Thus tradition is often flatly opposed to what is ordinary, to what is mere routine. But convention, which is a mere repetition of familiar routines, follows the line of least resistance. One goes through an act, without trying to understand the meaning of it all, merely because everyone else does the same. Tradition, which is always old, is at the same time ever new because it is always reviving - born again in each new generation, to be lived and applied in a new and particular way. Convention is simply the ossification of social customs. The activities of conventional people are merely excuses for NOT acting in a more integrally human way. Tradition nourishes the life of the spirit; convention merely disguises its interior decay.”

(Akira Beard) akira beard art christopher jernberg drawing love portrait sketch thomas merton https://akirabeard.com/blog/2014/2/rebirth-message-to-christopher Mon, 10 Feb 2014 18:11:20 GMT
end of one year and beginning of the next (2013 reflection) https://akirabeard.com/blog/2014/1/end-of-one-year-and-beginning-of-the-next-2013-reflection end of year reflection, ink on paper, 8.5" x 10", 2014end of year reflection, ink on paper, 8.5" x 10", 2014 the end of another year, the beginning of a next. Another page added in the compilation of our life's history and ever is the point at which to pause… and read the life of ourselves and where we have arrived an inspired opportunity as in this space of ending and beginning. Will we first of all have the desire, the courage to look at ourselves in the mirror in this way? What a powerful place to begin with, for if we lack the ability to begin with that unconditional honesty toward ourselves, what does this say of how we relate and experience the world outside of ourselves? And when we begin to read the pages of our memoir, are we inspired as much as when we read that of another we hold to be profound? If not, why so? At least in realizing the commonality that we are attracted to in the lives of others gives awareness to what we would have ourselves live for. Then its a matter of knowing what is stopping us from living for this, from making this the central purpose of our lives that gives our existence meaning. So where ever we are in this existential spectrum, let us exercise the power of the will in bringing us that much closer in obtaining the world we privately dream of in our inner heart's desire.

   Around xmas, new years time, i've made it a ritual of sorts to reflect on the passing year. The victories, the defeats, the experiences. The nature of which is a ritual of gratitude towards the blessing of existence. More and more I find this to be important in how many I'm sure can relate to how time seems to speed up as we become older. And though in writing this it comes from a more personal place in it's description, the aim/essence is less so. I hope the reader benefits in an uplifting way, in adding to his/her own existence.
      If I were to sum up 2013 in a single word, mine would be 'transformation'. It was profoundly intense in this manner. The events that led to this actually began in October 2012 where my partner and I separated just before our 5 year anniversary. Naturally the pain was tremendous, and I loved her deeply. I still do. I heard a preacher recently describe how love isn't complete till it has met it's end, and one exercises love just as openly in the mourning. Though I would hear these words more than a year later, the parallels describe my experience with this relationship in a nutshell and it was from this that the doors of transformation began to open. I've experienced loss, not only in intimate relationships, before, however it was different this time. In the past whenever difficult circumstance of this range occurred, I would deny it in various ways. Become a workaholic, resort to alcohol, become overly social, etc. Anything to deny the pain. The idea was that time alone would heal. I feel the truth is that time passes, however without healing in this approach. The pain repressed, becomes suffering. To heal, one must experience the loss, the pain. So this time, I don't know why, but I did so. This was exercised in various ways from doing an art piece reflecting in detail every beautiful memory from those 5 years i could recall, to waking up in cold sweats of dreams of our past where I out loudly would speak to myself 'ok, lets do it', allowing the emotions of pain from memory and loss to rise and wrestle me in bed. Though in these moments, the experience was highly uncomfortable they were short lived thru this yielding. And more so, I would feel empowered each time. I experienced the power to heal. This yielding of detailed existence, bled into the bigger picture that had me seeing the complete experience to all things. The beginning and the end, and how I had always denied the end. I began applying this same practice whenever the end of anything occurred. And did they ever occur. In the next 6 months what would follow was the loss of my apartment, the gallery I had been working with, my job, friendships…. With each of these, the feeling was of shock, of having the rug pulled from under one's feet, and the emotions and pain arose with each loss. However I yielded to all of them. And never have I felt so complete, so well in relating to life. Breakthroughs like these are priceless, and I was inspired to go deeper. As one spiritual teacher said, "don't mistake realization for understanding, with realization go deeper… and deeper and deeper". So I went deeper in the awareness of my experience as an incomplete human up to this point. I would experience the basis of it as the nature of fear, rooted in my mind. The incomplete human experience to run from the pain was one example of fear. I wanted to realize others. This would lead me to anything that talked about the nature of mind, which I found to be the root. This included Tibetan Buddhism, Taoism, The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius, Eastern mysticism, and so on. I would begin each day with studying, and then go thru out the day applying thru practice the studies, and discerning thru reflection upon experience that which related to my existential fear and ultimately could lead to perhaps its liberation. Laughing now, I can remember how intense this became as if confronting my complete existence in glimpses. One example is where I was reading the Tibetan Book of the Dead on the way to giving a lecture to a college anatomy art class. I would usually put on a teacher persona of sorts, but reading how we are more than concepts of titles for example that we create and identity with and how these are ultimately empty and have little to do with the nature of reality… then going into class I found myself suddenly overwhelmed with a feeling of absolute nudity. More so than the hired model who was literally standing in his/her's own under a spotlight in front of a class of 25 students. I was learning to let go even a little, and in doing so I saw how life was constantly putting forth challenges that held the opportunity to awaken more and more to myself. I began taking on the challenge and am still doing so. Challenges are intimidating, yet with the realization of what lies behind these challenges how can there be any other choice but to face them. And it has been in the realization thru experience in hindsight of the challenges that I have found to be the true reward. Another example of 2013 is where I was invited by Red Bull Curates to participate in an event where they invited 20 artists from the major cities in the U.S. The short version of this experience is that it was a contest where I won, and was accommodated with board and flight to show art in Art Scope at Miami Art Basel 2013. That itself was amazing, however what I value more is how I got there. I had participated in a similar event 2 years prior and I was a wreck. The artists were gathered in a space to live paint and there was a camera crew filming the whole thing. I was very neurotic and hated the process and outcome of what I had created. So upon invitation this second round, I recalled this first and took it on as a challenge. So I went in completely empty, with no map, no control, no conditions/expectations. I was intensely present and unattached to anything other than being involved with whatever the constancy of the passing of each second being there offered. Even at the reception where they announced the winner and interviewed me, I practiced being present with all. If I lost I was content, if I won I was content, if the first snowstorm in the history of San Francisco swept thru the reception killing us all I was ready for it. The yielding of pain had led me here, and the icing on the cake was feeling as if I was being rewarded for it. For yielding to the nature of complete presence, to reality unconditionally. This is one experience of many that occurred in the short time span of one year. Thru the yielding, the openness, the surrendering to challenge, to being with the fear would the doors of this beautiful world open up. Actually it seems as if they are always open, I more often than not seem to have exercised reasons, excuses, rationalizations, not to walk thru them. Most of which I would openly say are the result of fear. Currently I find myself in  Detroit. Friends from my home of the last 14 years ask me as to why. The truth is I don't know. Yet, the not knowing why is the reason. The challenge is in being okay with not knowing, and focusing more on experiencing, of presence despite conditions. When I first landed here, I knew not a single person. I have never been here, and am being picked up by a potential date that I met on the internet. In the past, the mind chatter would create stories of how this is absolutely crazy and headed for disaster. And the mind, being the mind, did begin to bend this direction as i arrived at the terminal. However, the progress was realized in how I smiled at it and laughed. I yielded to its madness, and it went away like a sudden ice current one feels for a seconds end as one swims in the ocean on a sunny day. I have been here a little more than a month, and have already had colorful pages written that I am already anticipating reading at the next years end. Oh how I would have missed out if I remained in those patterns of fear. In my own celebration, I would like to give gratitude to all that aided in which and to the reader my heart's wish that you realize if you haven't already, the ineffable experience of the complete human that is the key to the gates of the kingdom that exists at the center of us all. Attached are some pics of the undescribed experiences that occurred  within my own kingdom in 2013, and nothing but love for those comrades in the pics that invited me into their personal worlds... Nothing but love for  all...

(Akira Beard) 2013 2014 akira beard art drawing ink portrait sketch https://akirabeard.com/blog/2014/1/end-of-one-year-and-beginning-of-the-next-2013-reflection Tue, 28 Jan 2014 23:22:27 GMT
cell therapy II... https://akirabeard.com/blog/2014/1/cell-therapy-ii As mentioned in the last blog post, I have watched a number of documentaries on prisons. This reflection was inspired by the film "Dhamma Brothers". It was about a prison in the south that for a brief period incorporated meditation into its reformation program. I found the interviews with the inmate participants to be profound,  completing a 10 day meditation program. One inmate described the intensity of the experience in how he had desperately wanted to escape dealing with himself, and how he had never really ever done so. How all the mind chatter, memories, repressions had come to the surface during the early stages of meditation, and how for the first time there was no choice but to confront it. The warden described the function of the meditation program in how convicts could always fool others in relation to the crime they had been found guilty of, but the one person they could not fool is themselves and how the meditation program established that structure of self confrontation. The following is further reflection into the nature of our freedom/imprisonment…. enjoy cell therapy 2, 8.5x 10", watercolor/ink on paper, 2014cell therapy 2, 8.5x 10", watercolor/ink on paper, 2014 “All of humanity's problems stem from man's inability to sit quietly in a room alone.- blaise pascal. We are prisoners to ourselves. The selves that we create in whose ignorance we commit actions, and accumulate experience that brings us suffering and shame. We bury this deep within ourselves and cover it in appearances. We are so clever in how we convince ourselves, convince the world that we are ok, even 'successful', and even well. But underneath it all, we are afraid to look within ourselves and relate to the world from that place. Honesty. We are afraid that the world will reject us if it knew who we truly are. We are ashamed of ourselves in this way. Our liberty is access to infinite resources in distracting ourselves from never having to confront ourselves. We never have to sit quietly in a room alone. We fool ourselves in our thinking. We think we are safe, secure. We live with ideas that we are more, or less than what we really are. And we are always thinking we are correct in our thoughts. But if you ever want to test the validity to this belief system of self, sit in a quiet room by yourself. When the walls are empty, the sound is silent, there is nothing visual but a single flat color surrounding.. there is nothing available in the external to distract one from the nature of one's mind. The unaltered essence of one's being underneath all appearances… mental and physical. There is no longer anywhere to run, nowhere to hide. One has arrived at the ultimate confrontation that we spend much of our life avoiding. The nature of our being. The confrontation of ourselves and its vast deceptions. The root…

(Akira Beard) akira beard art drawing painting portrait prison https://akirabeard.com/blog/2014/1/cell-therapy-ii Fri, 24 Jan 2014 17:16:55 GMT
cell therapy https://akirabeard.com/blog/2014/1/cell-therapy Recently I have watched a number of documentaries on American prisons. For no real reason at all. One in particular, "After Innocence" stuck with me. It focused on the incarceration of 7 individuals who had their convictions of guilty reversed after the implication of DNA testing. These cases were the first of which were demonstrated when DNA became available as a vital resource in determining whether a person was at the scene of the crime based on available evidence of human blood, semen, and/or hair. Always interested in the human condition of the day, it inspired me to reflect on the nature of freedom. Here were men, innocent of the crime they were accused, who had their freedom literally taken away from them. Some for as many as 30 years, would suddenly find themselves in a cell the size of a bathroom, living in complete accordance to the authority of a compact institution. One of the men upon his release after 20 years, had purchased a jeep with an open top so that he could experience the fresh open sky as much as possible. His enthusiasm in human interaction breathed passion, curiosity. He said  on the day of his release, the world was too loud for him and the air to clean. He couldn't handle it. It was overstimulating. The prison that these unfortunate men were sentenced to was a concrete one with walls and bars that can be tangibly felt, and this exonerated inmates words begin to express not only the release from that physical prison, but his spirit begins to describe the freedom from the invisible prison. The self created prison that can not be seen, only felt. When we enter the world in our initial primordial infant state, we grow into it. The world is a curiosity to be explored and we fall in love with it over and over in its discovery. But we grow afraid of it little by little at some early point. We give birth to a conscious, that has us trade our spontaneity and adventure for security. The boundless world suddenly has boundaries. Invisible walls are erected that we fail to see, that we have every excuse in the world not to climb. No climbing is necessary, we simply need to walk thru them. We become creatures of habit, and this becomes the habitat of our lives. No longer do we notice the sky above, the shape of trees… our passion for life becomes one of constant stimulation thru the dependence of the external drug of our choice. For many life is not much more than an obligation to survive. Others set goals, yet even in the achievement of these goals arriving from one point to its end, the path in between is seen as a hinderance and is passed off. And can you imagine, if suddenly without volition, your life had switched from whatever reality you find yourself in, to one of forced complete minimalism. All that you own, not only property, material possessions but titles as well were suddenly stripped from you. And your new existence was now an orange jumpsuit lent to you to cover your body, and your new home was a concrete cell. Perhaps from these visible bars would one see the invisible bars that exist behind it… The following drawing is an expression inspired by further reflection, and the words are the transcribed text in the piece. Enjoy that existence of yours my friends...

cell therapy, 8.5"x 11", ink on paper, 2014cell therapy, 8.5"x 11", ink on paper, 2014
oh how we get in the way of ourselves and we miss out. So often, what is available to us all the time. Right in front of us. Oh how we live our lives as if what is in front of us is a hinderance to get somewhere else. All the time. Always doing, always thinking, always planning, preparing… always missing. Missing what is in front of us, yet we fail to see it as if we didn't have eyes. We are labeled as human beings ironically, ironically because we have lost the ability of being. We unknowingly exist so uncomfortable in our minds, and it is mirrored in our body. In our postures, our body language, our use of language, our lack of presence in relationship to anyone or anything. We miss out. We have deserted the post of our being. We have deviated from the line drawn from the center of ourselves and tied to the the world. We have grown heavy in lifestyles of obligation, neuroses, and coping and have fallen off the tight rope. We have grown afraid of the nature of the world we live in.. we have grown afraid of our own nature.We wear masks of identity, and change these when the nature of reality and its impermanence forces our hand. We have grown to be dependent on the existence of others, dependent on their thoughts of who we are. Of what we should be, of how we should live. We have lost our self reliance natured in the independence of our individual being. The being that was given to us at birth. We have compromised its sacred integrity for security. For fear. For a living death. And yet, the beauty at the center of all of this is we can always return. To our being. It follows us till our grave like a shadow, even if we fail to see it at all. And like taking an antibiotic for an infection's cure, mediation is that resource that restores one's absent participation with being. With it's cultivation, it's function all the self created distractions are removed. So once can participate with reality directly again. Life is no longer experienced with hesitation, with prejudice, with conceptions, ideas, conditionally. Gone is all that. Life is experienced for all that it is , unconditionally, for all that it can , and ever will be. An intuitive experience of a present moment, occurring constantly. A life lived in being. In being a full participant. The path to the complete human experience.

(Akira Beard) akira beard art drawing love meditation prison sketch https://akirabeard.com/blog/2014/1/cell-therapy Thu, 23 Jan 2014 16:02:33 GMT
nature of mind reflection... https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/12/nature-of-mind-reflection As one teacher said, "don't mistake realization for understanding... with realization go deeper with more realization". So in the continuation of exploring and expressing realizations of the nature of mind. Here is the most recent piece.. The following words are the words written in the painting. Enjoy

     In the nature of mind, life is experienced fully. For in the nature of mind, the whole of life is seen and so is experienced willingly. The whole of life being the unity of birth and death. And when looking into the nature of all things in the universe, this can be seen at its essence. The manifestation of anything (birth) is experienced with joy, excitement, passion, love. And at it's inevitable ending (death), so is it just as fully experienced in its sadness, pain, mourning. In this way, harmony ensues with the nature of mind and the nature of reality. For the nature of reality is one of impermanence. All things existing in the universe change. The nature of mind yields to this constancy, experiencing things just as they are. Experiencing them for their true inherit nature, not thru any idea that one may create about reality. The nature of mind is simple in this way. It is simply being. Being in the here and the now. Life is experienced unconditionally in this way. Life's unfolding second by second is not experienced thru pre-concepts, opinions, prejudice, any mental constructs of reality including thoughts of the past and/or the future. Thru the nature of mind, a trust in the world and one's place in it is exercised. The experience is one of ineffability, for it is just that.. direct experience not thought of experience. Behind all the conditioning, behind all the learned knowledge… behind the ego exists the nature of mind. No matter how long dormant, it has always existed and always will. The nature of mind is the primordial mind. It is inherit to us all from birth. It is our root of origin. Its nature is like the sky… boundless and spacious. And like the sky itself where dark clouds of neurotic thoughts and emotions may have it hidden in the background, it still remains. And thru holes in these clouds of unconscious forgetfulness do we experience glimpses of conscious wakefulness. The nature of mind is consciousness, it is wakefulness.  Vast, infinite consciousness… and in this vastness one experiences the world not from the microscopic perspective of one's 'self' independent from the universe and all things in it, rather one realizes the interdependence of all things and exists in accordance with them. In this realization, empathy is experienced and the realization is of the nature of mind as the compassionate mind. And it is here that one comes across nature's law of karma. In the interconnectedness of all things, one becomes sensitive to how even a thought alone sends ripples into the phenomenal world of one's surrounding. And in this sensitivity does the awareness to live responsibility exercising intention (cause) so as to navigate the direction of ones life and so live in harmony with the universe (affect) cultivate. Management of life outwardly has turned, inwardly realizing the nature of mind. And this inner management is applied in all experiences thru awareness. The awareness that bridges ones inner being and the external world. Thru awareness, one takes all experience to one's nature of mind, so as to better one's self and become of benefit to other's and the world. And thru the crossing of this bridge does one arrive at that ultimate destination, where if one is to look deepest into the nature of all that we spend our life resources always doing, working towards, desiring, dreaming of from wake to sleep, from the cradle to the grave… that which at the core of this human experience underneath all appearances that we all share… the experience of inner peace, happiness, bliss, contentment. One's highest achievement realized. Actualized. Always, so close to us centered in the nucleus of our hearts, though we find ourselves time and time again so distant from it, lost, confused in our outward struggle to attain it… we arrive back to that initial starting point of our life destination thus far… arriving at the nature of our minds.


(Akira Beard) akira beard art nature oil oilpaint painting portrait spirituality https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/12/nature-of-mind-reflection Mon, 02 Dec 2013 20:52:36 GMT
The Nature of Love https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/11/the-nature-of-love   Nature of Love, oil on canvas w/acrylic, 36"x 36", 2013Nature of Love, oil on canvas w/acrylic, 36"x 36", 2013

I've experienced both sides of the coin… i've manipulated another, i've been manipulated. I controlled another, I've been controlled. I've been the abuser, I've been the abused. Jealous, insecure, and conditional. I've been the one with power, I've been powerless. I've been loved by another while not loving myself, and I've loved another while she didn't love herself. I've given. I've taken. I've hurt another deeply. I've been hurt by another deeply. I've made threats with ultimatum's. I've been threatened by ultimatum's… All in the name of love. The emptiness of these experiences as a whole, has led me to the question… "This is Love?". Like so much of what we as a collective define as reality, love is another example that i am concluding as being far from thereof…
    I've grown up in a world that has conditioned me in the various aspects of life that as a society we hold of high value, thru societal constructs such as schooling and media. There are the peers, and the family even that tending to be influenced by these constructs as well, become simply part of it in shaping the blank slate of any individual growing up in it's environment. There is always that potential however, for one to take responsibility for themselves in the way of questioning it all. Going behind all the learned knowledge and re-defining how one see's the world. This re-defining comes from not only direct experience with anything, but with awareness. Awareness is what exists behind the stored collection of all that has been gained in memory. Behind the ego. This art piece is an expression of this re-defining. It is from the realization of what love wasn't/isn't  thru the direct experience of intimate relationships, that has me arriving at a realization of what love perhaps is. From the learned idea of "love", to the realization of 'The Nature of Love".  Though the realization is perhaps bottomless, this is where I have arrived at it at this point in time. A surprising realization for myself is how in the words to the piece i write "love is like the sun and it's rays illuminating all things, unselectively." I once viewed love as something with strict boundaries, now Im experiencing it as completely boundless. And it is with the heart as the indicator with it's uplifting fullfillment, that has me devoted, defining love as the latter… The following are the words in the piece…   
    Love is formless. It is boundless. It is experienced. Ineffable. And when we begin to give it shape, we begin to take ourselves away from it. For love shapes us. And it is in trust that we allow it to do so. And from this trust, we find ourselves uplifted. Above it all. In our ignorance we hide our love underneath layers of mental thoughts and emotions. And we confuse love with these thoughts and emotions. And our love becomes conditional in this manner. As long as the world outside ourselves feeds these thoughts, these emotions, we love. And when it doesn't, we take our love away. But this is not in the nature of love. For love is not conditional. Love is not outside one's self. Love is a body whose heart is contentment. Love is like the sun and it's rays illuminating all things, unselectively. Love is energy. It is the blood that pumps the heart giving the body motion. It is the passion that has one fearlessly opening up to the world. Love is not lip service. It is not an "I love you". It is unspoken. It is felt. It is in the moment. It is an internal smile. Love is surrender. Surrender to the hearts will to experience directly, openly the nowness of the world's constancy. Love is non-dualistic. It doesn't flee at the moment of loss. It yields to loss willingly and experiences the pain with love just as intensely as it did so in the beginning with gain. Love is wholesome in this way. It is the complete experience. Experienced it is the complete human. Love is not fear. And fearing the pain experienced at loss, and denying it, one will never feel complete. And in this denial, one may try to find this completeness outside one's self, but one will only suffer in doing so. For love is harmony in the interdependence of all things working together. Love is not manipulating the universe to work for it. This is the illusion that we mistake as the world we live in. This is our illusion of love when experience the emotions in the attainment of all that we work so technically towards. But it's when these illusions fall, as does that heartfelt enthusiasm that was attached to it, is our love tested. And how it often fails in this way, where the face our 'love' reveals itself in was a revelation of fear. Love is a gift. Given and received. Given, it is making one's self vulnerable to the world. Raw, open, exposed in complete tenderness without skin. Received, it is allowing another to be genuinely human. Fully embracing another wholly, in this spotlight of nudity, beyond acceptance, transparent to the shadows of shame. Love is honesty in this way, love is simple in this way… seeing the world as it truly is and and fearlessly wrapping one's arms around it like a mother holding it's newborn bringing it's fragile body to one's heart. Love is a warm kiss that expresses it's indescribable nature. It is a first kiss, like taking a leap into a body of water from up high, one know not how one will land, one not know if one will make it back to shore. Love is the leap, not the thought of leaping. Love is empathy. It is the transcendence of self, experiencing the world from another. Love is at the center of it all. Holding it all in place. It is like the infinite black space of the universe , empty in nature, but filled with the planets, suns, moons, and stars. Love is unity. Man, woman, child. Love is spaciousness. It is the floor of the earth that has a space for all, beyond age, gender, creed, and title. It is the sky above that the clouds pass in, that the sun rises and sets in. Love is the answer that we desperately search for in all our actions. Wether going to the pub or going to the temple. It is the communion of mind, body, spirit uplifted to it's climatic peak that has us like an out of body experience where one is soaring in the sky. It is like a spasm where one is jerked intensely into the moment, void of any suffering, void of the self. Like at the moment of orgasm. Love is the foreplay that leads one to this peak as well. Love is the restfulness that follows as well that has one glowing in an exhaustion of bliss. When love is expressed physically, know that it is love if one is glowing. Love is the glow, whose light is the hidden god inherit to us all, whose universal sacred being when we pay heed to, devote our existence to,  worship, illuminates all aspects of our lives, internally then externally liberating us from our individual suffering and healing the world of it's neglect giving the roots of life nourishment with every passing step, flourishing the planet with rich nature, tending to it's garden and leaving it more beautiful than it was when one was first delivered into it.

(Akira Beard) akira beard art love nature oil painting portrait https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/11/the-nature-of-love Tue, 26 Nov 2013 19:10:19 GMT
the nature of everything... https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/10/the-nature-of-everything paying heed to Marcus Aurelius, ink on paper, 8"x10", 2013paying heed to Marcus Aurelius, ink on paper, 8"x10", 2013 For around a year now, in my life and reflected in the art I create, the focus has been nature. Nature in the sense of underneath the surface appearance of anything was is at its core? Its essence. More specifically, the focus has revolved around the nature of mind and the nature of reality. What is at the heart of the human experience that is relative to all beings in the most basic sense? And what is it to truly live this experience in the world? The process of this exploration into nature has been pretty straight forward. Research mainly thru past and contemporary practitioners and/or teachers that focused on the same. This includes spiritual teachers of both secular and non-secular religions, philosophers, artists, friends, strangers and so on. The second part is to put the teachings into practice so as to discern what is supportive as to come closer to that realization of the nature of mind. One of the early cornerstones that I feel has been of tremendous resource is Marcus Aurelius. One need only to read his book "Meditations", to see this philosopher king's understanding into the subject. It is timeless in the sense how it is directly relevant in today's age so as to benefit one in this understanding. It is my aim to inspire any person to enter the kingdom of themselves and bear witness to the treasure of their own nature as others such as Aurelius have done for myself. Ultimately, such value is ineffable and can truly only be experienced by the individual. But I will say in my research thus far, that all the gold we ever desire at the truest root of ourselves, underneath it all, is waiting for us no matter how long dormant it remain until we are ready to arrive at it. This drawing is paying heed to a single human among many that drank from that fountain of wisdom that will forever be eternal despite conditions of any age, and his words perhaps being the conduit in leading us to its fountainhead. Thanks Marcus Aurelius. Ur contribution remains forever priceless in this way.

(Akira Beard) akira beard art drawing marcus aurelius portrait sketch https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/10/the-nature-of-everything Mon, 21 Oct 2013 17:31:22 GMT
paying heed to the words of Epicurus... https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/10/paying-heed-to-the-words-of-epicurus A friend of mine once said, "without philosophy you're f@cked". Though a tinge crass, I hold these words true. At the beginning of the year I would experience a series of misfortune, and I give credit to my continued study/practice of philosophy as being the flotation device and the compass in navigating the sudden falling into the abyss, and the safe return to land. This is one example of several, taking Epicurus' words from Marcus Aurelius' book Meditations. These words alone gave me such support, strength, and guidance when I needed it most... "pain is neither intolerable nor everlasting if thou bearest in mind that it has it's limitations, and  if thou addest nothing to it in imagination..." Thanks Epicurus, and all deliverers of the world's wisdom.  The following is a reflection further on the subject. Enjoy. paying heed to Epicurus, ink (gold, black) on paper, 8.5"x 10", 2013paying heed to Epicurus, ink (gold, black) on paper, 8.5"x 10", 2013

The cultivation of a practice. We all experience difficult times in our lives. Times where we suddenly find the rug pulled from under our feet, and in this moment is life ever so raw, so direct. One is intensely alive, and deeply aware of it. And yet how how we are so desperate to flee from this place when it opens up. It is perhaps the most terrifying place to be, like an existential vacuum whose force feels as if we are being sucked into the void of an empty abyss. Perhaps this is scary to us because it is the arena of our ultimate confrontation. That confrontation with ourselves. And perhaps the terror comes from having no idea of who we truly are. Underneath all appearances. Especially when all those appearances that defined us vanish and become nothing more than sentimental memories. We lose the worlds that we build over and over again in this way. Finding life to be nothing more than a pattern where we are so vulnerable to all that is the closest things to ourselves, outside of ourselves. However, a shift occurs in all of this when we halt and rest in that space that opens up between loss and before gain. And in that shift, things reverse. From the outside in. We no longer lose the world's we build, but those worlds lose us. We no longer lose what we gain, but gain from what we lose. We become less afraid of the world when we begin to become less afraid of ourselves, thru the realization of our true selves. Our true nature. Weakened is the conditional relationship with things. Inviting only the 'good', and denying the 'bad'. Life is experienced as a whole. Life is experienced as its richest potential. The fearlessness to live in the world cultivating as we go deeper within our being, walking thru our egos and arriving at our tender hearts. And it is here we recognize the basic goodness of ourselves, hidden underneath all the layers of shame, guilt, conditioning and mental constructs. It is here that we arrive at the root of ourselves, that pulses intensely with every nerve of our being. The lightest breath of air on its surface can be felt in the loudest volumes thru out our entire being, erecting us into that awakened state. And so again, in that space of misfortune, where life is so open and raw, when the nerve is exposed to the surface. Let us yield to the pain bringing our deepest fortune from its root to the surface, breaking it, exposing it and letting it blossom into the sky like nature of our entire universe. Maybe it is here that we finally find that ineffable completion in our existence, that we exhaust ourselves lost and confused in the pattern of gain and loss, searching for, grasping to, seduced by in the outer appearances that we create in our individual universes.

(Akira Beard) akira beard drawing portrait sketch https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/10/paying-heed-to-the-words-of-epicurus Thu, 17 Oct 2013 20:41:32 GMT
primordial headpiece... https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/10/primordial-headpiece When throwing one's self into the worldly openly, one is in a constant flow of meeting people from all spectrums. In my focus on the nature of everything, lol, more and more I seem to come into contact with others that are existing in that similar exploration. Just more evidence from experiencing the world itself in that way where one experiences what one focuses on. Though having only met Neal Hilo in person recently for an hour, there was immediate harmony in our conversation of peeling off the layers of the surface of reality. He is developing his vision stemming from his existential arrival at purpose in the world currently thru his project Method Makers, and I am happy to be a part of it. This drawing is my contribution to Neal passing a journal from artist to artist to be in an upcoming show where he will display it among other expressions. I don't want to say much more than this, for I am not aware of all the exact details but will give more as the project develops. Enjoy, and the following words are the text in the drawing.... "Primordial Birth", 9"x12", ink on paper, 2013"Primordial Birth", 9"x12", ink on paper, 2013

Arriving into this world empty, how we fill ourselves with pain accumulating it into a body itself by the time we are adults. And never is this pain-body so present as in our relationships with other human beings. We become not only the recipients of others, but the pain projectors as well… existing from the deep seeds of pain often unknown.  Year after year, how we drift from our origins in this way. Drift from that primordial state that we are born into as little human beings, so blissed out in experiencing the world for the first time. The shapes, the colors, the sounds…. We were natural, in harmony with nature. Transparent, filling ourselves like an empty cup with a hole in its bottom. But then there was the pain, and how we cupped the bottom and found ourselves full. And this filled cup is the testament to the suffering we carry with us. And yet that primordial state so natural in us, though hidden, is always available to us. We simply need to see it behind the confusion of appearances. It is like the spaciousness of the sky itself, hidden behind the grey clouds of our suffering. Our pain body is like a corpse that we carry around. It is that part of us that must die, die unto ourselves so that we may move on. So that we may live again. And what better place to reflect from, than from when we were children as we all once were. Liberated from the prison of our ignorance and suffering yet to come. And with mindfulness do we realize the opportunity to walk from our cell. And not only are we liberated from the pain-body of ourselves, but empathy arises and we begin to see the inner child in others. Broken is the cycle of suffering in relationships, where we act from that place of pain. Not only removing our projection onto others, but becoming transparent in the face of aggression casted by others. Whether its the stranger on the street that pushes you aside out of a false sense of entitlement, the lover that abandons you naked and alone in humility, the parent that neglected you… with awareness you see not an adult that lies, cheats, steals but a child that is hurt, that is afraid. And the empathy runs deeper in this space, where one experiences one's self, for one was once in that same place. And so compassion is born from the realization of interdependence among all things.  All holding the same potential to awaken to ourselves. And the cycle of aggression is broken in no longer meeting aggression with aggression, but rather with compassion in inspiring another to awaken to one's self as so has he/she. And this awakening is seeing the world for the first time… again and again. Though no longer a child, experiencing life as a constancy of mystery and miracle as we once did as childrenq. Experiencing life in that natural, primordial state. 

(Akira Beard) akira beard art crosshatching drawing methodmakers portrait sketch https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/10/primordial-headpiece Tue, 15 Oct 2013 23:12:23 GMT
karma policeman... https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/10/karma-policeman karma police Every now and then, I take a moment to stop and reflect... on life on living. In buddhism, one defintion of karma explains that if you want to know your past life, simply look at your present situation. And if you want to know your future, look at your present actions. One way that I personally do this, is thru looking at artwork that I have participated in creating from the past. This piece of 'homage to the thinker' is such. This was created around 2 years ago. During that time, I was much more analytical. I would experience a situation thru thinking during it. And its interesting in how now, I have removed the thinking aspect of which. So as to simply experience the moment, without analysis. And I feel its important to take this time out, and look within. And how we may surprise ourselves. With the speed of life, especially in bigger cities, how easy is it to find ones self lost in the energy. One minute your on a centered path, and the next you're in the  thick of a stressful relationship, trapped in a job, oblivious to habitual heavy drinking or drug use, floating in banality, etc. This reflection was inspired by my own detour, which was brought back center by an incident with a CHP officer. I was over working to complete more deadlines than I should have taken, drinking more than I should nightly to remove the edge, navigating social antiquities, and so on. I was a fireball of energy intensity, and the art process proved unproductive. Building paintings, only to destroy them as deadlines approached seconds closer. And then it happened, I was on my way to art with elders, flying thru downtown SF on a Monday afternoon, when I heard the siren after blowing a redlight intensely. The short version was a situation developed where a police officer and I had an inspiring talk of karma. He initially approached me with textbook authoritive psychology. I was present, and responded by taking full responsibility and expressing openness. He would go on to tell me how he was a religious man, and at one point says to me... "son, we live in a world governed by laws of nature beyond our comprehension... you may be upset that i'm giving you this ticket, but maybe it happened for a reason." I told him I was bummed about the ticket, but that I am in the process of understanding these laws. I described my current situation, and that I saw this situation as a lesson to slow down. Not necessarily on bike, but in life overall. He asked if he should smile for the picture. Hehe. Upon leaving the scene, I was confused. Shouldn't my day be ruined? But it was the opposite. And the it hit me, all the knowledge I had been cultivating was breathing in the situation effortlessly. To experience life for example as a constant opportunity to awaken to one's self. Even in circumstance such as this. With awareness to guide one thru. And though when I read the art expression of "homage to the thinker" from 2 years ago, and feel a little embarrassed by its content. This ultimately is inspiring in how I have evolved. 2 years ago, I would have analyzed, over analyzed the situation and would not have experienced it as uplifting. My point in all of this is that we have the potential to create the reality we wish to live in, to a certain extent. We of course are vulnerable to the external phenomenal world of people, places, and things, but we can cultivate our relationship with them. One experiencing the glass as half empty, the other as half full. And what better way than to look into the mirror of ourselves. For myself, that mirror is the artworks of the past. What is yours? Enjoy... The text below is the text transcribed in the painting. The opening paragraph is the red text, and the following text is that of the gold halo behind the thinkers portrait. "Homage to the 'Thinker'", watersoluble oil on wood panel, 11" x 14", 2011"Homage to the 'Thinker'", watersoluble oil on wood panel, 11" x 14", 2011


to think about the possibility itself. How much of a betrayal to one's self is it, if one is to allow another to determine how one lives? Isn't it integrity that is that collection of ideas, values, principles that we have sacred within ourselves, how we would like to live this limited existence. Yet, do you feel that to live, you must compromise this integrity? And if this collection of and value and principle is influenced/built around those existing out the core of the culture one lives in, won't this person have a better life since his/her's and the worlds' integrity are in harmony? How many of us, or people we know that feel this harmony, rather than conflict within ourselves. Perhaps this is what a utopia would be. And this is just a thought. And the the more I think about it, the more absurd it seems to be… how thought seems to be subjective, non-absolute. How one can validate any idea based on his/her personal belief system. Still, I celebrate thought. Because I look at history and look at the power of thought and all that it has done. And I look at thought today, and how it's power is being used, There are those who think (knowledge) and those who don't think (ignorance) and those who think, think for those who don't think. So I would rather think for myself and this is dedicated to those past, present that have done/do the same.
    This is dedicated to those who think. Not just any thinker. But those who use the potential of thought to question all that was, is and/or may be. Those whose thoughts earn them the existence of an individual, by default, because their thoughts have led them astray from the herd mentality which shares predictable collective thoughts, thought by others. Indoctrination, dogma. Those who dare to think , going beyond a present day 'practical' way of living. Asking questions that concern all though, all often dare not to ask. Questions that since having been first asked and still being asked today, that only answer still has no answer are being continued by those that think. Life's meaning, is death the end, questioning reality, 'god', how to live, who am i? and so on and so on. Whether a certified philosopher, an unschooled blue collar made fun of by friends/family for being too deep, a scholar from the past, whose thoughts live on thru books, a student that braved the choice of dedicating that part of adult education of their life to a field built around thought, yet having little opportunity to be financially secure in the world… Thank you. I can only speak of the time we live in and it is my thought that the lack of thought is what keeps that dismal part of this culture productive. Isn't it that opposite of thought, lack of thought..ignorance! that unawareness that keeps a harmful situation going if a person/persons are unaware of the harm. Ethics. Isn't it humbling to think of incidents from your past and how you didn't know any better. And now, with this thought alone how you can not only not repeat the past since you now know, but now you can apply this same knowledge to the future of your life. Simply by thinking. By understanding yourself, by understanding others, by understanding your surroundings, the immediate as well as the bigger world you are living in. Responsibility, consciousness. And it all begins with thought.

(Akira Beard) SFPD akira beard art love oilpaint painting portrait https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/10/karma-policeman Mon, 07 Oct 2013 18:35:55 GMT
the nature of heart https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/9/the-nature-of-heart inspired by Emilee. Painted on a wine crate that manifested itself as we shared dialogue from cities afar. Building something out of nothing. The manifestation of the hearts desire, given form in mysterious ineffable ways. More homage to the nature of reality and the miracle of its eternal flowing constancy. Never is it so deeply experienced as when we do so thru the raw, tender, open heart.  Below are the words transcribed... enjoy nature of heart, watersoluble oil on wood wine box, 10"x 16", 2013nature of heart, watersoluble oil on wood wine box, 10"x 16", 2013

The raw tender human heart. Let us embrace it. celebrate it. Expose it. Let us make ourselves vulnerable to the world. No longer ashamed of our tenderness. No longer ashamed of our truest nature. Let us break the social contract that has us hiding behind appearances. Hiding from ourselves. Let the heart breathe… let the hearts pulse vibrate to the frequency of nature, and experience complete harmony with the entire universe. Let the hearts chambers of intuition, creativity, spontaneity, be the compass that navigates our lives. Let us surrender to the hearts potential of relating to all things in the phenomenal world on its spectrum from love to pain… exercising the complete human experience. Let the open heart be the key to the gates of the true nature of freedom, love, eternity. And let us allow ourselves to walk thru fearlessly, naked with open arms, heart fully exposed… walking the path of a life lived without regret, a life lived from every seconds end with wakefulness. Mindfulness. Awareness. Let us attain that which we spend so much energy, time, resources looking for outside ourselves, within the heart… contentment. Let the human heart be the root of our being, that we nurture causing all other aspects of our life to blossom. And upon discovering the deepest love for ourselves, let us go deeper into the nature of our tender heart and discover its interdependence with all other things. And upon deeper realization, let the hearts empathy fill the empty gaps we experience in others with the hearts blood of compassion. Let our heart be the sun that illuminates the darkness of the the world with it's infinite rays of penetrating beams. And though in the face of darkness, the magnitude of human suffering may seem bottomless, let us have full devotion towards the human heart's power, strength, and potential of being boundless.

(Akira Beard) akira beard art heart oil painting portrait https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/9/the-nature-of-heart Fri, 27 Sep 2013 22:25:17 GMT
the nature of music https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/9/the-nature-of-music This piece was created for an upcoming show at Gauntlet Gallery in San Francisco where the theme is music. As my focus at the moment is lookng into the nature of all things, it was nice to do so with music. Music tends to be such a common thread in all our lives, how at some point during the day we listen to it. It is a euphoric experience, where one loses oneself in song. Even if the song itself tends to be of a negative nature (aggressive lyrics, etc), one is still blissed out in the nature of the experience. Myself, I try to bring all experiences to reality. That is the here and the now. The present. And everyday we are bombarded with constant moments that either take us towards reality, or away from it. Music is no acception. I experience music in the way to heighten the experience of what I am doing in the moment. me listening to Whale Song at the beach as i prepare for a sunrise swim I often swim in the ocean out here in San Francisco, and its becomes my ritual to listen to a song written and performed by comrade Genevieve. Genevieve, creator of "The Whale Song" Its called "the Whale Song", and as I look into the ocean with this song in my background, the present moment is intensified where the emotions in the song take me into the distance of the water farther than if the song were not the there. When I was in Colorado recently, jazz piano virtuoso Tyler played a number for a group of us where we participated by each choosing a note on the music scale where he composed it in the moment and unified our playfulness in the moment, into a beautiful piece created on the spot that had us mezmorized as we witnessed the harmony of music and passing reality before our ears/eyes. Tyler the jazz piano virtuoso The portrait for the nature of music expression is based on Ludwig Beethoven. I've never tired of listening to the ninth symphony, and though there are many, he comes to mind when i think of the nature of music's potential. Transforming, transcending, timeless. Its a fun archetype to play with as well, in that he is a somewhat abstract individual representationally, in that there are no photos of him, only busts and paintings. I worked with various images, setting up a general idea and sculpted my way from there... searching. The intention is more of an expression of the spirit. process pic of early stage Music is such a deep human expression, experience and its my hope in this expression to shed a little light of awareness to its beautiful nature. There is a song for you! for all of us. Thank you musicians. past, present, future.


The nature of music... our favorite songs that nourish our metaphysical appetite. The musical experience is a direct one. Within seconds once can be instantly transformed. The full range of human experience, expressed in a universe of musical compositions. Love, loss, pain, joy... wherever one is at in one's experience, there is a song for you. To intensify one's passion, thru a song. Whatever one's taste in music, perhaps the commonality that has us as devout isteners, that has music such an integral part of our lives, is the instant bliss. The nature of music triggering glimpses of enlightenment, freeing us from the inherit nature of suffering we are all born into. Where for that 2-3 minutes of melody, notes, rhythm we experience true freedom. Free from attachment to anything in this world. Free from one's self... and so in this way let us find harmony in our lives with music. Let us not limit our musical enlightenment to a song in the intimacy hidden under headphones that has our repressed soul dancing underneath the walls  of thickened skin... let us take the heightened state of musical uplifiting and allow it to play in the background of our lives and perhaps here we will suddenly find the transformation actualized, as we find ourselves under spotlight, center stage looking at the empty audience seat we once sat in, in the ocean of discontent  human bodies we were once a participant of. And in this moment when the knees begin to buckle with the realization that we have become the composer of our own destiny, and our lives becoming the greatest compositional work that we dance ourselves in, let us return to our favorite song as an inspiration to recall that fearless freedom that brought us here. And let this song bring us deeper into the reality of our being, not escaping it, making each second of the day richer. And it is here that we will experience the nature of musics potential... beyond sound. nature of music, watersoluble oil on wood panel, 16"x 20", 2013nature of music, watersoluble oil on wood panel, 16"x 20", 2013finished piece

(Akira Beard) akira beard art gauntletgallery oil painting portrait https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/9/the-nature-of-music Fri, 20 Sep 2013 21:12:39 GMT
collaboration with artist photographer Bob Fischer https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/9/collaboration-with-artist-photographer-bob-fischer Yesterday morning after coming fresh from a swim in the ocean and upon returning to the studio for the days painting, I would come across a lively gentleman with purple hair, mismatched socks, leopard print boat shoes, and the most gentle expressions of welcome and warmth in his talk. With camera in hand he invited me to be a part of his artistic collaboration. His name is Bob Fischer and he  is compiling a project of writer's/artist's portraits in San Francisco and I was honored to be a part of it. Especially after seeing his website and experiencing the depths of his expressions. I was drawn to the intensity of vulberability, relevance, and aesthetic craft, harmonizing in his works. I was on the spot, looking/feeling rough yet natural, not prepared to have my photo taken. This is the best way however. Spontaneous nature. I am in a transformative space of sorts, where I have lost much of the life I have built in the last 5 plus years. Rather than collecting the pieces only to build it again however, I am sitting in that flatter space. Staring into the horizon. I will describe the details of such at some point, now is not the time. Though this is more personal to myself, Bob Fischer's photo captures my encompassing state of where I am at (pic at bottom of blog). Authentically, truly. I look forward to coming back to this photo as a reference point of this amazing time of life on the horizon. The other photo is a collaboration of sorts where Bob complimented my self portraiture and ran with it in his own way. He asked why the head was decapitated, and I explained how the piece was about homage to any/all that make the attempt to do anything with their life. And how this is a trying experience, the decapitation being an expression of the hardship, defeat of doing such. The expression on the face, aiming for contentment however being the prize... the victory. Myself, I am trying. It is challenging to say the least, and I become fear based if I don't catch myself. And so its good to come back to an expression such as this self portrait, though intended as a gift to the world itself in hopes of encouraging others to take that leap, that its sitter too should be reminded and mindful of the victory that lay at the end of the path of trying to do with one's life, that which one truly wants/wills to do with it. It is our ultimate responsibility... to ourselves! And thank you Bob for the collaborative expression that showed myself what I was forgetting to see... and others reading this blog perhaps too. Let us keep our eyes on the prize -- photos courtesy of Robert A. Fischer. to view his art please visit robertfischerphoto.comDedictation- acrylic and water soluble oil paint on paper, 9"x12" (2011)

(Akira Beard) Robert Fischer akira beard art photography portrait self https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/9/collaboration-with-artist-photographer-bob-fischer Tue, 10 Sep 2013 21:21:18 GMT
youth is wasted on the young- Bertrand Russell https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/9/youth-is-wasted-on-the-young--bertrand-russell  It is always an experience of deeper realization and reflection in working with the elders. Today I did a little painting demo for Richard, one of the students. The painting itself was a simple technical exercise, but perhaps the pouting of the little girl in the piece was an unconscious reflection of what was on my mind. And here it is, made conscious. The elders are blunt. They are here and now. They are near the end of the path, and they are open and direct about this often. The basic path of existence- birth to life to death is an obvious one. And how often we miss out on life only to arrive at the end. And the elder experience always brings memento mori (remember death) to the forefront. I meet so many people so much of the time. I live by the code that everyone is my teacher. I listen and learn from all. Its interesting to myself how for example, so many younger people exist outside of reality. Existing in concepts, prejudices, neuroses'... wrapped up in their own minds. Always talking about the past or the future, and missing the experience of the earth beneath our feet and the sun shining on our faces... the present.  And so in looking into the nature of the lives that we are building day in, day out... the career paths for example. What is the essence of these goals? Is it taking us towards reality, or building a pseudo-reality outside of it? In the process of the lives we lead, are we living in the true nature of reality or outside of it. The true nature of reality being here and now, how much of our awake time is in harmony with it? As an instructor, its my role to attend class and share what I know about drawing/painting with my elder students. But in the medium of life, of the nature of reality, it is the elders that teach me weekly. There is treasure all around us, and all we need to do is simply pick it up. But we must first know what it is we are looking for. It is often in the state of our suffering that we realize this, or this door seems to open, but it is always there. Our deepest treasure, always waiting for us.

(Akira Beard) akira beard art elders portrait sketch https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/9/youth-is-wasted-on-the-young--bertrand-russell Tue, 10 Sep 2013 01:06:47 GMT
inspired by Saint Genevieve of San Francisco... https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/9/inspired-by-saint-genevieve-of-san-francisco inspired by Saint Genevieve, watersoluble oil on wood panel, 16"x20", 2013 Firstly, I would like to open with saying that though I have not been posting lately, it is not because of lack of creation or production. Inspiration, removal from living, etc. Rather I have been experiencing life quite intensely, and making reflections out of it via drawings, writings, and very recently paintings. I have not however, had the resources to share as usual thru internet/social media. But I do have such now, for awhile at least. The cost of living on the horizon...

        Some years ago when I was in the earlier developing stages of my art, I would exhibit a painting here and there though I had no real intension or motivation behind doing so. There was a show in Oakland, CA at then Bootling Gallery, where artists were invited to submit a piece where as far as I knew, there was no concept behind the show other than to fill the entire space. Wall to ceiling. It was a free for all. So in response, I thought of how I could stand out from the crowd. I decided on painting a large portrait of Hitler wearing a bright pink button up shirt on a loud green background. Upon beginning the painting however, I would experience inner conflict. The subject though kitschy, heavy nonetheless. I was dating a girl at the time that inspired my male nature in the most uplifting primordial state. She had me smiling whether in her presence or outside of it. And so thru the process of painting, I became aware of the disharmony in how I was living and what I was expressing. So I abandoned Hitler and would create a Bukowski portrait inspired and encompassing his poem "The Laughing Heart", which described the awareness and the action of the situation of life at that moment. At some point I can remember the girl sharing it with a student of hers who loved the painting as well. This was too long ago to remember if this was coincidental or if I had shared with her that she had inspired the painting. Years later, I find little to no seperation in what I create and how I live. How I live, with awareness and intention, has become almost purely the material from which I reflect upon expressed in whatever medium makes sense. Painting, writing, photography and so on. The line between art and life has blurred in this way. I have never been interested in conforming to the demands of the market, galleries, etc. though I work with those vehicles more and more. I guess for myself, it has always been the priority to be the driver is all, which has in the past closed many doors.

      Yet its interesting to reflect on ourselves every now and then, and notice the patterns and the breaking there of, or the continuance of which. It was only yesterday where I would find myself in the center of a lake with one of my closest allies on his birthday, where we had a conversation on this matter. For it was in that very spot on a pitch black midnite where we were naked, and I would suddenly experience a panic attack suddenly aware I couldn't see anything around me including the shore. I snapped and had trouble ever since being in the water though I confront this almost daily. Yesterday I swam the length of that same lake. Around 6 years later. My life recently has been extremely heavy at points, going thru major transformation and confrontingly walking in it with the compass of philosophy to navigate. It has brought me to not only look into the nature of things such as death, mind, and so on... but to experience it as well. So in getting to this painting, this reflection, the breathe of light fresh air, is inspired by that female nature once again, though uniquely different of course.  I have recently come to know Genevieve, and to describe the birth of this communion would have this blog go on for a number of pages, I will express its nature at some point. For it is worth doing so, for its nature is one of uplifting potential perhaps in relation to the global family. I feel drawn to describe the expereince in one word... auspicious. For there are layers of overlapping unforseen commonality of a metaphysical nature that has me so familiar with a stranger, and yet there is a foreign world of an individual that is so new to me. And at this core exists a heart that I feel relation to, that has me waking each day with inspiration to enter the world. When Genevieve saw this piece, she used the word 'cherub like' to describe it. Makes sense, in how I let the emptiness of self be filled with the inspiration expressed in this writing, in creating this painting. Though this is the personal process background, its my hope that the feeling alone will be triggered in whoever so experiences 'inspired by Saint Genevieve'. Enjoy! (pics are of Genevieve and some of her expressions)

(Akira Beard) akira beard art emily lounsbury painting portrait https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/9/inspired-by-saint-genevieve-of-san-francisco Fri, 06 Sep 2013 23:33:15 GMT
The Uncarved Block... with Genevieve https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/8/the-uncarved-block-with-genevieve Recent collaboration piece with Genevieve Lounsbury. Our relationship continues to blossom as it is reflected in these collaborative expressions. I will reflect on the nature of this collaboration at some point, but in this piece the inspiration was from returning from a month long trip navigating domestic travels where the intent was to explore further the nature of mind/reality. That is putting myself in an ocean of mysterious situations where the option was to miss out as a result of fear there of, or commit willing to whatever the situation presented. I devoted my time to the latter, and everyday was an adventure. The practice is one of experiencing the world for the first time in every constant moment. Emptying one's self and allowing the second by second life experience to fill one over the brim. The following words are from Genevieve and I, which are in the drawing. Enjoy. (Genevieve)- Stare at the uncarved block. Study it's true nature. Learn it's every mark and grain. Search for the form beneath the surface, what can be stripped away to reveal the beauty underneath? Ask it to help you lighten it from the burdens of unnecessary weight and mass. In time each layer erodes and a new shape emerges from the once monolithic block what lay hidden comes to light and life is created from what was thought to be dead. (Akira) Born from an uncarved block the experience of life carves us into its shape, but at sometime may we find the inspiration to return to the uncarved state and carve it again. But this time around, carve it into the shape we desire, with the knife of intention. And let the end result of this be a monument this is our tombstone being testimony that life was lived fully, without regret, passionately.. from that day we took responsibility for it, till its end.'the uncarved block' (collabortation with Genevieve), pen on paper, 5.5"x8.5", 2013

(Akira Beard) akira beard art genevieve sketch https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/8/the-uncarved-block-with-genevieve Tue, 20 Aug 2013 01:18:09 GMT
The Screwtape Letters (by CS Lewis)... part 2 https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/7/the-screwtape-letters-by-cs-lewis-part-2 So yesterday, I created a drawing of the character Wormwood, from CS Lewis' book The Screwtape Letters. The main character, the narrator is Screwtape. He is the teacher devil, Wormwood's uncle, who is giving advice to his student on how to manipulate the human mind, heart into joining the side of the devil as opposed to god (material vs spiritual). When reading literature of this nature involving god, the devil, heaven, hell and so on, I do so metaphorically. In this manner, I find the nature of god and the devil, to be relevant to our contemporary lives. As Goethe said, "everyday freedom needs to be re-conquered". Everyday we walk among a world of temptation. A world whose survival is based on a non-stop pulling of the strings from when we wake, to when we sleep. Its experienced from tv (whether shows, movies, advertising), the internet, social networking, walking on the streets, pressure from peers, jobs, school, and on and on. The society I exist in is one where its blood is the economy. To keep its heart going, there is the relationship of manipulation from external forces (politics, corporations, religion, etc)  and the rationalization, coping internally (the individual) of it all. It is easy to find one's self lost, or lose ones self altogether. But there is always that undercurrent that exists, that is a whisper in the background that we often ignore. It is the antithesis to that dark materialism world of worldly individual collective bottomless feeding of the ego. It is inherit in all of us. It is ineffable in nature, but a few words to describe it... it is breathe, it is light, is salvation, it is contentment, liberation, awareness, realization... though without form, without name for sake of expression some call it God, as opposed to what has been described in the preceding words... the Devil. 

        For the drawing, I based the portrait on one of Rodin's busts. I always love the emotion in his works and aimed to express that moment of disappointment where this devil (Screwtape) realizes that despite all efforts, another human patient has been lost to the world of eternity... to god. Screwtape (based on CS Lewis' The Screwtape Letters), ink on paper, 5.5"x 8.5", 2013

(Akira Beard) CS Lewis akira beard art drawing portrait screwtape sketch https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/7/the-screwtape-letters-by-cs-lewis-part-2 Wed, 31 Jul 2013 19:32:29 GMT
The Screwtape Letters (CS Lewis) https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/7/the-screwtape-letters-cs-lewis           Recently I had the joy of reading CS Lewis' "The Screwtape Letters". The basic format of the book is thru the narrative of a teacher devil corresponding with a student devil on his progress of manipulating a patient (human being) into siding with the Devil, and not with God. There were alot of gems expressed in a metaphorical, and sometimes literal nature describing the human conflict of existing in the spiritual versus the material. For the drawing, I created a portrait of Wormwood (the student devil), and how I felt he would look, and added an excerpt from the book. In the excerpt, I like how it beautifully describes the devil tempting to take man out of the present moment, distracting him with the past/and or present, beacuse it is in the present moment where the individual arrives at that sacred communion with the eternal nature. Enjoy!wormwood (based on CS Lewis' The Screwtape Letters), ink on paper, 5.5"x 8.5", 2013

'...the present is the point at which time touches eternity. Of the present moment, and of it only, humans have an experience analogous to the experience which our enemy (god) has of reality as a whole; in it alone freedom and actuality are offered them. He would therefore have them continually concerned either with eternity (which means being concerned with him) or with the present. Either meditating on their eternal union with, or separation from, himself, or else obeying the present voice of conscience bearing the present cross, receiving the present grace, giving thanks for the present pleasure.

        Our business is to get them away from the eternal and from the present with this view, we sometimes tempt a human to live in the past. But this is of limited value for they have some real knowledge of the past and it has a determinate nature and, to that extent resembles eternity. It is far better to make them live in the future. Biological necessity makes all their passions point in the direction already, so that thoughts about the future inflames hope and fear... in a word, the future is, of all things, the thing least like eternity.'- CS Lewis

(Akira Beard) CS Lewis akira beard art drawing portrait sketch https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/7/the-screwtape-letters-cs-lewis Tue, 30 Jul 2013 18:53:45 GMT
mind itself is reality... https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/7/mind-itself-is-reality This piece is the result of reflection that occured on this past Saturday in Bloomington, Indiana. I had awoken in the morning, groggy from having gone to sleep at 4am for no other reason than restlessness. The day though beginning, I felt a certain abandonment towards reality and thought to just find a warm, cozy hole to sleep in. But then I caught the light of awareness and snapped out of it. Despite the sluggishness of the mind, I grabbed the swim gear, bicycle, and headed down to the quarry. Upon arriving, I was immediately uplifted. The transparent emerald green water with rainbow scaled fish swimming close to shore, sun shining rays deep into my pores I swam a few laps and then was hit with anxiety. I found myself alone in deep water left with only the company of my own mind. As I looked at how far shore was, I panicked as my mind recoiled into a neurotic state of fear. So again, I called upon the nature of awareness, floated on my back looking into the sun saying to myself over and over "all i need is within me", I sat in my suffering, and relaxed back into stillness and made it back to shore with a smile on my face. I had officially made the transformation back to the nature of reality. Good bye fear, resistance... hello openness. Heading back home, the world became vibrant. Every moment was a living composition to be appreciated. I had taken the identical path to the quarry and had noticed very little if any of it the first time around. Goodbye state of forgetfulness, hello mindfulness. Comrade Aaron was participating in a cycle race in the heart of downtown, so I had made my way down there after venturing from the swim. I had no idea what this entailed, and especially being a visitor to this foreign town it is typical to enter a situation of an unknown nature with fear. We often do this by arriving at a pre-concept/judgement of how it is going to be before even having actually experienced it don't we? But with this realization, I emptied myself of any fantasy and entered the arena with presence. I would join Natalie and Jacqueline on an open patio in the front of Finch's restaurant where we watched the cycle race only ten feet or less from actually being in it. I was served by Joe who recommended the Duck Confit salad. I appreciated the variety of flavor, textures, and tenderness of each bite. In between sips of various quality draft beers, I admired the spirit of the cyclists as they sped by the patio. It is such an inspiration to witness individuals in a collective space in complete alignment physically, mentally, spiritually. The nature of sport activity tends to cultivate this, I only wish to experience it more typically in casual presence with other people. When the race was over, the group of us relaxed around the table in the nature of each others company. I would meet the gentleman next to me, Kevin, who I was intrigued how his camera seemed to be an extension of his arm/eye. I had asked him, 'why the medium of photography out of all mediums' and even during the insightful conversation as to his explanation of his relationship with art, he would take photos if any moment had inspired him. And every other moment did and this is not to say he was not present in our dialogue. Taking photos was truly like breathing to this man. I was amused and inspired. As I came back from the restroom, I noticed the person behind me drawing in a little sketchbook. Co-optly I glanced over his shoulder and was curious and inspired just like every moment that had occured since swimming earlier. We would get into a conversation and I would discover that he was a director of a program in New Jersey working with troubled youth. The nature of our conversation was about the meaningful nature of life, and looking within to discover this meaning. He expressed how he often feels isolated in this view and how he was joyful to have come across my company. The compliment, feeling was mutual, and I felt the peak of my upliftingness which is often the result of experiencing deep connection with another human being. Especially when it is on the spot, usually from shared vulnerability. These are my favorite interactions not only because I leave with a memory of inspiration, but I learn something genuine about another individual from the exercised humility of openness. His name was Jason.... this expressed documentation is only a little more than half this day. Rather than go on, I will wrap up with this conclusion. There was a time of my life, a good length of it unfortunately where I missed out on life itself. I didn't see this at the time of course however, such is the allegory of Plato's cave. I had built a cocoon of a life, living in an illusionary reality of coping. Coping with the unawareness of conditioned suffering. This was all the result of not having even the basic understanding of the nature of my own mind. The result of which would be a closed mind, a closed heart, a closed experience of life. When I look at the photos in this blog, I see a collection of basic goodness in the people in the world, in the world itself. This is merely the result of the basic goodness that I experienced on the spot. Living in a world where all things are interdependent, I hope even a single sentence from this expression finds its way into the heart of another so as to inspire a transformation of upliftingness, making the shared world we live in more and more a place of radiant luminosity, moving forward towards the liberation of all sentient beings. Though I didn't include the following words in the piece that are in collaboration with this Saturday expressed, they came as an inspiration on the reflection there of... Enjoy and nothing but love towards all.

'mind itself is reality. The world outside one's self, is experienced from within one's self. And from this fundamental awareness, does one exist in the primordial, unconditional state of being, living in harmony with the true nature of reality, thru the realization of the true nature of mind. This is the highest potential  to living, inherit in us all. For without this awareness, life is experienced in a rather illusionary nature. An appearance of reality, not reality itself. And in the laws of nature, such as impermenance, are these illusions shattered and we find ourselves awakened again and again, to the nature of reality. So let us go deeper with more realization, always, into the nature of our own mind. So we can arrive at the hidden treasure we exhaust ourselves looking so desperately for, waiting for us always in the nowness of reality. That treasure of true happiness, inner peace... Contentment. 'nature of reality, ink on paper, 5.5"x 8.5", 2013

(Akira Beard) akira beard art drawing ink sketch transformation https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/7/mind-itself-is-reality Mon, 29 Jul 2013 20:54:12 GMT
coming back to life every moment, any and everywhere https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/7/coming-back-to-life-every-moment-any-and-everywhere This piece was created as a point of reference where I found myself around two weeks ago. I've take a short hiatus from my home city of San Francisco, to visit friends and find spaciousness in various cities that I have never been. Currently I am in Bloomington, Indiana. The point being made is, when one finds one's self in an unfamiliar environment, it is easy to experience a withdrawal from awareness. But that is conforming to fear. Fear of the unknown. Part of my practice has been to cultivate the devotion in being comfortable wherever I may be. This realization comes from deeper realization of the nature of one's own mind. So as a form of strength, I wrote the following words of this awareness in the piece.. enjoy.

 'the stories of the mind... when one finds one self in situations with which one is unfamiliar with, watch your mind as if watching a feature length film. And when watching, realize it is one of fiction, not reality. And become aware to not interact, or add to it. Simply observe. And doing so, notice it's length begin to shorten. And with deeper awareness witness it dissolve altogether. And suddenly one finds one's self transformed from an experience of make believe in one's mind to the reality of the present moment. And from here, the real movie begins. One is in the director's chair living a story whose screenplay is created second by second. And although one will find it difficult to remain in this space, the important thing is to now know the difference between fiction and reality in the constancy of our lives. And with this as a point of reference, one will have the option, the ability to transform from one to the other. And so now which will one choose to live as?'

stories of the mind, ink on paper, 5.5"x 8.5", 2013

(Akira Beard) akira beard art portrait transformation https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/7/coming-back-to-life-every-moment-any-and-everywhere Sat, 20 Jul 2013 22:31:36 GMT
mourning love https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/7/mourning-love In the writing of my book yesterday, I was reflecting on where i've been and where I'm at. Mentally, spiritually. In looking back I was simultaneously saddened, yet uplifted in thinking of two women in particular that shared their lives with me so intensely as I did with them. There are of course other aspects of life that led to this current arrival of fortune in continued realization, awareness, and wakefulness, but the experience of the true nature of love shared with another human has been one of the greatest teachers of life. This was the inspiration, this was the reflection. And the interesting aspect of the drawing for myself is that in the beginning it looked like one of the two partners, only by its end to look like the other. Its simply magic in and when the miracle experienced in life transfers over to the creation/expression of art. enjoy!"Mourning Love", ink on paper, 8.5"x 5.5", 2013


"In relationships of intimacy, where we make ourselves most vulnerable... our tender heart exposed to another. And in this openness, we are transformed into an uplifting peak. This has to be one of the greatest experiences of our lives. The nature of love. And in the constancy of reality, when we find ourselves separated from that which we grew ourselves once into, do we ever forget that peak our heart led us to? It seems such a betrayal to one' self to pretend what once was, had never existed if it were rooted in the true nature of love. That formless, unaltered, ineffable, harmonious bond of the deepest euphoric bliss with another human. So even in the face of mourning, let this expression pay heed to the ex-lover (s) that participated in this mutual devotion of now past time. Though we may have let go, let us not forget. We were once in love. (Mourning Love)"

(Akira Beard) akira beard art drawing love portrait sketch https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/7/mourning-love Sat, 06 Jul 2013 21:49:59 GMT
life has become a miracle again... https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/7/life-has-become-a-miracle-again   Amidst the bbq's, beer drinking, music, and so fourth occuring all thru the city during the fourth of July yesterday, I would begin the day working with the sick and elderly at one of the major hospitals in SF. There is that harsh reality where the majority of folks are having fun outside, and there are those that are trapped more or less watching it from the windows inside. It is always an uplifting, and insightful experience working with these group of people. It always amazes me how despite the circumstances of their conditions which is that of various levels of sickness, disease, ill health and so on, how they lose themselves in bliss during the creative process of art. Laughs, smiles, focus fill the room. After the hospital, I would attend a barbecue that was put on by one of the elder care facilities that I work at as well. I would find myself in a community of the elders and meeting there families. What I found interesting most is how in expression, in conversation the family members tended to be far less open, comfortable in vulnerable interaction. The elders however have no quarrels. The expression is heartfelt, genuine. There reality is of a different nature, and it is always an eye opener to my own. I would later find myself in a major park with all the young people, happy and drunk on life. I was even invited to participate upon arrival by chance. I had no interest at the moment. I would spend with a beer in hand with thought, of this duality. Happiness and Suffering, which was reflective of the days events. These are the words that came up, which are in the piece. The drawing itself is an imagined head bust that was drawn at various glimpses thru out the day. Enjoy!

"experience the pain willingly, look deep into the nature of suffering... arrive at the realization of the nature of reality. We are born into the world with suffering. The physical body will experience age, sickness, disease, and death. The mind will experience emotions, memories, thoughts, desires. We will spend a big portion of our lives searching, desiring, finding, attaining, and losing. We suffer much from all these things. And to experience these things willingly, is to embrace life, for life. To deny these experiences, is to deny life, living. In our denial we find ourselves living lives of an illusory nature. Coping, rationalizing, burying our pain in a chest anchored at the depths of our souls. And its anchor gets heavier as we continue to fill it's chest with each denied pain experience, and we find our lives heavy. Life becomes burdensome, and the only objective becomes to not make it so. To make it pleasurable. And so we feed our minds. With relationships, with big plates of food, with alcohol, with entertainment, etc. But it is never enough. We become transparent like ghosts. For we are like ghosts, living in a physical world... but not truly here. Not truly alive, living, yet not dead. Rather waiting to be dead. So let us break the chains of denial, with awareness. Let us be liberated from the depths of our ignorance that is responsible for our suffering. Let us stop fooling ourselves in trying to manipulate that which can't be manipulated. Life, reality. That is, let us end the neuroses of inviting the 'good' and running from the 'bad'. (happiness and pain). Let us accept the interdependence of both, for this interdependence is reality. And from the unity of these two, we arrive at contentment. And when we have arrived at contentment, realize that we have arrived at reality. For all we need, we already have. Here and now, second by second. Life has become a miracle again."nature of suffering, ink on paper, 5.5"x8.5", 2013

(Akira Beard) akira beard art drawing elders love sketch https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/7/life-has-become-a-miracle-again Fri, 05 Jul 2013 20:07:20 GMT
Transformation and Change reflection... https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/7/transformation-and-change-reflection A piece that I began while camping over night in nature... It seems like such a powerful way to find one's center again when surrounded by nothing more than forest, soil, and the sky. ahhhhhhhh (sigh)... The following are the words inscribed in the piece- (above photo c/o Christopher Jernberg)

           Transformation and Change

The difference between transformation and change is where in change, something of the old remains though in appearance the form seems to be new, different. One eventually however, tends to find one's self where one thought one moved away from.

    In transformation, actual change occurs where something at it's root is different as to what it was before. And because it begins at the root, it grows into something unfamiliar, mysterious, fresh. A complete birth into something new. Where one once found themselves becomes nothing more than a memory in time.

      And in making any decision in regard to what we call 'life making decisions', is it important to look into the true desire, intention. Does one in whatever decision is being made, does one want true change or just the appearance of change.transformation/change reflection, ink on paper, 5.5"x 8.5", 2013

(Akira Beard) akira beard art drawing sketch transformation https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/7/transformation-and-change-reflection Tue, 02 Jul 2013 19:31:25 GMT
focusing on what is important https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/6/focusing-on-what-is-important       At the San Francisco Main Public Library, there is a show titled "On the Line" at the library's gallery section, which is an exhibition of artworks in various mediums created by inmates incarcerated at San Quentin Prison. I viewed the show yesterday, but feeling such inspiration from it I had to go back. I'm glad I did, for I would find myself in meaningful conversation with Carmen, a random individual that experienced similar inspiration from the exhibit. The artworks themselves triggered me to reflect on the various functions of art. The function here as presented in the shows statement was basically that thru the development of art practice, inmates could experience a personal development thru creativity, expression, discipline that has the potential to lead to a persons sense of worth, meaning, and consciousness which could aid ultimately in his/her's rehabilitation upon entering the 'real' world. I felt these qualities to be reflected in the art itself, and was moved deeply. Admittingly, I would have tears in front of 2 seperate pieces. I was impressed by the duality of the obvious struggle in physical nature, and the various levels of resolve thru the metaphysical nature of creativity and expression. I experience this weekly in working with elders for the last 6 years. As mentioned times before, what drew me to be involved in the elder program is the honesty that is captured in the images created, as a result of the function art often serves in the lives of the elders that participate. I am often turned off more and more attending public art shows by professional artists on the gallery scene, for the function tends to be more of a material nature. That is the benefit of the artists ego in various ways. Whether its title, money, trend, and so on. I experience a lot of neurotic expressions. This is no surprise, for it is the root of the current culture and I guess it is simply reflected in the mirrors of art. This is all my personal opinion of course. Feel free to disagree. So when I come across a piece such as Tan Tran's "Justice Needs Enlightenment" where thru imagery he describes his words " Justice C.D.C system... sank me into the dark of ocean, I became a deep seadiver and came up covered with scintillating pearls. Those pearl shining to history of man kind suffering", I find an individual that is coming from a place of vulnerability, and in the awareness of his own situation is led to the greater awareness of those around him. This is the antithesis of materialism, where a single human being begins to see the world as one that is more than one solely existing within themselves. This is empathy. This is compassion. As mentioned in the opening, I would find myself in open conversation with a complete stranger. I had asked her to take my photo in front of a piece, and from there the conversation began. Her name was Carmen, and she described herself as a layperson in regards to art though she has a daughter that recently graduated art school in photography, and she her self had taken a class here and there. These are my favorite dialogues in art, for the layperson's interpretation tends to not go thru filters of art intellect/education/history that pretend and/or over conceptualize the art experience. And artists being the minority in this relationship, I've always appreciated those that just happen to be passing by. She was moved by how the inmates used art as a resource to communicate with others. She would go on to express how paintings of nude figures and still lifes have a much different impact in this way. That these artworks describe an existing human being, and how he is thru whatever medium, expressing consciousness. As stated in my own view, Carmen's and I was very similar. She had a nephew that had drawn a while back while he was in juvenile hall, the jail yard and a butterfly flying towards the sky carrying a key that said freedom. I could see the water being resisted coming from the bottom of her eyes as she described this. I wonder if she noticed it in mine as I bent my head down to hide while listening. The thing I am loving about art more and more are these experiences. Humanistic. Uplifting. Transformative... There is the artist, the art, and those that experience it. And its amazing to think how these experiences can transfer and transform thru all 3. The potential of art! Here are a some pics of more art from the exhibition. More info can be found at http://williamjamesassociation.org/event/san-quentin-art-exhibit-san-francisco-public-library/

(Akira Beard) akira beard art drawing san quentin https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/6/focusing-on-what-is-important Wed, 26 Jun 2013 00:00:27 GMT
Johnny Tapia and Eddie Alcazar https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/6/johnny-tapia-and-eddie-alcazar Johnny Tapia (commission for the film "Tapia" by Eddie Alcazar), watercolor/graphite on paper, 2013 Around 2 weeks ago, I received an email from Indy film director Eddie Alcazar. He described a project he was working on and that he was familiar with my expressions and inquired if I would be interested to create a poster image for his film. I was swamped at the time, and had one deadline still remaining in the next week which was difficult enough to get to. However, we would talk on the phone and Eddie would describe Johnny Tapia, the subject of his documentary, and the life he had lived. It was an intense story by far, and my mind was made up in that moment. I am all about the depths of human experience, and was ignited with inspiration and honored to collaborate with Eddie. If interested to read on Johnny Tapia's life, you can google his name, wikipedia, etc. or watch the film "TAPIA" of course when it is released. In a nutshell however, Johnny was raised by his grandmother as the result of having never met his dad who had been murdered while he was in the womb, and his mother was kidnapped, raped, and murdered when he was eight. Johnny would discover boxing, find solice in its cultivation, and go on to be a 5 time world champion. He however would wrestle with the demons he was born into, and had problems with drug addiction which would bleed into other aspects of his life including his marriage and career. He was diagnosed as clinically dead from overdose on more than one occassion, though he would come back to life. He passed away last year at the age of 45. I always attempt to make any expression I do meaningful, and doing commission work which I tend to stray away from for that reason, this can be challenging. In this experience however, it would lend itself that much more to the openness aspect. After I had finished the piece and sent it to Eddie, he would show Tapia's widowed wife and she would give him a letter that was written to her by her deceased husband before passing away. Eddie asked if I could incorporate it, and I was obliged. I wrote in pencil, and stayed as true as possible to the words Tapia had written himself in the letter. I was told the letter contained the tears that Tapia's wife had cried on it when reading it. This is what I mean by meaningful. We are all human, and a corner stone of this experience includes the love, but the pain that arrives at the end of it. How beautiful to show both. Expression. We are all in the same boat, simply beings living life and all that it encompasses. The spirit is the same, it is merely the details that are different. How fullfilling to be part of an experience with others, that open their hearts showing its tenderness just as I do. I feel this is important in relation to one's own nature, as well as inspiring others perhaps to not be ashamed of their own. And for fun, the pic of rapper 50cent and retired boxing legend Sugar Ray was at the debut of Eddie Alcazar's film "TAPIA" at the Los Angeles Indy Film Festival which happened over the weekend. Enjoy.

(Akira Beard) 50 Alcazar Eddie Johnny Tapia akira beard art cent portrait https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/6/johnny-tapia-and-eddie-alcazar Thu, 20 Jun 2013 19:08:45 GMT
youth and age https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/6/youth-and-age stella, watercolor on paper, 8"x10", 2013 One of the subjects for anyone that follows these writings may realize that comes up often is the work that I do with the elders. One of the reflections that I look deeper into these days is death. And at the source of the elder experience is just that, in how these individuals tend to live in no denial of which, being that close to the end of their path. A notion of direct honesty exists, a sense of fearlessness expressed in an energy of serenity. Being around friends existing in this state rubs itself into the deeper layers of myself, and it is a great reference point to walk thru the limitations of myself that arise from neuroses and fear from time to time. This reflection was inspired by a conversation with Stella in class yesterday. Another student, Richard, was drawing from a photograph of my friend Amanda. Rich is creating a body of work where he is drawing on the beauty of the female portrait. He didn't have reference of his own this day, so I happened to have this picture of Amanda. As we are drawing, Stella walks past and asks, "where did you get that photo?.. that is me. I have that photo in my old house." I explained to her as to who and what the photo was about. She looked again and expressed over and over how that looked just like her as a youth. I said 'oh Stella, you're not that far from the youth in that photo"... Her response, "ohh. Bullshit!... " I laugh and she follows as well, and says she's just being honest. I find myself meeting people from all types of clubs and tribes, youth and elderly and so on. In the nature of open conversation that I tend to find myself in, on the subject of old age and all that it encompasses is expressed so differently from one that is merely conceptualizing it. In the elder experience, it is simply experienced and shared, from the perspective of another human being that far down the path looking back and telling us what it is all about. This is the wisdom that the elders possess. And if only we listen, should it aid those of us behind on the path to live the lives we truly want to live. With no regret at its end. To live beginning with having the honesty in doing so with ourselves. Thank you elders, thank you Stella.

(Akira Beard) akira beard art drawing portrait sketch watercolor https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/6/youth-and-age Tue, 18 Jun 2013 20:13:56 GMT
The Life Show... https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/6/the-life-show Having worked on the installation for "The Life Show" for the last week plus, I can say with confidence that this has been a powerful experience. I have for years, and continue to , work on myself in the way of trying to break the patterns of conditioning, neurotic thoughts/emotions so as to achieve liberation as to live a full, rich life of contentment. Every moment is an opportunity to do so thru awareness and action. And in art, thru its nature of existential vulnerability made public, is it typical for the creator to find themselves in that neurotic restless place of stress and suffering. So I found myself in this place, feelings of overwhelmed and self created pressure to fill and create a space with my artworks. But i've been there, done that where the process is a torturous one even if the result is satisfying. I want joy in both. So I used it as an opportunity with the intent to throw myself in it, with presence to allow the development of the show to take on its own life. Rather than try to be overly technical and work with a blueprint. There is a fear in this letting go, and surrendering to the elements that are made available to you. But this is mind chatter. This is the neurotic pattern. And when I began to allow myself to work in this way, I lost myself in a beautiful way. Harmony ensued and I was absorbed in the space and taken for a ride thru its experience. I would find rice paper and write on it with big strokes of ink and brush. Left over rolls of glossy photo paper would be the canvas for heavy loads of acrylic to be written with. The work on the wall would be arranged in a harmonious fashion so as to tell the story of nature of mind to nature itself, to nature of death, to homage to women, to homage to elders, and so forth. Charcoal drawings would be taped to the wall as exclamation points in support of the concepts of specific paintings. Friends would come by and share uplifting conversations of heart and mind. I would create a piece expressing and called "Harmony", on the spot where I wrote text in its description with a classical soundtrack in the background, expressing complete harmony where the final period I lay down after 45 minutes or so of writing would end exactly when the soundtrack ended. This piece "harmony" was made with the intent of trying to visually express the very idea I am writing about as to surrender to the constant nowness of life to experience the hidden miracle of it. I can go on and on, but that has been the process of installation. A miracle. It has been an achievement of a deep uplifting nature, and it is my hope that in my view of art as a mirror of its creator, that this uplifting will be reflected into the viewers being so as to inspire him/her to go within and take hold of that hidden treasure made available to us all. Let this be an expression of life itself. Explored, reflected on, lived with awareness, celebrated for all that it is in every moment we have made available to us. And may you enjoy the expression of this thru the art. Enjoy. The LIfe Show!! The opening is occurring tommorow June 8th at Emerald Tablet gallery in SanFrancisco. 6-10pm. For more info please visit emtab.org


(Akira Beard) akira beard art portrait watercolor yupo https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/6/the-life-show Fri, 07 Jun 2013 17:18:09 GMT
final piece for "The Life Show"... "Harmony" https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/6/final-piece-for-the-life-show In creating this show "The Life Show", I wanted to further explore and express the nature of life itself. The show contains pieces from my "Self" and "Culture" series, both of which were explorations/expressions that would lead me to this current discovery of "Nature". There also being several artworks that are the buildings of the Nature series, I wanted to use the show itself as an organic approach in further discovery as to the nature of life. By this I mean being open to however the show may develop. There is a pre-plan of course, but a point came during the installation where I would let go more and more and the show would begin to take on a life of its own so to speak. One example is the final piece that I am including in the show. So here it is explained....

       After the first two days of art installation, we would take a break and not work on Saturday. I was feeling anxious in that I should do something, anything to build to the show. The first thought of course is to create another painting in adding it to the body of work. But this could only be stressful, and having been there, done that it is trying to force life too much. So I went swimming, urban hiking, and at night would attend an art show at Somarts put on by a freshly graduating class of fine artist college students. I subbed for Kevin, the professor, a few weeks before the end of the semester, so I got to meet the students and was informed about the show. I arrived at the last hour of it and at the reception desk had bought a few raffle tickets to support the event. The raffle itself was to give away around 10 paintings to 10 various ticket holders. Being a minimalist, as I entered the gallery space I began to give away my tickets to people I would run into. However, before I could entirely do so the raffle had begun within 5 minutes of having bought the tickets. Immersed in a mass of people, confused, overwhelmed slightly I turn to locate where the announcement of winners is taking place. I turn around to find I am in the center of it and my friend Brett is announced as the special guest in drawing the raffle. Seconds later they announce "Aki!"... I take a picture at that moment still not sure what is going on for I had no intention, desire to win. But from the laughing smile of Brett, its obvious. I'm the first winner. So I take a photo in front of my acclaimed piece and it is a conceptual portrait. My cup of tea for it is an expression that I continually work with. After the raffle, the artist Madeline would introduce herself and give me the painting. She was absent on the day I subbed and we express mutual gratitude over the piece. She tells me that as part of a class project where  they were to choose 3 contemporary artist they are influenced by and to do a presentation there of, she chose me. I was flattered and this painting was making more sense. She warned me of her friend Holly who wanted the piece desperately and may even try to purchase it. Sure enough, I would soon after be approached by Holly. Madeline was correct, and Holly and I discuss resolution over ownership of the piece. I don't want to sell it, and though I authentically love the piece I do not collect anything. And this is usually awkward, for I do not know what to do with gifts. But Holly is here, and she shows me all the raffle tickets she purchased with intention to win the painting. I'm touched, and its obvious that the problem of what to do with the beautiful artwork is solved. I have incorporated the piece into my show, and at the end of it will pass it on to Holly. And one last note is that I at one time had vision to create a very similar concept, but never did so, and how wonderful that another artist would do so and it would end up in my hands. And not any artist, but an artist that was openly inspired by my own expressions. So in conclusion, this expression of Life is 'harmony'. Its when trust exists. Trust in the basic goodness of life. That life exists naturally, in its constancy. In its truest nature of reality which is simply here and now. And if one can surrender the preconceptions, the opinions, the jugdements, the technicalities, the grasping, manipulation, control and simply experience it for what it is spot by spot, second by second openly, fearlessly how much of a miracle it tends to be. Life opens up in an unimaginable way. One is harmony with all things, living in complete accordance with nature. This isn't about winning a prize, rather the prize is experiencing the uplifting nature of ourselves as if we begin to use wings that we never knew we had. And so this final piece created as the result of this experience is done so in hopes that others will be uplifted, and/or inspired for their own uplifting life pursuit. Let us burn the cocoons we build ourselves into only in feeding the egos of our minds, and spread our wings and live openly in the infinite sky like nature of our hearts, minds living in harmony with all things made available to us.

       Though a photograph of the complete piece self is not here, it is a compilation of the original painting with photographs (some of which are here) and words written on rice paper with ink, and a printed out email. It will be on display at the show opening this Saturday. More info on that can be found at the link http://emtab.org/the-life-show-jun-2013/

(Akira Beard) Brett Amory Kevin Moore akira beard art love https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/6/final-piece-for-the-life-show Thu, 06 Jun 2013 15:58:07 GMT
paying homage to the elders https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/5/paying-homage-to-the-elders For a few hours a week, for close to the last 6 years, I have had the fortunate experience to work with elderly thru a program known as 'Art With Elders', based in San Francisco, CA. How I became involved in the program is a memory that is stained in my mind. I responded to an ad that was seeking volunteers to escort elder artists in wheelchairs who were attendance of their gala so that they may be celebrated and have the opportunity to experience the art of their peers. The CEO, Brent Nettle gave a speech saying 'we live in a society that is starving for honest images.. the artists in the Art With Elder program provide this...". I was touched deeply, and before hearing these words I was awe struck by experiencing the art on the walls alone. They were not only honest, but personal, creative, and passionate. I didn't get any sense as art being practiced as a sport, an 'ego trip', which tends to be my personal view/experience often when I attend contemporary gallery shows. Long story short, I meet Brent that night, attend a job interview weeks later and begin the chapter of my life as art instructor working with the elderly.

         Upon reflection over these past 6 years of the Art With Elders experience, it is easily one of my proudest life experiences. It continues to be a wealth of wisdom, knowledge, insight into the nature of true reality. art elder sketch, When attending faculty meetings, the other members often share heartwarming stories that anyone can not help but experience being in the situation. I certainly have mine. Just to share one of my favorites... One of my first students was a diva poet in her eighties. She was a bundle of passionate energy, putting creativity at the forefront of most her life. "Genya", oil on wood panel- 12"x 16" (2007) Her medium is writing having published books of her poetry, and she took advantage of attending the class as to learn to express herself visually. Though going thru the frustrations of a beginner in painting, she was determined. She never missed class, and gave me a hard time if I had to cancel for any reason. She would work diligently on completing painting after painting between classes. So much so, I was feeling guilty of being lazy in my own practice. As the result of her age, naturally her body was showing signs of shutting down. At one point she was having serious knee problems, and could barely walk being in chronic pain/discomfort, but she hobbled to class where we made a sling with a chair to prop the injured leg up while she painted. She would attend a doctors appointment later for the matter, and I was told she had brought her art materials to the office and continued to paint on the floor until she was called. art elder sketch Her spirit was so touching, and she would upon myself leaving that specific class for others, say to me 'if only I were fifty years younger I would smother you'. It made me blush, and I took the words seriously for she had a boyfriend who was in his fifties. Through out our relationship, I would get to know her history and what a rich one it is. Everyone has a story, and how inviting when a veteran of life so close to the finish line presents it like an open book. I am so proud to have been another character of an experience her life story, as she is mine.

       The following is a piece created in homage to the elder experience, which I currently still am a part of. The person painted is Ada, who I adore and currently work with. Enjoy. elder homage, watercolor/marker on paper, 8"x10", 2013

"Thank you elders. For the shared experience. You are the veterans of life that are a fountain of wisdom from a life lived. It is in your presence, that I walk away with a reference point to live here and now intensely. That there is an ending chapter to this life story and to cultivate courage so as to take responsibility for being it's sole author. The body ages wearily, and the mind follows. Yet it is your uplifting spirit that I find inspiration to experience the fullest potential existing in this constant fleeting human experience. Thanks for the unconditional generosity, openness, love, laughs, and friendship. It has been the chapter in my life story that I re-read with a sense of fullfillment each time. Thank you with Love..."

(Akira Beard) akira beard art drawing elders portrait sketch https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/5/paying-homage-to-the-elders Sat, 25 May 2013 21:16:41 GMT
let us live https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/5/let-us-live Recent piece created for the upcoming show at Emerald Tablet Gallery in San Francisco with the opening on June 8. The piece itself is inspired by the practice of insight. Looking within, which is reflected in the writing. The pics are experiences of surrendering to life itself which unfolded in glimpses of open spaces during the painting process. Or is it vice versa?  Its funny how even buying picture frames at IKEA can become a fun adventure. An example of this is where the gentleman (friend Chris Jernberg) is shaking the hand of the elderly woman in a red coat (Estella). While we were having breakfast in the cafeteria, he noticed her behind me, aged and alone with a tinge of sadness. He thought to invite her over, and though he didn't he caught her as she left to tell her how beautiful she is. She was flattered with a smile and open to the moment as intensely as Chris. This is one example of several that took place between attending Jacob's birthday party where you can see in the pic the painting began, to where it would eventually end after having swam in the ocean and ending up at the public library. Life was an experienced as an adventure, simply by surrendering to it moment by moment. The pics remind myself of all that is passing by, if I were to lock myself in a room to be spent in isolation with a painting. It is my philosophy as well, that the art itself is that much richer with life experience. I constantly find myself telling this to students recently graduating from the art school I teach at, often to not avail. Haha. But in empathy, I always remember how I came to exist in such a place with such philosophy. By being in that place with which they frustratingly struggle with. We are all in this together trying to figure it out. Let these expressions be testimony to that. Not to have realization mistaken for understanding, it is my hope that the reader will find inspiration in the development of their own realizations. Thank you and enjoy!

insight headpiece, watercolor on yupo, 9"x12", 2013


Look deep into the nature of mind, seeing past conceptions, opinions, prejudices, learned knowledge and arrive at that crystal clear clarity of the unaltered primordial state of being. And from here, like the nature of a crystal let the experiences of the universe reflect thru your being, fully absorbed in the harmonious nature of all things existing in accordance with another. No longer experiencing the world thru that restless mind exhausted by neurotic thought and emotions, no longer afraid of anything in the world. Boredom, depression, aggression, control, grasping, and so on fade into the background like the setting sun. The moon and all that it brightens is experienced unconditionally until the rising sun luminates all that more to be experienced with an open heart of fearlessness. Life itself is rewarded gratitude. The awareness of even walking the earth step by step gives one goose bumps, for it is experienced deeply. And true liberation occurs in those moments where loss occurs, but is experienced willingly. For it is all seen as the completion of a whole life. And to live it wholly, there is no regret at its end for life was experienced in all honesty, unconditionally for all its potential in the nature of its reality. There were moments where it was as simple as laying on ones back in a body of water under a hot sun, and other times that invited the intensity of experiencing the death of a loved one. And in the end, it is ourselves we arrive at in having lived conditionally or unconditionally. It is to ourselves that we answer to whether we truly lived, or denied life waiting to be dead. As the saying goes, 'it is never too late', so let us begin with ourself and live fearlessly the richest potential made available us all from birth. Let us live...

(Akira Beard) akira beard art life love portrait yupo https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/5/let-us-live Thu, 23 May 2013 02:14:36 GMT
the recipe of struggle and victory https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/5/the-recipe-of-struggle-and-victory Teaching at art college, it has been an experience of inspiration to meet so many young minds and witness evolution and transformation. I find myself more and more meeting such an array of talented individuals with such rich life stories that are works of progress. One such is Cougan. He seemingly lives at the school. Anytime I arrive he is there, when I leave he is there, when I take a break outside... he is there. His heart is open, and I have given complete presence to it. In an earlier writing, I reflected on what a difference a day can make. In this reflection, it being the end of another school semester, the reflection is on Cougan and how much I have witnessed him commit so fully and go thru such intensity thru his devotion to the development of his art practice... in a single semester. Congrats comrade for the rewards at the end of this short, but intense ride. It is only the beginning. This reflection is inspired by you...

"Approaching an aspect of life with determination, with devotion. And in this pursuit a recipe of sorts can be drawn between struggle and victory. And in the struggle bleeds doubt, frustration, and ultimately depression. And it boils to a peak where there seems no alternative but to let go. Like holding onto a diamond that at it's center exists a burning coal, the pain of holding onto it's deceiving illusionary nature is more painful than letting go. And in doing so one experiences a liberation. A notion of fearlessness ensues and the struggle is transformed into a game of creative meditative fun and play. The lost diamond is re-discovered, but this time there is no hot coal at it's core. Rather it is empty. For the difference now is that one sees the empty nature of devotion outside one's self and has turned the pursuit inwardly. No longer is the focus the result. Rather the process is experienced. And by default, the richness experienced in the nowness of the process becomes evident given life in the result. And sometimes this miracle extends itself from merely a personal experience to one celebrated, nurtured by the universe. The world acknowledges this personal achievement and rewards it's creator. This is what is called having your cake and eating it too. This is victory."

Cougan, watercolor/ink on paper, 8"x10", 2013


(Akira Beard) akira beard art drawing love sketch https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/5/the-recipe-of-struggle-and-victory Mon, 13 May 2013 18:26:23 GMT
the sun and the moon... https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/5/the-sun-and-the-moon reflecting on the wisdom of the world... that even if the situation of the world may be of a dis-satisfactory state to put it mildly, that there is basic goodness within all of us and the world itself. I created this today at the San Francisco Public Main Library today. And if you have never been, let me just say it is a refuge for souls of samsara. Inside and outside the building. It only made sense to state such a reflection... enjoy

let the sun of awareness that we find eclipsed by the moon of forgetfulness, rise and shine thru with its luminostic rays of joy, compassion, and wisdom. Cover the entire earth of our being, giving life to all that it's light shines on. In this light, recognize the basic goodness of ourselves, the phenomenal world, and our existence in it. Let us live in this light of true liberation, free from the self created suffering of the mind and let us live the richest lives available in every passing moment, non-distracted and fully being in the here and now. Let us like the sun itself, live in nature as nature, harmonious with all things in the universe.the sun of awareness and the moon of forgetfulness, watercolor/pen on paper, 8"x10", 2013

(Akira Beard) akira beard art drawing portrait sketch watercolor https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/5/the-sun-and-the-moon Wed, 08 May 2013 23:43:14 GMT
letter to Daniel... https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/5/letter-to-daniel In reflecting on the nature of suffering, the nature of love... human relationships came into question. Some of them I would withdrawal from, some existing would deepen, and new ones would manifest. The basic criteria is to surround myself with people that love and care for me and to avoid those that do not. Daniel Hill is a recent friend of mine that I created a piece for in the manner of expressing gratitude for. His care, his love, his friendship. Thank you Daniel. Looking forward to many years to come. Love...

letter to Daniel, 8"x 10", watercolor/pen on paper, 2013

Daniel, Thank you. You are a blessing that has appeared in my life at a point of major transformation. With transformation from old to new, typically comes an overall state of discomfort. Your compassion helped make the pain tolerable as if taking an aspirin for the aching heart. Your sacred space at home is a refuge of well-being that you shared with me providing a space to heal, where I did so with fresh cut wounds. Your openness, gentleness, presence, and non-judgement provided a space for my heart to be fully open. Your indirect spiritual guidance has opened up a world for which I have been searching for so long, but wasn't sure how to approach. You have been the mediator, the spiritual ambassador that has manifested in this recent bardos where I find myself daily coming to deeper realization of myself, of the universe. Our relationship will always be born from this embryo of ineffable experience that has me deeply grateful to you. These are merely words to express such, but perhaps I can provide the same experience so you can know directly the depths of my loving heart when reflecting on you. -Love Aki

(Akira Beard) akira beard art daniel hill drawing portrait sketch https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/5/letter-to-daniel Tue, 07 May 2013 19:45:06 GMT
the process was one of transmuation, just like the concept of the piece itself.... https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/5/the-process-was-one-of-transmuation-just-like-the-concept-of-the-piece-itself transmutation, watercolor/paintmarker on paper, 8"x10", 2013 Such a simple piece, but to complete it was such an adventure... For an upcoming themed group show being flowers at ModernEden Gallery in San Francisco, I had a clear idea of what I was going to work with. I wanted to do piece exploring 'presence, nowness, the moment' in the process of executing a painting. Working as a professional artist with deadlines, its easy to fall into a place of result orientation, where the process itself is almost a hinderance so as to get to the next piece to complete it. Art becomes a job in this way. Myself, I am always prioritizing the integrity, the spiritual nature of it. So the process began with this idea, and continued with myself walking to the flower shop, interacting with the florist, taking a flower to the studio and painting it in a luxurious kimono. The point of the kimono was that I would be disciplined to be intensely present while painting or else a distracted mind would lead to the distress of having stains of any sort on my kimono. I began the painting and took a short break, falling asleep for an hour on the side. I would awake to the flower (a rose), losing its shape completely being hung on the wall horizontally. The deadline was only in a few days, and painting in oil I began to feel the distress arise where it would be difficult to paint a flower from life in this manner. I could of course roll with the punches, painting the de-evolution of the flowers shape, but that is not the concept I intended. So I would sleep on it, and put the project in the bag and approach it the way I had not wanted to. It seemed the only practical solution. To paint in a quick drying medium from a photo printed from the internet. I had wanted to explore the lotus flower and its symbolism, so that became the subject. Keep it simple. Or so I thought. Being more of recent practice in the development, creation, execution of my art, though time is declining quickly towards the deadline I didn't want to compromise to the extent of just sitting in the studio as the world goes by, muscling a painting of a lotus. I wanted to integrate life into the process itself. So before going further, the symbolism of the flower itself in Eastern Culture is one of transcendence, or transmutation. The lotus grows from the mud, thru the water, and eventually rises above both to grow into the sky. It is symbolic of ones spiritual inclination from a grounded ego self. That being said, I would start the day by going to Yoga class. After class, as has been common recently, the instructor though I do not know her at all other than by name, would open up to the nature of her recent situation of suffering and her practice of finding resolution/awakening thru it. Right after class, I would go across the street to the civic center and approach a group of meditators in session. I noticed from recent research that their hands were in the lotus mudra, and they were seated in the full lotus posture. Any doubts to paint something else today had left my mind. The universe was signaling. I wanted pointers on guided mediation, and they pointed me to Jason, the teacher. He didn't answer my questions, and told me to follow his movements. In my mind I was thinking why is this guy teaching me Tai Chi as I copied his movements. The next thing I know as I look over my shoulder the rest of the students are doing it as well. I am suddenly in a Tai Chi class. An hour later I would find out the practice is Fulan Gong. From there I would go to the ocean for a swim, all of this before noon. Lol. I would meet a fellow guest swimmer from Portland. He was training for a twenty mile swim at Catalina, and wanted to confront his physical, mental abilities. After I would come across fellow navigator Christopher Jernberg who had experienced enlightenment for the second time in his life. We had a session sitting on swings at Make Hang Gallery where I listened keenly as he described his realization of attachment as the cause of all suffering, and the nature of true reality and contentment. I had absorbed his glow and left north beach to go to school. I came across a student Gabriella who I had only met a week earlier, and as I described the failure of my initial project she noted with laughter that that had the art itself. The discovery, experience of impermanence in the creation of a piece of art where there was nothing captured (the flower dying) for the nature of it perhaps can not be truly captured. Only an echo of it. As i'm writing this Beethoven's moonlight sonata happens to be on. She was right, but that wont sound acceptable to Kim and Brad at the gallery when I walk in today and have no physical piece to show, only a description of it. I go downstairs and come across Victor who is a former student, now friend/artist comrade and he is educating me on Astral Projection. My take on it is that it is an experience of transcendence. A mental/physical one. I finally begin the painting, and it fails. Perhaps exhaustion from all I have described in participating in in one day, but I think it is deeper as will be described. Suddenly frustrated, and now feeling stressed again, I catch the bus to another district to meet with friend Chris Conroy and new friend Choishin to have a drink at the cafe. I take art supplies and head for the destination. Only a few blocks away, I go into the FoodCo. grocery store to use the restroom. I see a tall buddha like man dressed in the purple robe. I look at the clock, I have 45 minutes till I am to meet my friends a few minutes away so I approach him.. "What is the nature of mind?", I ask him. He bows, to me hands clasped in prayer and begins. We talk for an hour in the center of the store! I end up leaving with a dharma talk on affinity. Wow. Lol. I get to the cafe, apologize for being late and re-begin the painting. Abbot Alfred, the monk, helped empty my mind of distraction. Not feeling the need to get a beer to put me into that space to do what needs to be done (complete the painting!), I order the hulk smoothie. It has spinach, banana, protein and other stuff. Apologetically not being the best company, I paint while my friends talk about the cosmos, existentialism and other inspiring meaningful things. It was like live radio. The best background noise that could exist for me to paint in the situation. We go to the Thai Restaurant and I continue to paint, but the harmony is broken for I become self conscious of painting a Lotus flower in a thai restaurant. I don't know if the association is a logical one, but I put the piece away and would go home, sleep, and continue the next day (today). I take the piece to my art with elders class early morning, but I become involved in the priority of working with the elders so I have little time to paint the lotus. After class, I call up friend Audi who lives literally across the street if I can use his apartment to finish the piece. He says yes, and as I leave one residence to the next I call up friend, spiritual guru Laurence to get the correct traditional symbolic understanding of the lotus before I misinterpret using my own poetry. He lays it down, and I make it to Audis where before I have a chance to write, we find ourselves in a conversation about the worlds suffering and our relation with it. I immediately empty from all of this, and write the poem. It writes itself and I incorporate it into the piece with red marker. I get lost in the painting itself till it is completed and make my way to the frame shop, and now the gallery. What is the point of all of this? haha. Richness. Living. Love. The process for this piece is all of these deeply. The result may not necessarily encompass this in its simplicity, but this integrity. Having devotion to what is important, even if know one else will see it. A deeper, detailed reflection on the process... 

(Akira Beard) akira beard art drawing sketch https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/5/the-process-was-one-of-transmuation-just-like-the-concept-of-the-piece-itself Sat, 04 May 2013 22:45:09 GMT
sentient being https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/4/sentient-being So much time spent just to end up where we first began. As children, unconditionally experiencing the world. Exploring, laughing, crying, excited by it all. Our eyes were so big so as to see the trees, the clouds, the grass, the sky for the first time. Words of spontaneity left our mouths to express the phenomenal world of our experience. We were sentient beings with complete openness, unaware of any opinion of the world. There was no distortion of reality, only the unfolding of reality itself. The world around us celebrated us for our shining nature, for it had drifted away from its own long ago. And to be in the presence of little children, with awareness, to perhaps find it within ourselves that which we search for with aggression and disappointment outside ourselves with each years passing, forgetful that this primordial nature had never left us, but only lay dormant. I experienced it thru you little one, smiling inside as I watched you jumping on the bed, swinging your arms in celebration, making uncoordinated sounds of happiness from your wide open tiny mouth as only infants can do. In all irony, it is you from the teacher from which I should be studying. For you naturally breathe the human experience of freshness, of contentment.sentient being, watercolor/ink on paper, 8.5"x11", 2013

(Akira Beard) akira beard art portrait sketch https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/4/sentient-being Tue, 30 Apr 2013 04:32:28 GMT
impermenance and eternal nature... https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/4/impermenance-and-eternal-nature Most recent expression created in reflecting on the nature of mind, the nature of reality that much deeper... The reference was inspired by Alex, one of my students in the art with elders program... He has lived a long life, and in natural weariness spends most of the time in and out of sleep. He looks still and peaceful, and I can't help but to tell a story in my mind how he is resting in an inner most sanctuary of stillness. The following is the text inscribed on the piece...

"look deep into the nature of your mind and perhaps you will see the true nature of reality itself. Look past all the thoughts, emotions, the learned knowledge, the conditioning, the neuroses and perhaps see the emptiness of it all. Open your mind in this way, and so too perhaps will your heart open to all things as well. And in this openness, perhaps experience a harmony thru the interconnectedness of all things in the universe. Though all things being empty, they hang in the black void of the universe like shining jewels… transparent, absorbing and reflecting light from the suns, the moons, and all the stars in the universe. Looking deeply, perhaps realize nothing in this way is truly independent of itself. And perhaps realize the desiring need to exist so, is the root of all our ignorance that causes all our suffering and is projected onto the world itself, and collectively is responsible for the continual destruction of the world. And in looking deeper into the nature of mind, perhaps begin to cultivate compassion. Firstly for one's self, then for all other beings for when one begins to see the interdependence of all things perhaps one begins to see that any negative action, or even thought  towards all things not only brings harm to others, but also to one's self. And in looking deeply, let us not mistake any of these realizations for pure understanding, and so look deeper and deeper. And in this manner, perhaps discover who we truly are so as to no longer have confusion and arrive at peace, contentment within. Free from the ocean of suffering where we tend to live our lives in highs and lows, existing vulnerably to the impermanent nature of all that we manifest in our desires and attach to, unable to let go when they no longer cease to exist. Looking deeply into the nature of mind, finding this nature of reality, let us live unconditionally in its emptiness so as to deeply experience the potential of a human existence for all that it offers, second by second. And in this way perhaps, discover something that which is not impermanent, inherit to us all. Eternal, ineffable, deep at the center of the void of emptiness within the heart of humanity… And perhaps it is from this place that any true transformation will take place. Firstly from within, and then outwardly. And perhaps will we be saved, and so too the world."impermenance/eternal, watersoluble oil on wood, 16"x20", 2013

(Akira Beard) akira beard art love portrait https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/4/impermenance-and-eternal-nature Tue, 23 Apr 2013 17:35:59 GMT
a little bit about the process of paintig Lao Tzu... the process in general https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/4/a-little-bit-about-the-process-of-paintig-lao-tzu-the-process-in-general the process is one of integration so as to live wholly, with exploration and discovery. The  art made made as the result of it is the reflection of it, made visual so as to express/share with others. Though I have been drawing pictures before I learned to write the alphabet, it was in adulthood that I would come to have intention in art, after I had defined it for myself. This occurred organically as the result of being a typical individual drowning in the suffering of their neuroses, and fortunate for myself turning to that innate practice of drawing that came naturally to me. In this way art would be defined as a practice as to go within, and express without (outwardly). This has been the integrity of the practice, and I have held my ground at all costs to not compromise it. Though admittingly in a culture of of constant temptation and manipulation to which we are all vulnerable to, I have had my moments of confusion and doubt. And so to make the transition from such a practice into a career is one of creative mystery. But such is the essence of art itself, and I admire anyone that attempts to walk down such a path. To create a system of his/her own, as opposed to living within one created by another. Ultimately, to take responsibility for one's existence. Digressing back to the process, my recent piece is of homage to Lao Tzu. He is remembered for writing 'The Tao te Ching', which is a magnitude of wisdom that expresses the ineffable beautifully. The ineffable being the source of life and living, and how to live truly accordance with it harmoniously. What is described in buddhism as enlightenment, living in the true reality of the world as the result of knowing the true nature of the mind… liberated, free from suffering. I love how Lao Tzu uses nature as the resource to learn, and express poetically from. So this became the starting point from which to begin the homage, the process of making the piece. I would go into the mountains of Big Sur California with friends Chris and Claire, packing minimally having only clothes, sleeping bag, and food. We would hike a total of 20+ miles in a few days, resting in a natural hot spring, swimming in the river stream, eating vegetation on the trail, studying geckoes and snakes. All of this would lead to the reflection of harmony. How in nature all work inter-dependently and how even when humans come inhabit it though briefly, they are transformed into this pool of harmony. Every hiker we came across greeted us, and us them. At the heart of being human, is to be happy. It is what we all want. It is the motivation for much of our actions, for living itself. But how in our ignorance we become lost, confused and only bring ourselves suffering. So again in the process of this piece for example, to achieve/experience happiness requires one of harmony as well. I could easily google an image of Lao Tzu, go thru a painting exercise with a movie on in the background, paint feverishly till its done, frame it, put it in a show, and finally experience happiness if it sales.  This seems typical, but this is the reflection of a typical quality in this culture. Avoidance of the experience of nowness. And paradoxically if one care for the result of the expression itself (the painting), the deeper the experience of the process the richer the result. I see art uncompromisingly refelctive of the creator in this way. If the artists concern is money, it will show. If he/she is obsessed with the opinion of the viewer, it will show. If the artists believes authentically in a god, it will show. I've always felt there is a difference between the person that climbs mount everest and then sits in the studio and paints an apple, as opposed to another that never leaves the studio and paints the same apple. A lot of this reflection comes back to how to  live. Not to live in quiet desperation, but to live truly. And in art, there is the opportunity to contexualize such ideas. When I was doing the writing for the piece, I found myself in the middle of a battle between inner critic and inner child. The pen was not working well after I had written much text, and I began to become frustrated. Trying to control the situation, not willing to use another medium to write. I let go, and would use color pencil and other pens that didn't match the original. The frustration had left. I even misplaced an entire sentence, the critic came, and the child crossed out the sentence simply starting over. Harmony began, and the words would write themselves. I was once obsessively concerned with the result of any piece, but have allowed myself to let go more. This isn't a practice of trading quality for sloppiness, rather it becomes a practice of accepting myself truly, having faith in my own being and allowing it to come out. And in doing so, it is like a child seeing the ocean for the first time and the process is one to play in. And again, the result is that much richer in the documentation of this play, not perfection. Right after finishing, I would have the piece photographed by Don at Almac in the city. I love Don, but he never expresses any real insight to the art. He photographs everyones work in the city, and the most I've ever heard him say is "wow". So when he saw 'Lao Tzu', he said 'you know what that looks like… (long pause).. his head looks like the universe. (him smiling) I like how you did that'. I mention this, for the beauty of the universe as a metaphor as the miracle of life was one of the aspects that I thought/wrote in the text. And so from beginning when the inspiration to create occurred, to the end when it was finished and photographed was there a complete experience. One in which harmony was allowed to exist, and one in which was an experience of life itself in its richness resulting in the uplifting of my well being.  Our lives can be so much more of what we make of it, simply with a certain understanding. "The Tao te Ching" holds the knowledge for such an understanding. My hope in any of this, is that the viewer will experience such fulfillment, such uplifting that is always available to all of us. Thank you. "Homage to Lao Tzu", 12"x16", watersoluble oil on wood, 2013

(Akira Beard) akira beard art https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/4/a-little-bit-about-the-process-of-paintig-lao-tzu-the-process-in-general Tue, 16 Apr 2013 19:55:31 GMT
homage to Lao Tzu https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/4/homage-to-lao-tzu "Homage to Lao Tzu", 12"x16", watersoluble oil on wood, 2013 Bring the mind home. Back to its primordial state. Where it once experienced life in its constant unfolding. Moment by moment. Openly, non-judgmentally. Life was mysterious in this place. There was no unwarranted fear, rather fearlessness… in the non-aggressive sense. Gentleness, stillness. To see the sun for the first time. Do you recall? How open the mind, the heart was at one time. How we existed in the spaciousness of the present at one time. Deeply rooted in true reality, free from suffering. Excited and joyful. Not yet attached to an intellect that would have us drift ever so far from here eventually. This place paradoxically, we come to spend our adult live trying to re-create outside of ourselves, only to find ourselves caught in a circle of exhaustingly fleeting happiness and suffering. We get lost in the exchanging of identities, building new ones when old ones are dissolved. Looking for happiness in titles, relationships, careers, objects, etc. And by the end, still having no idea who we really are. There are two positions to the mind, inner and outer. The bleak experience described is the outer position. It is looking for happiness outside of one's self. It is the root of all of our suffering, because isn't it from the mind that all happiness and suffering exists? The outer position gives birth to desire, and we live in a distortion of reality where we attach to the manifestation of these desires. But without an understanding of the inner position, one is headed for disaster. For to understand the inner position is to understand the true nature of mind. And to understand this is to understand one's relationship with all things outside of one's self. The universe. It is to understand the root of all our happiness, all our suffering. It is to understand the true nature of reality itself. Enlightenment. It is the knowledge behind the learned knowledge. For to understand the true nature, one experiences the world as it is, and lives fully in it. Harmoniously. Body, mind, nature, the universe… all in alignment with one another. One only need go to nature itself to see this interdependent relationship existing among all things as one. The weather, the trees, animals, insects, etc. One can see the constancy of things manifesting, others things withdrawing. And from here we can see our lives reflected in this nature. And yet somehow we live thru the conception that we are an acceptation to any of this. That we are separate. And we build our cocoons living outside of all things. Unhappy, confused in our hearts. Anything that goes against nature will be destroyed. If one is questioning the reality of any moment, controlling, manipulating, acting with aggression towards it. One is experiencing an opinion of it. To fundamentally experience anything, one need simply to empty one's self. Of concepts, ideas, desire, etc. Behind this lay the unaltered state of being, the state from which we all came into the world. Where life was experienced unconditionally, not categorizing the moment as good so as to be invited, or bad as to be avoided. We existed from the source of all things. From the source from which all things come from, and all things return to. The mysteries, and the manifestations. And it is unfortunate as adults how we grow to fear this space. Its unpredictable, spontaneous, empty, vast nature. Vast like space itself with its infinite black sky holding galaxies, planets, and stars. We close our minds, our hearts and live in forgetfulness. Not even aware of the vastness of the blue sky above our heads. We build walls and a roof to contain ourselves and call this home our reality. And we are threatened by anything that knocks on the door uninvited. But nature is constancy and in the nature of this impermanence will the roof of our mind be blown off, the walls destroyed time and time again. And in this reoccurring transition, does the opportunity present itself to leave home and go within. To return to the source. To our primordial nature where there is no confusion, only contentment. Our deepest treasure. To that state where we shined bright like the radiant sun casting our glow on the earth itself. Walked tall and erect like the mountains. Took flight and flew in the infinite sky like the lightest bird, lived in harmony with the universe like a tree growing from a seed with its roots planted deep in the rich soft soil of the earth. Nurtured by rays of light and drops of rain absorbed in our leaves, not afraid of the insects and animals that found a home in our nature. And even when strong winds blew swaying us unexpectedly and breaking our branches, we experienced the pain willingly yet not attached to it. We cried, but didn't hold onto the tears. We experienced life for all that it offered second by second. Life itself was the miracle, and the greatest give simply to live in it. And though the dark clouds of ignorance had taken form, one need only to look deeply to re-discover what once was there, has always been there, will always be there. Before we had existed, and even when we are no longer here. It is the eternal source of all things… some call it the Tao.

(Akira Beard) akira beard art portrait https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/4/homage-to-lao-tzu Tue, 16 Apr 2013 19:25:35 GMT
reflection on death as the mirror to life.... https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/4/reflection-on-death-as-the-mirror-to-life reflection on death, water-soluble oil on wood, 12"x12", 2013 a piece created for an upcoming group show at Gauntlet Gallery in San Francisco where the theme is "visions and reflections". I've been interested in understanding the deeper essence of life. Reflecting on death is a great place to start. Anyone familiar with Sogyal Rinpoche's book "the Tibetan Book of Living and Dying" will recognize the influence... I wrote much more text outside the piece, but the following is what is in the piece itself. And for more info and to see other artists work in the show, please visit gauntletgallery.com. enjoy

"reflection on death... looking into the nature of death, is not without looking into the nature of life itself. The 2 are inseparable. And so to have any understanding of life, it is necessary to look into death. In this sense, death is the mirror to life. The dance of life and death is one of impermanence that is the nature of all that we experience."

and the following was the rest of the writing which I chose to leave out of the piece... "all that we give birth to in whatever form, relationship that may be, will surely at some point be lost. If one only look into all things in the universe, one will see this without exception. The constancy of life. And how we always try to build lives of security that are void of impermanence. We want that which we deem important in our lives, that which we attach to, to last forever. And how we suffer at their end in the inevitable cycle of birth and death. How we deny death when it occurs, developing a practice of denial so as to not experience the discomfort, the pain that comes with death. And so we never truly heal, and begin to live in fear, more and more afraid to experience anything fully, openly for we don't want to experience the re-occurying pain that is part of being human. We drift further away from our primordial nature. The nature of our mind, our heart that was initially in harmony with all things before we developed mental concepts that rationalize reality. We find happiness  in these concepts, that are merely perceptions of reality but not reality itself, and how we are confused and hurt when death removes them. The structures we that created our identity around disappear. And maybe thats why we are so afraid of death. Because in its nature, death presents us to our true selves, unfiltered. And when this happens, do we have any idea of who we really are? And so it is here that one person 'moves forward' building a new rationalized conception of reality, leaving from the past, trying to find a new happiness. But this only continues the pattern of suffering. To leave this cycle is not to constantly create new realities separate from true reality, but to live in reality itself. And the irony is that it is here that one will find that which we live our lives for. To live a life of contentment, inner peace with not confusion in harmony with the universe, free from suffering. Reality is impermanent, so to live here, to experience it fully is to experience the beginning and the end of all things without clinging to them, trying to manipulate or control them. We call the end 'bad', and the beginning 'good', and try as we will to avoid the 'bad' and invite the 'good'. This is the ignorance of our suffering. This is a distortion of reality. Reality is simple. It is here, it is now. It is constant. It includes life, it includes death. Both are human, both are natural. To exist in suffering as the result of disallowing there interdependent relationship is not. So let us have a relationship with death, so that we can have a relationship with life. And ultimately, live this life so as to be prepared when we are at the end and can rest in peace, content with the final death having the understanding and having living a life without regret in the true meaning of the phrase. 

(Akira Beard) akira beard art gauntlet gallery portrait https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/4/reflection-on-death-as-the-mirror-to-life Fri, 05 Apr 2013 21:10:48 GMT
spiritual headpiece... https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/4/spiritual-headpiece This piece was created for an upcoming group show at ModernEden Gallery in April. The reception is April 13th, and more info can be found at moderneden.com. In the continuation of exploring the concept of 'Nature' in my ongoing body of work "Self, Culture, Nature", so much of the focus of the process of experimentation and discovery has led me to the nature of mind. The whole point of working with the idea of "nature", began with simply trying to understanding who we are. Our commonality despite culture, race, gender, etc. And in working with the previous concept of "culture", which has been the bulk of my work for the last number of years, it is fascinating to see the relationship between the two. In exploring culture, my conclusion was one of emptiness and suffering as being the convention as the result of ignorance. And now with Nature, I am seeing it as the missing content of our lives in filling that emptiness. Please enjoy this recent expression and thank you for visiting...

The highest achievement being one of a spiritual nature. To understand the truest nature of our mind, opening our eyes to the true reality of life itself. This is the knowledge behind the knowledge. Not the outer appearance of anything, but the inner experience of them. The awareness that lies behind the ego. And from the awareness of one's true nature, a quality of fearlessness exists. For things are experienced in there constancy in the nowness, not first conceived then acted or not acted upon. There is a harmony in this manner, where one is fully absorbed in all that is occurring. All things are experienced willingly. There is no 'good', there is no 'bad'. Even in difficult circumstance, it is experienced as an opportunity to further awaken to ones deeper nature. This is living fully, with openness, with vulnerability, with faith that it is all okay.  To be in alignment with this understanding, is to be in alignment with the world itself. For all things in nature exist in this fashion. All things take form from birth,  exist for a period, and return to a formless state (death) inevitably. To not have this understanding in all things, leads to confusion and ultimately suffering. Without this understanding, one is made vulnerable to the multitude of relationships that constantly manifest and throw us into this dance of birth and death.  And to deny this process in its completion, is to deny life itself. For only to experience the 'good' willingly, is to experience a half life. For all life experience contains both. And so in this way, all that one acquires whether a relationship, family, material wealth and so on, can be experienced fully, and healthy for patterns of manipulation, control, fear, etc that rob one the opportunity to be deeply present in their experience with all things outside themselves are overcome to allow a wholesome experience, only after relating to the universe from the source of our primordial mind, heart. The foundation for a life of contentment, happiness that we all live our lives in effort for obtaining on small and larger scales is manifested from the inside, out. "Spiritual Headpiece", 8.5"x11", watercolor on Yupo paper, 2013

(Akira Beard) akira beard art portrait yupo https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/4/spiritual-headpiece Mon, 01 Apr 2013 18:46:55 GMT
apprecation of life reflection/expression... https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/3/apprecation-of-life-reflection/expression Imagined figure with reflection on appreciating life for the miracle that it is... enjoy.

'with these eyes do I see the infinite colors, forms, tiniest details of the world, With these ears do I hear the sounds of stillness and harmony of calm nature. With this mouth do I breathe in life from the air of the blue sky. With this skin do I feel the warmth of the sun. With these hands do I feel the intimacy of all things. With these feet do I feel the stability of the soft earth holding me up. With this nose do I experience the existence of flowers. With this heart do I feel the deep experience of the constancy of the universe.

         Life when lived from being present with one's true nature is experienced fully for the miracle that it is. And the miracle behind the miracle is one need not go further than/outside of one's self to achieve this. Fundementally, is there any higher achievement...appreciation of life reflection, 5.5"x8.5", pen on paper, 2013


(Akira Beard) akira beard art drawing sketch https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/3/apprecation-of-life-reflection/expression Mon, 25 Mar 2013 06:37:10 GMT
drawing from life... https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/3/drawing-from-life Though I don't do it often, in regards to art my favorite practice these days is drawing my elder students from life. This has become an intimate practice of shared presence in a metaphysical nature. There are few words spoken, if any, but there is a dialogue occuring thru the process of drawing itself. It is an experience of being completely with another in a deeply appreciate way. I look/feel intensely the shapes, colors, anatomy, details, mannerisms of the elder as I draw. I experience beauty deeply in this way. It is deeper than the cultural convention of beauty that nurtures ideas of flawless skin, youth, slim and muscular figures, and so on. And having developed a relationship often with my elder friends over the years, my mind plays the stories while i'm lost in observation and drawing, of the histories they have shared with me of their lives. And I can't help but reflect in the presece of lives lived, close to the end... reflect on death, and my own mortality. And this is a wonderful thing, for I leave the class and walk on the street evermore mindful and present to life's impermanent nature, and am appreciative for life itself. We have the potential to create the lives we want, and in this way with drawing it has been made a meaningful experience in relationship to life itself for me. I am ever so grateful to have the opportunity to be involved in such a practice, for even if temporary, it is one of re-occuruing contentment. And I hope that others discover such gems in their lives, for how the shape of the world would transform into a more organic, colorful one. 

    And here is this morning's life drawing that inspired this reflection. Thank you Alex. You're an inspiration!alex sketch II, 8.5"x11", colorpencil on paper, 2013

(Akira Beard) akira beard art drawing portrait https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/3/drawing-from-life Sat, 23 Mar 2013 20:30:35 GMT
flesh and spirit... https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/3/flesh-and-spirit flesh and spirit, goauche on paper, 5.5"x8.5", 2013 For an upcoming show with Spoke Art Gallery based in SanFrancisco/Oakland, though the show will be in NY. The theme is for artists to work with the films of Martin Scorcese. My inspiration was the film "The Last Temptation of Christ". Though not a Christian, I've always been fascinated by the story of Jesus Christ. The story of the film is not a direct adaptation from the bible. Its loosely based and takes from creating an artistic expression of its own. I took from the theme of Jesus being a man of flesh and existing in that world with all of its experiences, yet hearing the voice of 'God' within, that has him drawn between the world of flesh,ego and spirit. It creates much conflict in his being and ultimately his confusion, doubt of the voice becomes one of uncompromised devotion. So the following text as written in the piece is my own storytelling as the result of re-visiting the film recently. enjoy...

"Our conflict is one of flesh and spirit. The flesh is a box that we build ourselves in, filling it in a constant pursuit of happiness.  Anything that stimulates, satisfies our desires of pleasure, any material that maintains our egos. But how we realize early on that the box is bottomless, and therefore empty in its nature. Nothing ever holds, so we are never content. And this makes us  so vulnerable. And from this we become afraid so our openness closes more with experience, for we know when we are happy that we will suffer eventually as the result of impermanence. So we live half willingly. Despite this we find it difficult, even impossible to break these patterns for we are weak in the temptations of the flesh and live in a world where temptation follows us like our own shadows, and this has us drift ever so further from our spirit nature. But  in this cycle of suffering, there is that space that exists as a whisper that is a relief from the negative thoughts/emotions rising from the pain..  There is that voice within, inviting you within. And if you listen, this whisper will tell you that you are more than your thoughts, your emotions. That you are something deeper. And that reality is more than a cycle of desire, pleasure, happiness, suffering that comes with the flesh. Listen deeply… can you hear it? (it's the spirit)"

(Akira Beard) Jesus akira beard art portrait https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/3/flesh-and-spirit Thu, 21 Mar 2013 17:41:20 GMT
imagining Greg.... https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/3/imagining-greg  

One of my practices with art is to discover how I can use it as a form of giving to the world. I will explain why so in another writing, but for this one I wanted to focus on an example. In giving, there is the practice of giving to the bigger world, and the smaller  which is more to my personal world. So in the case of the latter, the intent of this morning's imagined headpiece is for my friend Greg. You had a challenging weekend. Life is not without constant challenge, especially when you lay your head on pillow for rest. So know that you were/are in my thoughts and this is a simple act of gratitude/acknowlegdement to show my appreciation. We often go to the theatre or a concert to be part of talent, inspiration that is beyond our grasp. But if we remove the celebrity conditioning, we may discover that such inspirational talent is closer than we think. Sometimes it is found in the shadows of integrity. My eyes are wide open my friend, and I find this in you. Your life is one that holds interest to me like watching a hollywood documentary, and your virtuoso heartfelt expression thru music moves me. It has been a joy getting to know you. So thank you for the invite of your shared presence. It is one that has me left with deep inspiration.  Everytime.

(Akira Beard) Gregory Longfellow akira beard art drawing portrait https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/3/imagining-greg Tue, 19 Mar 2013 20:44:28 GMT
imagined headpiece with reflection.... https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/3/imagined-headpiece-with-reflection Much of the recent work that I have been posting, on the blog/website, Facebook is for an upcoming solo show in June at Emerald Tablet Gallery in San Francisco. I am calling it "The Life Show". As common practice which some of you may know already, some of the original pieces will be free that are in the exhibit such as this one posted. I will be post more details closer to the date.


The text which is written in the piece... How unfortunate how we treat the present moment as if it were a hinderance. Always concerned with getting to somewhere, or with obtaining the next best thing. How we miss out. On the experience of our lives. Unawake to the miracle of reality that is breathing all around us. And the irony is that the happiness, the heart of happiness-contentment, that we search for constantly is found there. In nowness. With nowness there is only experience. Being. Free from the stories of the mind. Its projections. Its negative thoughts, emotions. There is stillness. Harmony with all things. Confidence. Contentment. Its very ironic. But how fortunate that its always there. Eternal. Its accessible anytime, anywhere. And how it all changes when accessed. Its like waking from a dream into a world of miracle, mystery with the passion of a child seeing the jungle gym for the first time. One enters a world to explore, experience. There is nothing but possibilities. And one is open to it all. One is alive. One is living. headpiece 29, goauche on paper, 9"x12", 2013

(Akira Beard) akira beard art portrait watercolor https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/3/imagined-headpiece-with-reflection Mon, 18 Mar 2013 19:00:51 GMT
art as a guide to living... https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/3/art-as-a-guide-to-living Some practicioners of 'art' draw a line between the lives they live, and the art they create. Others don't. In regards to the latter, I've always liked Nietzsche's view that a person's greatest work of art is their life. I like to create from that space of a life lived (whatever that may mean), and use art to express it. But there is the opposite idea where I experience things in the art, sometimes intentionally other times discovered in the after process where I think it would be of benefit to apply to life. An example is in the imagined headpiece series, where pictured is the most recent example. The intent is one of liberation. To have faith in the nowness, to trust the mind itself that it will create something from nothing spontaneously with a satisfactory result. I never know where these will go, and sometimes it is a fullfilling experience of effortless form created from nothingness, other times the ego controls, forces, making the result in the process the priority. The latter usually ends up in the trash, and even if the result looks good, the process to make it is never in the realm of joy of that with the former where one experiences that feeling of 'flow'.  But as shown in the posted picture, when the surrender occurs, and those happy accidents with a balance of controlled intent blend together, it is magical. It is a winning combination of feel good blissful process, with a satisfactory result. Contentment. And with the discipline of this practice, perhaps it can be more consistent where it becomes flowingly natural to create in such a way. And from there, perhaps it can make the transition to  life outside of the canvas, in the actual universe the same way. To have confidence in the reality of nowness, to commit and be involved solely in the present moment of any situation, with anyone or no one, and to trust in the nature of myself to create spontaneously and live life effortlessly, and experiencing contentment in the outcome.headpiece 28, goauche on paper, 9"x12", 2013

(Akira Beard) akira beard art portrait https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/3/art-as-a-guide-to-living Sun, 17 Mar 2013 01:31:29 GMT
homage to Sogyal Rinpoche https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/3/homage-to-sogyal-rinpoche homage to Sogyal Rinpoche, watercolor/ink on paper, 5.5"x 8.5", 2013 "Perhaps the deepest reason why we are afraid of death is because we do not know who we are. We believe in a personal, unique, and separate identity — but if we dare to examine it, we find that this identity depends entirely on an endless collection of things to prop it up: our name, our "biography," our partners, family, home, job, friends, credit cards… It is on their fragile and transient support that we rely for our security. So when they are all taken away, will we have any idea of who we really are?

Without our familiar props, we are faced with just ourselves, a person we do not know, an unnerving stranger with whom we have been living all the time but we never really wanted to meet. Isn't that why we have tried to fill every moment of time with noise and activity, however boring or trivial, to ensure that we are never left in silence with this stranger on our own?”
Sogyal Rinpoche, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying

(Akira Beard) akira beard art love portrait sogyal rinpoche watercolor https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/3/homage-to-sogyal-rinpoche Tue, 12 Mar 2013 18:02:52 GMT
homage to friendship https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/3/homage-to-friendship homage to friendship, watercolor on paper, 8.5"x 5.5", 2013 Paying heed to friendship. Being social animals as a quality of our nature as stated by Aristotle, we go thru life accumulating a vastness of relationships. Some are meaningless and dissipate early on, others develop into unbreakable bonds. And like other meaningful aspects of our lives, is it important to reflect on the nature of our relationships with others. In doing so, we may come to find confusion in a rational sense as to why we allow some of these to exist. And as with any reflection, the deeper one goes the more uncomfortable the experience. And in my own reflection, it has led me to realize that my relationship with others that existed, exist, and I desire are manifestations from  the relationship that I have with myself. I begin to see the patterns, and in seeing them come to break them. This is confronting deception within one's self. I have had relationships where I allowed others to manipulate, use, control, deceive, even betray myself. And in my humility, I openly admit that I have been guilty of the same in my relation with others. And with this empathy, I have come not to judge others when treated in this fashion, for I was once he/she. So going within, and developing deep love, compassion for myself more and more, this becomes the priority of any/all relationships that I seek with anyone, and it is my highest gift that I offer just the same. And this testament is one of gratitude for those that have stuck with me, though I may have caused them suffering thru my ignorance at various times thru the years before arriving to that point of awareness. Yours is an expression of genuine love, compassion, friendship. My deepest acknowledgment, gratitude and my offering is one in the same. Thank you, friend.  Love

(Akira Beard) Christopher Jernberg akira beard art drawing portrait watercolor https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/3/homage-to-friendship Sun, 10 Mar 2013 19:55:34 GMT
eternal.... https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/3/eternal This piece was created for an upcoming show related to Tarot Cards where each artist was to choose a card and create something from it. Mine was the Nine of Wands, which (from my recent research) has to do with a transitional period of leaving the past with wounds, and being in a space in that  how it is dealt with will determine the future. I could be way off with this interpretation but that was mine. And who is really keeping score. Right? So the following are the words scribed in the painting. If interested to see the show itself, it will be at Modern Eden Gallery in San Francisco with the reception being on March 16th. More details at moderneden.com.

The pain experienced at the end of happiness, will either be an experience that has one begin to drift away from his/her true nature, or will bring him/her that much closer to it. In the pursuit of happiness always giving rise to the manifestation of our desires, do we find happiness and attach to its forms. But in nature's law of constancy where all things change, we tend to suffer at the loss of that which we have attained. This is the experience of birth and death in life itself, in all our relationships with all things to which we place value, attachment. And in the desire to want to feel comfortable, happy do we deny the discomfort, the pain of loss. And this is the reoccurring opportunity of our lives where we can discover the reality of the world more and more, discover our true nature deeper.  Awareness. With awareness we see the wholeness of life as it truly is. That birth, death are one in the same. That neither is good, nor bad and in discovering the nature of the mind, recognize these mis-perceptions that distort reality. Denial. And in this space after death, before being re-born into the next manifestation of desire, is it  crucial to yield to the pain and remain in this space until conditions are sufficient to leave which is when one is healed. For if not, the pain is repressed into a seed which is planted in the re-birth and blossoms in the next manifestation of desire in the form of suffering and the pursuit of happiness begins to transform from not seeking to be happy for its sake, rather to escape the discomfort of suffering that begins to accumulate. Life becomes a projection from which we get lost and confused in.  But when one surrenders to the pain, experiences it just as openly and naturally as one did so with its sibling of joy, happiness does one heal. And when the healing is complete, the conditions allow one to re-enter life in a healthy, wholesome, evolved manner. This is compassion, love at its roots. Love beginning with one's self. And with this, the seeds of happiness blossom wildly in the next birth. And in the completion of this process, with a deeper awareness of the true reality of life, of our true nature does happiness transform into contentment. For in the expansion of this consciousness, does one find the treasure that is not outside of ourselves, rather within. That which is eternal.  eternal, gouache/colored pencil on paper, 11"14", 2013

(Akira Beard) akira beard art love https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/3/eternal Fri, 08 Mar 2013 21:27:01 GMT
homage to Thich Naht Hanh https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/3/homage-to-thich-naht-hanh homage to Thich Nhat Hanh, goauche on paper, 8.5"x5.5", 2013 Liberation and enlightenment do not exist outside of your own self.
We need only open our eyes to see that we ourselves are the very
essence of liberation and enlightenment.  All dharmas, all beings,
contain the nature of full enlightenment within themselves.  Don't look
for it outside yourself.  If you shine the light of awareness on your
own self, you will realize enlightenment immediately.- Thich Naht Hahn

Thank you Thich for all that you have done, and continue to do. Your life is such a gift to the world.

(Akira Beard) akira beard art drawing portrait thich naht hanh https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/3/homage-to-thich-naht-hanh Sun, 03 Mar 2013 00:06:34 GMT
filial piety https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/2/teachers-of-empathy  art elder sketch, 9"x12", pencil on paper, 2013 A short story of one. I was surprised to come to my Art With Elders Class today and be joined by Mr. X. I am always mildly encouraging him to participate, for he hangs around the class and gives praise but always responds with self doubt. "oh, I can't do that", "i'm too old", etc. Though I like to think I'm not aggressive, he would begin only to show up when class was over. I had lost any hope in him participating, though he seemed more curious than anything. And so too my surprise, he would sit at the table last week and ask 'what should we draw?". X is in his early eighties, and focuses on either his health or finances whenever I greet him with social courtesy of 'how are you?'. His answers are always unfortunately negative, and more unfortunately this is the reality of his circumstances. And so the beauty of the situation is watching him suddenly so deeply focused and involved in trying to get the shape of the head he is drawing correct, that nothing else matters. Nothing exists other than solving drawing problems, and attaining results that show accomplishment. When we start to put the features of the face in, he is so surprised in himself that he wants to stop the drawing where its at, though it is still in the beginning stages. He is suddenly proud of his reality. This is coming from someone who tells me that he was a retired salesman that is no longer of any use/value to the world. The nurses comment on his wonderful endeavor as well, and he asks if he can take the drawing to his room to work on it some more when class is over. Today, a week later, he is the first sitting at the table with pencil in hand. I witness this experience time and time again in the program, and it never gets old. The Buddha said 'what you focus on becomes your experience'. It is awesome how people living in circumstances where they are near the end, existing in circumstances centered around the bodies decline can still smile and experience happiness. Mr.X and others are breathing examples of the Buddhas words, and are teachers in this way for example, of the power of the mind and how in its nature, can always be transformed. I can never think you enough elder friends. You are the teachers of filial piety, for you are further down the path and there is always much to be learned from your experience.

(Akira Beard) akira beard art drawing sketch https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/2/teachers-of-empathy Tue, 26 Feb 2013 03:34:54 GMT
thank you artists... https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/2/thank-you-artists Thank you artists.. for adding to the world. For creating and re-creating worlds. For making this place colorful. Thank you for challenging convention. For living lives of integrity, not falling to compromise. Thank you for the sounds that transport us instantly to a world of our desire. Thank you for inspiring, for showing a way. Thank you for expressing the various aspects of being human. Whether its emotions, ideas, concepts, spirituality. Thank you for the expressions that many of us take for granted distracted from our nature and life itself in the obligations of reality that we commit to. Thank you for showing there is more to life than the banality of cultural convention. Thank you for the intensity. For challenging our comfort. Thank you for the films, the paintings, sculptures, photographs, fashions, architectures, music, and on and on. All mediums. Born in the creative mind as an abstraction, and delivered into the world in which we exist, made experiencial for all. From formless to form, and absorbed in the participants being. The gift is a metaphysical one that has the power to transform another in the deepest way. Thank you artists, for the shamanistic gift. Thank you for being preservers of history beginning from our earliest primitive state. Thank you artists for challenging the nature of this history and re-writing it. For breaking the dogma. For allowing all to partake in the creative, expressive nature of our humanity. Thank you to art... for surving till this day as that practice that stands in the face of cultural oppressive structures whether blatant or subtle,  being the individuals ultimate expression of liberation. And I feel this is the greatest example of art. A life lived to this potential, even if only for a period of time. Many of us are fortunate to truly create the lives that we wish to live as a result of the liberties that we have been born into, or have adopted. But how many of us actually do so? Art has the potential to be the direct expression of this. And for this, I am most grateful. Thank you to art. Thank you artists.  Francis Bacon, 9"x 12", watersoluble oil paint on paper, 2011

(Akira Beard) Francis Bacon akira beard art portrait https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/2/thank-you-artists Sat, 16 Feb 2013 02:57:42 GMT
the duality of idea and reality https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/2/the-duality-of-idea-and-reality The following is a sketch from time spent with Alex, a student in my art with elders class. He is tough to capture, for he is constantly in a sleeping to wake state. Always moving. So the drawing is Alex made while he is dreaming, and the writing is from our talks in awakened spaces. Alex and I have a commonality. We both were in love with a Helen. He talks about her from time to time, sometimes joyful memories other times more mundane expressions such as 'she was always trying to tell me what to do'. Despite the memory, he always ends with a laugh and a smile. He enjoys reflecting, and I enjoy listening. It triggers my own thoughts with my Helen experience of one time, and sometimes I get the two confused. Its as if Alex is describing my experiences. Interestingly, Alex has the condition of Alzheimers. You see his Helen is still married to him, and visits time to time. She is lovely just as he describes her. But he is unaware that they are still together, and she is alive and well. He thinks the opposite. In his smile acting as a period at the end of a sentence, I sense her nature rests in his heart, and it brings joy to him to share it. It is a valid testimony to his deep love for her. My Helen of one time and I, have separated physically from one another. The conditions were not aligned, so like a flower growing from the mud, the timing of the seasons were not in harmony to produce a full blooming tree. But like Alex, I recognize the truest nature of the person that made themselves vulnerable to me for that period of time, and I to her, and there is a place for her to rest in my heart where I too can go back and reflect with not results of sadness, longing but with smiles and laughs. Paraphrasing the spiritual teacher Thich Nhat Hanh, he describes a person seeing a beautiful cloud in the sky, and feels sad when it is no longer there. But don't be sad, for the true nature of a cloud is always there, it only changes form. It may turn to rain, to hale, to snow. Despite its form, its true nature is always there. Alex triggers the beauty of these reflections everytime. thanks buddy.alex sketch, 8.5"x 11", color pencil on paper, 2013

(Akira Beard) akira beard art portrait https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/2/the-duality-of-idea-and-reality Sat, 09 Feb 2013 23:23:58 GMT
taking the leap https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/2/taking-the-leap the beauty of self reflection. For so long I was terrified to look back on my life deeply, not reflecting on missed wonderful memories. Rather the whole, the painful ignorance that I existed in time and time again. It is only after I began to live, that I would see my life, and the world from a higher place and not only achieve acceptance, but appreciate the then and now that much more. This reflection came from waking up from a mild nightmare. I've been here before, and in the past I would shake it off, not acknowledge and go thru the day drainded. Repressing the experience. Today, i did the opposite, and the though uncomfortable in the process of it, I feel healed and energetic to start the day. This is the reflection...

Give it a space. The negative thoughts, emotions that arise and cause one discomfort. Do not resist, do not deny yourself this experience. When it rises, let it go thru you. It will wrestle you to the point that you begin to feel it physically. But know this discomfort is temporary. It will pass. Its nature is that of a wild animal that is acting out. So tame it, create a vast space for it to graze and it will settle down. And the restlessness will become stillness. It will be satisfied and go about on its way. Do not provoke, do not fight, do not deny. For then it will transform into your worst enemy. Repression and aggression. It will hide, only to reappear running amock in chaos. It will go deeper into the hidden self, and it will find others that have been treated in the same manner. The cattle has now become a herd. This is a lethal pattern that drifts one away from one's truest nature, more and more. Deeper and deeper. The person becomes nothing more than the avoidance they practice. The avoidance of themselves, covered in layers of external material endeavors and acquirements. And when these layers are removed, whether its a title, a membership, a relationship, etc. the person finds themselves at that beginnng point of this reflection. In a place of pain, but with opportunity.  Opportunity to find understanding and harmony with that part of themselves that seems so frightening in concept. This is the leap. And when taking the leap, one sees that it wasn't so difficult. But its the thinking of doing so the brings confusion. Its like building one's dreamhouse on quicksand. Fertilize the land with rich soil at the roots first, then build the house in one's image. The roots into the earth are love and compassion for one's self. The compassion is the result of awareness, recognition of one's true nature. This recognition is having an understanding of the mind. Understanding the mind to live with it, not be lived by it. This is our ultimate responsibility to ourselves. This is our highest achievement. For when, if one achieves anything outside of this, but exists in a state where they are lived by their mind, how can one say with clarity that they achieved anything at all?  As the saying from the bible says, what good is the man that gains the world but loses his soul? External, material endeavors/achievement before internal, spiritual ones. The cart before the horse. This unfortunately is the seemingly convention, the state of culture that many of us exist in. But it is always in our power, to take responsibility for ourselves and truly live a life of actual happiness, inner contentment, true liberation and autonomy. To live our lives, not be lived by them.self portrait 12, charcoal/white chalk on toned paper, (2003)

(Akira Beard) akira beard art drawing portrait https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/2/taking-the-leap Thu, 07 Feb 2013 18:18:51 GMT
surrealism https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/2/surrealism A shared story of presentness. Over this past weekend, I was honored to participate in the Red Bull Curates San Francisco Canvas Cooler event. Alongside a number of other selected artists (Carly Ivan Garcia • ErikOtto • Apex • Studio DCL • Ian Ross • CHOR BOOGIE • Eon75 • Hugh Leeman • Zio Ziegler • Kelly Allen • N8 Van Dyke • D Young V • Jet Martinez • Ryan De La Hoz • Slvstr© • Oliver Black • Tommy Noshitsky • Joshua Clements • jdkjdk), the project was for us to gather at a designated space where Red Bull cooler boxes were wrapped in blank canvas, and each artist was to create to their own desire. I heard this story of Allen Ginsberg recently where he was talking to a Tibetan Monk/Rinpoche and the two were discussing their itineraries where they had been giving various lectures thru out an extended period of time. Ginsberg complained ' don't you get tired running around', where the monk replied' thats because you don't like your poetry', where Ginsberg replied' ehh. What do you know about my poetry?'. The Monk's response, "well why don't you do like the greek poets of old... why don't you get up onstage and compose out of tongue, why do you need a paper. Don't you trust your own mind?". This inspired me to explore this approach with my cooler. No map, no prep work. I went into the event having no idea of what I was going to do. Paints, brushes packed, I would put on my ipod listening to a lecture by Sogyal Rinpoche giving a lecture on happiness. In it he said 'Samsara is the mind turned outward, lost in its own projections... Nirvana is the mind turned inwards, recognizing its nature". Less than a hundred footsteps before I walked in the doors of Public Works, the venue, this was to be the concept decided from which to create. I would express thru my imagined heads, using color and gesture to express the feelings of Nirvana/Samsara, and would finish by adding text of the mentioned definitions of each. Nearly finished at the end of the day, I would look at what my comrades were doing, and a fellow artist asked me 'how do you think they judge the competition?'. I said 'what competition?'. And he explained that 2 winners are chosen (judges choice and peoples choice) to be flown at shown at Art Scope in Miami at Art Basel. I said, 'oh, wow. I had no idea'. And he asked why was I there, which I replied "to make art". And please don't mistake this as arrogance, for ironically I would win Judges choice at the reception which followed a few days later for which I am grateful for, and which came shockingly unexpected. Rather, the nature of my mind, I tend to focus on things deeply and forget, or don't recognize other related aspects. This is an example. I was excited to participate, and the focus became predominantly of how I most wanted to approach it. Especially with art, the art itself is given the mindfulness, the integrity, the heart, the soul. All else, tends to lose focus in the background. In this case the background came into focus in the most beautiful way. So thank you. Thank you to Billy Franchey and Julie Zener at Artsfund for the orginization, work, and support. Thank you to friends and fellowartists that participated. Some new friends were made as a result of the event. Thank you Red Bull for the opportunity. And thank you to all that made it to the event that showed love and had a fun time.

(Akira Beard) akira beard art https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/2/surrealism Fri, 01 Feb 2013 16:06:35 GMT
developing the language... https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/1/developing-the-language self portrait 13, charcoal on newsprint paper, (2003) I have always been a sensitive person that internalizes constant experience as far as I can remember developing first signs of consciousness. Like Carl Jung's idea that we are born as blank slates and thru development accumulate writing on that slate over the years, I was very aware of these writings, and in my late teens I would begin to naturally express these experiences thru drawing. Drawing came so natural to me like breathing. I have been doing it before learning to write the alphabet. I would find myself in art school in my early twenties, and here I would become aware of the world of the technical side of drawing and painting. Prior to, I had always learned on my own. Like many other american males, I first learned from copying comic books. In school, being introduced to great masters such as Michelangelo, Rembrandt, etc. as well as seeing student/classmate work that was very well developed technically, I would begin to see the limitations of my technical abilities. This limitation was seen to me, as a limitation in expressing that which I truly want to express within. My insight, thoughts, feelings, and so on. So I put all that aside, abandoning expression and focusing purely on technique. Here again, I was fortunate to come across another Mentor, Henry Yan. He took me under his wing. I would take a figure drawing class with him, and he dismissed myself from doing the homework that the rest of the class was doing. My assignment was simply to draw from life, 24-7. And I did. I am so fortunate to have someone so knowledgeable and experienced open their heart to me. Thank you Henry. He put me on a path to really focus on basics of seeing, analyzing, understanding, and translating, not worrying about anything else. I would dedicate around 3 years to this, and it was hard. But it payed off. Getting closer to graduation, classmates were working on portfolios, going to workshops making finished paintings. I would still bring newsprint and charcoal, spending 3 hours on measuring, blocking in proportion not concerned with finishing anything. And in my senior year, I would go back to applying the technical discipline I had learned, with the concepts I wanted to express. My ability to say what I wanted to say it, had tremendously developed. It was a liberation feeling of autonomy as the result of delaying gratification. I set a goal to be an executioner of form follows function, and I achieved it. This isn't to say that it was all solved in that time of schooling period. Even post graduate, and even now I go back to basics working on there development. But I feel confident to say I can say what I want to say, visually, free from the dependence of style.

      The posted examples are (1) a self portrait that I did in the stages of this foundation development. It was done from a mirror in the apartment where I was living at the time, really trying to develop my hand, eye, mind. This is a 'structure drawing', where I was spending hours trying to buid a 3-d translation only using line. I am not concerned with the politics of working from life/photographs, but I feel working from life (in drawing) is a crucial practice for you really spend time with an object in a three dimensional space. It is an experience that not only develops keen observation, but awareness that can transcend drawing itself. When I talk to anyone, it is become habit for me to really be present with them an look deep into their eyes, their being. I attribute this largely, from the discipline of years of life drawing. This is an example of how it has become a spiritual practice for myself. (2) In developing the technical foundation for drawing/painting, one sees that it can be broken down into few, and various concepts. Line, shape, color, etc. And from here, one can choose more and more not only what one wants to paint, but how to paint it. This is an orchid, painted from a photo in my art with elders class at some past time. (3) This was painted for my first show after school, where I began to explore the cultural expression of my 'self, culture, nature' project. This is one of the earlier examples where I was making the effort to bring my development of technical skill, with an execution of an idea together. I borrowed a 38 pistol from my friend Derek, and mounted it to the wall. I spent alot of time with it, appreciating its beauty and reflecting on aggression/violence in the process. The benefit that I found in doing more labor intensive work that demands time, was reflection in the process for the concept at hand. For this I was painting objects as symbols of contemporary Americana. This is also the beginning of my dollar bill series where I continued this same process, idea which I will discuss in another posting.

"orchid 1"- watercolor on paper (2009) "Agrression", oil on canvas

(Akira Beard) akira beard art drawing portrait https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/1/developing-the-language Tue, 29 Jan 2013 15:58:49 GMT
the self... https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/1/the-self self portrait 7, charcoal on newsprint paper, (2002)

In the process of working on my first book, a collection of artworks expressing a concept that began in 2002, I took several old self portraits that I had executed from early as 2001 to 2004. In this period I was working on the first stage (self) within the concept of 3 stages (self, culture, nature). The point of examining the self was to develop an understanding, relationship with the self. To go within, and truly awaken to myself, so as to understand the world outside of me and my relation to it. At the time I was in a magical place. I was in a relationship with a girl that was beautiful inside and out, loving me in the truest nature of the word and nothing but completely supportive in my life. I had just started art school, beginning the path of the rest of my life, taking that bold step doing what I wanted to do. For the first time in my education, I was obsessive with wanting to achieve and do the work. Meeting all types of artist friends, being introduced to art history, inspiring artists both living and dead... I had no worries other than developing my art.  But I was completely miserable. I was suffering, it was confusing, and my first mentor at this time, Christopher Jernberg would lead me to the solution. The examined life. Externaly, I was successful, but my relationship with all these things was disfunctional, because my mind was so. So for actual practice, it began with literature, the first book being Eckhart Tolle's ' The Power of Now". It sounds naieve to think back now, that it was the simple things that I had no conception of. Presence. When I read the book, I became so present, getting lost in all things around me. Whether it was a conversation with a stranger, or watching running water from a faucet, I was keenly present in appreciating the moment. And this would carry on into drawing. At school, poses were limited to 5-20 minutes, and the longest was 3 hours. I wanted longer, and what better way to develop awareness, presence, and drawing than thru self portraiture. So I went home, set up a light and mirror and confronted myself in the mirror for hours. I executed so many life self portraits in the period of 2001-2004, that I lost count and can't imagine the number of hours. It was an experience of really looking at myself, and having an internal dialogue. It was a wave of emotions where sometimes I loved this man, but there were times where I was really critical, and depressed from what I saw. But I kept at it. Besides literature, I would also begin journal writing. One exercise I would do, as introduced by the author Julia Goldman, was to begin the day by writing in a journal non-stop for 10 minutes. A mental constipation of sorts. It was difficult, for things would come out that were disturbing. But I worked up to it, and what I came to see was not that these thoughts were of honesty. But they were thoughts that were merely repressed, and I had finally given them a space to exist and be free. It felt good. I would then eventually began actual journal writings of inner reflections, and begin to write that. This would at a point begin to be incorporated into the life self portraits as well, and when years later doing cultural portraits, I would use the same practice for those expressions. When looking back, its a pleasure to see how far I've come. Yes, there is the initial feeling of embarrasement when looking at some of the early drawings. Reading some of the text, and the drawings themselves were in the earlier stages of developing technically. But that is ego, and the pleasure is that I have evolved, from self, in that way. That its okay. What is the threat, and why take it so seriously. I'm having more respect for all things, seeing the truer nature of them partly from this initial practice of knowledge of self. In this case, respecting that this was a time period of my life. For better, or for worse and to celebrate that. Especially since I am no longer in that place of suffering, that these drawings remind me of during the time. self portrait 8, charcoal on newsprint paper, (2002) self portrait 9, charcoal on newsprint paper, (2003)

self portrait 10, charcoal/graphite on paper, (2003)

(Akira Beard) akira beard art drawing portrait self portrait https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/1/the-self Tue, 29 Jan 2013 02:45:51 GMT
homage to my brother from another, Christopher Jernberg https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/1/homage-to-my-brother-from-another-christopher-jernberg    "Gift to a friend 2", ink on paper, 5.5"x 8.5", 2012 Deep in recent reflections of gratitude in past/present/future relationships is Christopher Jernberg. He is like family. Outside of physical lover, he has played every role, archetype in the unfolding of my life. Giving credit where credit is due, he was the deliverer of my development. People today find it hard to believe that I was once the prince of darkness. Hating self, hating all. But this is where the foundation for my empathy lay. For even those that abuse me, take me for granted, project their suffering, blame me for their pain, cause violence, judge, manipulate, and control... I have compassion for, for I was at one time guilty and ignorant of these crimes that I had caused to others in the past. This is the empathy. I deeply believe that all have the potential to recognize the beauty that lay hidden in ones inner, true nature no matter how far away from it he/she may seem. I was such that person. So thank you Christopher, for all the love, for all the years, and all the years to come. You are appreciated. Over and over... Here are the words in the artwork.... "Thank you Christopher. For the love, the guidance, the support, the comradery that you displayed unconditionally since the beginning. You led me to the source and I surrendered drinking from it then, and till this day forward. I came to you as a broken vessel, and you gave me not only the tools to build it again, but the eyes to see the usefulness of the emptiness that is within. I was a result, unaware, of the indoctrination of a culture that conditions an external way of existence. You created the shift by introducing the concept of presence, among other spiritual aspects to my repertoire. The shift was an inner one, and from there I would begin to leave the shell of rebellion and conformity, and begin to confront, resolve, and love the man in the mirror. You've told me over and over that I am beautiful, that I have a glow. I used to laugh at such non-sense. Now allow me to show gratitude and say thank you. I can finally see it. There was so much malice in this heart of mine, and now my love for all things is becoming unconditional as the result of this empathy growing from the self compassion that I have built. I am experiencing the world like a child, excited exploring the playground for the first time. It is this beginners mind that I have returned to thriving in all moments, all opportunities. Life is wonderful, and I love you for showing the map to its hidden treasure. From the depths of my truest nature, with gratitude, compassion and love, always."--Akira

(Akira Beard) Christopher Jernberg akira beard art drawing love sketch https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/1/homage-to-my-brother-from-another-christopher-jernberg Thu, 24 Jan 2013 18:36:08 GMT
the paradox of pain https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/1/the-paradox-of-pain Listening to Lao Tzu's the Tao Te Ching, I have been inspired in various reflections. One of those is truth and it's paradoxal nature. How the negative concept we have of something, can actually have a positive nature behind it and vice versa. One such example is pain. I'm often interested in growing, developing, pushing life forward, learning. Recently I've come to see pain as a catalyst for these things. It is when we are in pain, suffering, that we go within. And when we go within, thats where real change begins to happen. And when we are comfortable, happy doing so seems irrelevant. Happiness seems more about experiencing the moment, the opportunity, the object, the experience. And when I talk of pain, I mean both the mental (more so), than the physical. I have become obsessed with swimming in the ocean, and doing so in SanFrancisco a few days ago brought both the physical/mental pain. It was brutal. The temperature was ice water. 2 minutes in the water, an ice cream headache ensued and minor panic set in. I stuck to it seeing if I could break thru it. Coming back to land, I felt rejuvinated, strong, and confident. This has become a model for which when going back to the realities outside the water, that I now try to apply and see the pain process as. As one to yield to, not only to grow, but to heal. Here is the writing in the piece-- the paradox of pain. How we invite pleasure, but deny pain. The two however, are inseparable. For that which brings pleasure is fleeting by nature, and its loss, or attachment there of results in pain. The paradox perhaps however, may be found in looking at pain as opportunity. Opportunity towards wisdom, that is learning about ones self, about the world. This is growing, moving forward and if not is not content in the stagnant nature of being, then one surely wants to move forward. How to do so? Looking inside, self examination. Awakening to ones self from periods of sleep that we all fall victim to. So it does it make sense to even think such thoughts when all is going well, when one is experiencing pleasure, happiness. NO. There is nothing to be examined in euphoric moments, rather to be experienced for all that its worth. But its when those structures that brought this feelgoodness disappear, we are left to ask the question of 'who am I?'. Those things that i identified with, no longer here, so what is left? Me. I. And in this place of opportunity for higher development, a divide in the road is provided. One path is denial. Do anything to numb the pain, deny the reality of its existence. Trying to reenact those structures of happiness that were lost in ways of immediacy. But this is the bandaid over the soul wound. All the medication in the world will not resolve that feeling of being so alive that is deeply uncomfortable. The other road is welcomed by a yield sign, and on the other side is a dark forest of mystery. It is on this path, where one walks into darkness, darkness within darkness and will find confrontation with ones self. One enters the forest, and in the lack of any visibility, the internal goes haywire in fantasy of terror. But like stages in a recipe, this only the first and it is usually the preliminary stages that are the most difficult. So past this, a little deeper, a little further light spots on the ground are discovered and hints of light reveal themselves thru branches and leaves. One begins to use ones eyes again, and profound experiences unveil such as the appreciation of sight that one had forgotten for so long. And a shift happens where one experiences deeper pleasure, but from nothingness rather than external materialism that one had only known before. And the excitement snowballs, for the realization is that not only is this euphoria free, but it is eternal and not fleeting unlike all else in the universe, including all that brought one here to this place. And when one is done with this hike eventually, the world outside looks bright and inviting again. For one is healed and ready to experience life outside of ones self again. But it will always be different after taking this hike.

"The Paradox of Pain", ink on paper, 5.5", 2013

(Akira Beard) Dan Stromberg akira beard art drawing portrait sketch https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/1/the-paradox-of-pain Thu, 24 Jan 2013 15:46:42 GMT
vulnerability https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/1/vulnerability "Confronting Self Deception", ink on paper, 5.5", 2013 Though its been years, I love the art of self portraiture. I've always seen as a confrontation with the self. In art school, I first began the art merely as a way to improve my technical skill in drawing. Having been introduced to the tradition of figure drawing, where concepts are taught then practiced from a live model under a light source I would go home and make my own set up for the classroom was limited in the hours we would get for each drawing. The most allowed was 6-8 hours, I wanted a minimum of 20. So I would draw myself from a mirror. The process would fluctuate between thinking about drawing ideas, to experiencing distress/eustress in how I see myself. I would see a scar on my face, a blemish, would question my mortality from seeing wrinkles forming in the corners of my eyes. Uncomfortable at first, it would evolve into a practice where I began to find answers from looking in the mirror. My self examination had begin. So though this piece is done from imagination, not from a mirror, it mirrors the inside of how I see myself. How I feel, how I think. More and more, thats simply how I see art functioning in my practice. Simply stated, it is that ultimate expression of my vulnerability, complete. It is me, wholly, not good not evil. My being made visual. The text in the piece is as follows-- "im finished… done with the self deception, done with looking for contentment outside of myself. I've made up my mind. I'm ready to experience all life has in every passing moment, to leave the pain the suffering from the past behind. Im ready to break the patterns that bring new suffering in my life. Im ready to yield, to live a whole life. That is celebrate the birth of experience as deeply as the death of each one as well. Im ready to forgive those that take my invitation of vulnerability as an opportunity to project there samsara on me. I know now not to take it personally, for it is in ignorance that they do so. I only hope they discover the knowledge at some point to break the patterns that they are trapped in.  For I empathize, for I was once there. I love you, though you only harm those around you for you truly do not know. Im ready to have compassion for myself, to go deep within the heart and embrace my truest nature for all that it truly is. To celebrate this is to celebrate life. And I'm ready to express the vulnerability of all of this and offer this as my gift to the world. Perhaps to inspire passersby so that they too can transcend their own self deception and find the hidden happiness, the contentment which we all desire underneath it all. And I can only imagine how the world we all live in and share would be different on the outside with its colors, shapes, and energy if this was the conventional way of existence. Rather than living and supporting a dark age of materialism and all the destruction it brings in the smaller and bigger picture of 'us', living and working towards an age of enlightenment where the focus is going within and transcending the collective/personal neurotic cultural indoctrination that so many of us have been born into and re-surfacing with our truest nature. And it is here where we will find all and more that we look for, but seldom seem to find externally for our truest nature is in alignment with nature itself. To be in alignment with nature, is to be alignment with all things.. No struggle, no desire. Stillness and being."

(Akira Beard) akira beard drawing portrait sketch https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/1/vulnerability Wed, 23 Jan 2013 16:34:18 GMT
imagined Helen bust... homage to my closest friend https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/1/imagined-helen-bust-homage-to-my-closest-friend There is a place….
There is a place, for you. Like the night sky above filled with stars, yours is the nebula that explodes over and over again bringing awe and smiles when I look up. The inspiration for such a thought is a dream I had this morning. We were so happy lost in mystery, and you kissed me on the cheek and it felt so real. So real I'm sure I touched my cheek with my hand though in sleep, wanting to keep that kiss. And it was so real, for it was so real at one time. That moment, that deepest happiness experienced. And then I awoke, yet not in a cold sweat of regret, of longing, of desire. But with contentment. In my mind, in my heart. For there is that special island existing inside surrounded by warm tropical still waters with clean white sand inhabited by a tribe of beautiful memories of us, and if lucky when I sleep only to awake there, I get to experience this heaven over and over again. And when I truly woke from this experience to start the day, I felt nourished as if just having eaten freshly picked fruit from the soils of the earth. Nature absorbed by this body, filling the bloodstream and feeding the mind with stimulation and wellbeing. It is your truest nature, that I accepted with an open heart from our earliest encounter that fills me. And there are no feelings other than gratitude, for what higher gift could one really offer. Thank you. 

"Dream of the Beloved", ink on paper, 5.5", 2013

(Akira Beard) Helen Bayly akira beard art drawing portrait sketch https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/1/imagined-helen-bust-homage-to-my-closest-friend Wed, 23 Jan 2013 15:48:16 GMT
mediation in drawing https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/1/mediation-in-drawing Claire Miller, pen on paper, 5.5"x 8.5", 2013 meditation. Having gone on vacation, some do so to get away from it all. Party, let loose, relax. I did all this recently, however the intent, the priority was to get away from it all so as to reflect on it all. There is no better season than the beginning of a new year. So I would wake each morning to sunrise, sometimes earlier and sit at the shoreline and mediate, focusing on my breathe, and emptying the mind. It feels nourishing as just having eaten a fresh healthy breakfast. I began to draw soon after, and treat the drawing like a mediation. Just truly surrendering to it. Beginning with a direction, but at some point just allowing it to draw itself. The meditation carried over into the drawing, and vice versa and I began to draw figures in mediation and reflected on mediation itself. This one in particular was for a recent friend Claire.  She exudes the buddha nature, expressing stillness, non-judgement, emptiness, and presence. Being. And it seemed appropriate to reflect on this while drawing. The text for the piece is-- "The practice of mediation. Bringing the mind home. Back to it's place of stillness before going back to the external world of restlessness. Taming the mind so it doesn't drift into memories of the past that create feelings of depression, so it doesn't drift into fantasies of the future that create anxiety. Rather with this mediation, I deliver myself into the world fully present. Aware of the shapes, the colors, the sounds of every passing moment. Experiencing every moment in and of itself not grasping trying to prolong those that are pleasant, not trying to deny those that are uncomfortable. Simply being. And this mindfulness, discipline of whole being, the birth and death of each, every experience in it's constancy is expressed in the mediation posture. The body as symbol of the unity of all duality of all things in the universe. And developed in the mind thru the practice of mediation, and practiced as a way of being, lived in the waking time of this existence. This is bringing the mind home to it's primal virtue. This is the buddha nature. This is our truest human nature. Simply being."

(Akira Beard) Claire Miller akira beard art drawing sketch https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/1/mediation-in-drawing Wed, 23 Jan 2013 15:00:00 GMT
reflecting on friendship https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/1/reflecting-on-friendship For 2 weeks, my friend Audi and I drove from SanFrancisco south crossing the U.S./Mexican border into Baja. We camped on the beach of Burrows, which was a paradise of white sand, clean air, clear water, and I started everyday by swimming with the fish in the warm water. I had planned to do much reflection, it being a new year and all, and taking a break from all technology I decided to do so with art as well. Impossible. I took no art supplies, but picked up a sketchbook and pen in Los Angeles on the way down. I would end up drawing some of these reflections and incorporating the reflections via text into the works as well. My reflections took me to a place of gratitude for some friendships, and unfortunately this disappointment of others. Then I thought to pay gratitude towards the positive ones, I would present the works as gifts for those that they were inspired by. This first one was for Brett Amory. He's a fellow artist, google the name, and I met him in art school. Our relationship developed after school however, when living in the realities of the challenges of life. We were going thru a certain transition and I felt a certain kinship, empathy, joy develop. Years later, I have enjoyed watching him grow into a beautiful man and continue to find inspiration in our relationship. Whether its having a short talk at an art show, or reading about him in a publication. The following are the words in the posted drawing... "from the ground to the sky, from a seed to a tree, bottom to the top, from lost to being found, from crumb snatcher to kingpin, from hoe to pimp, student to teacher, little mind to big mind, from birth to death and death to re-birth, poor to rich, infant to elder, sad to happy to content, meaningless to meaningful, hidden only to be discovered, from waiting to… We've known one another for a decade now my friend, and its been an inspirational experience to watch you grow. In life where I've witnessed the vulnerability of your trial and error, struggle transformed into resolution achieving victory. And this victory is consistently reflected in your art endeavors, in your art and your art is reflective of your life in this same manner. As one to be lived through and through, always building. Never stop amigo and thanks for the continued inspiration you bring to the world. Nothing but love.""Gift to a Friend", pen on paper, 5.5"x 8.5", 2013

(Akira Beard) akira beard art brett amory drawing sketch https://akirabeard.com/blog/2013/1/reflecting-on-friendship Tue, 22 Jan 2013 20:49:19 GMT
imagining buddha... https://akirabeard.com/blog/2012/12/imagining-buddha This week I set the goal to have compassion for myself. This has led to intense mindfulness in all situations that occur from the beginning of the day, to its ending. This goal was motivated by recent events that put me in a confusing place. Both emotionally, as well as rationally. Without elaborating on the events themselves, I would find myself betrayed, decieved, and rejected by a number of those in my closet circle. My initial response after the moments of shock, was to express forgiveness and compassion for the well being to these who have caused me to be in a place of suffering. It became confusing in the way that I could not tell if I was in denial and rationalizing, or was this authentic. I am fortunate to have a number of loving, wise, compassionate friends and when presented to one, he told me that to have true compassion for others that I must have it for myself first. And so this led to an intense confrontation into the cave of myself, which I am still exploring, so that I can find not resolve, but truth (in this case regarding to authentic compassion). This truth is the antithesis of self deception. It is awakening. And I will just say that it is overly uncomfortable. Beyond terrifying. The feeling to best describe it is fear, loneliness, humiliation. It feels like everything I have been doing up to this point has been in the opposite direction from which I desire. That I want to experience content, but my actions bring me suffering. In my opinion, this is the huge paradox in the west. But I am realizing this as the first step to compassion for myself, and the reason it hurts so much is because I am burning the self-deception that I bring into the light. And so again, with mindfulness, I watch every action I take. And some of them bring me happiness, others bring pain. But I am realizing compassion. To honor the feelings of suffering. that I feel in the moment. To not deny myself anger if the actions of others caused me to feel this way. And in the bigger picture, to understand why I feel these feelings of anger, resentment, etc. What is really being threatened. So this drawing is a homage for that position of the inner mind. Searching for buddha, for what I see as a symbol for enlightenment. That is shedding a light on the darkness of my suffering. The suffering is the ignorance that  which my actions in the world outside of myself brings me suffering. I am confronting the ignorance, so that I can be free of the suffering. So ultimately, to use the words of Lao Tsu, "wher e there is emptiness, fill it with compassion".  And I am beginning to see through the clouds of confusion, the potential/understanding of true compassion.imagined buddha headpiece, chalk/charcoal on chalkboard, 2012

(Akira Beard) akira beard art buddha portrait https://akirabeard.com/blog/2012/12/imagining-buddha Thu, 06 Dec 2012 20:58:02 GMT
ego and awareness https://akirabeard.com/blog/2012/11/ego-and-awareness  This piece is inspired by reflections on form and formlessness, similar to the piece created prior. However, more focused at the duality of the inner and the outer. The physical and the metaphysical. The physical is obvious. One experiences something thru the senses, and it is internalized thru emotional or physically stimulating states. It is easy to conceive. Many of us however, come to experience the metaphysical, that which is experienced beyond this and can be a challenge. In a painting, it is easy to paint the surface, but what exists in terms of energy/soul/spirit in and or outside the body is another story. I have such experiences, and it has come to be the recent exploration in my labors. It is very much a challenge to give form, to the formless. How do you express that which you can not see? I look at the work of Alex Grey, and how he talks about psychedelic hallucinogens, and the results from which he creates a visual language and this could be the answer. Or rather, a door leading to such. But execution aside, it begins with the intent. And again the intent of metaphysical experience. I have been experiencing such a heightened sense of being as a result of certain practices which include meditation, study of philosophy, painting, and more. To even word this seems to tap nowhere near the surface, even to do it injustice as sounding cliche. For this it makes sense when Lao Tsu says 'those who know don't say, and those who say don't know'. It is enough to experience that which is, all that is (presence) in exploring this realm, but I'm me, and part of this relates to my belief system which is relative to Joseph Campbell's 'the heroes journey' where the hero transcends into another realm, only to return to home as to share the treasures with the world itself. When Lao Tsu wrote "The Tao te Ching" which describes the subject poetically, he was ambivilent for all that is being recorded can only be experienced. It is to be experienced, not read. It doesn't have a name, a form, it just is. I am a fan of awareness. And in hopes of  not sounding righteous, I exist in a world of ignorance (knowledge is controlled in every society thru mechanisms of power -Foucault), and with the treasures of knowledge/awareness how this world could be so different. I am seeing the function of the artist in the society in which I live as being a vessel for this. A bridge, a link. This is a continued examination, expression of 'spirit'. Or as Lao Tsu says "behind the ego is awareness". This piece was created in homage to this last line alone. The ego is the form (the corroding face), the awareness is the formless. "Behind Ego is the Awareness of Ego", acrylic on yupo, 9"x 12", 2012

(Akira Beard) Lao Tsu akira beard art portrait yupo https://akirabeard.com/blog/2012/11/ego-and-awareness Sat, 24 Nov 2012 22:53:16 GMT
form, formless https://akirabeard.com/blog/2012/11/form-formless formlessness, 8.5"x 11", watercolor/acrylicon Yupo paper, 2012 Recently I have been reflecting on form and formlessness. This thought is the result of what I am experiencing in my life at the moment, as well as reading the Tao Te Ching. I am really interested in understanding what is underneath it all. The biggest of pictures of this existence. I am diving into Stoic philosophy where universals laws are said to exist within the infrastructure of the world we all live in, and with which all things within it live accordingly. So with form, this painting was inspired by that idea where all form comes into the universe from non-existence, only to leave form and return to non-existence. It is the cycle of birth-life-death. And whether it is your existence, an object, a relationship, an idea, a feeling, whatever... all things participate accordingly. Knowledge, philosophy more specifically, is powerful in this way to have a rational relationship with life itself in an accepting, rational manner. How often do we find ourselves in situations where the sh#t hits the fan, and we are left in a confused traumatic emotional state, unsure what to do. How culturally, we are raised to live in accordance with one side of the story, fleeing from the rest of it. And yet, one side to the story isn't a story at all. And so again, with form, to have the awareness of the inevitable and not to fear it, but rather find contentment in it for there is no other option other than to reject it and suffer the consequences of disharmony. And so this painting is that visual expression, of 'us' as form/formlessness born out of the cosmos and returning to it. enjoy

(Akira Beard) akira beard art cosmos form portrait yupo https://akirabeard.com/blog/2012/11/form-formless Fri, 16 Nov 2012 23:42:07 GMT
homage to Marcus Aurelius https://akirabeard.com/blog/2012/11/homage-to-marcus-aurelius I love the meditations of Marcus Aurelius. If you are interested yourself, like all else, simply google the name. I have been in the twilight zone for a recent period of time. The dream is over, and now I must find way back to where I once was. This is the concept of trauma. And in times of trauma, it is overwhelming. One must pick up the pieces, and put them back together again. It is easy to fall into oblivion with the constant emotions and remaining in good standing with the society and the world, for it stops for no one. For myself, philosophy is the saving grace. Knowledge of self, of nature, of the cosmos gives me the ability to push forward with rational perspective. It becomes less of a conflict to flee from, rather one to live thru and welcome transformation. To gain perspective on the bigger picture of life itself, and to live in accordance with such.  One major seed of knowledge that I give credit for saving me from falling into despair are the teachings of Marcus Aurelius. This piece was inspired by my recent experiences. In the process of re-building myself, the time during the day is spent exhaustingly doing so. At nite, however, in quiet spaces the emotions come strong. And though I allow them to flow thru me as they may, it is an uncomfortable experience to say the least. But I do not judge this. I welcome it. It makes us human, all too human. And to paraphrase the words of Friedrich Nietzsche, another one of my favorite thinkers... life even at its very bottom is indestructibly joyful. I am living this experience. Loving life for all that it is... and I credit the foundation for being able to do so for great minds that dedicated their lives to the practice and expression of developing such. The philosophical mind. And here is the writing in the piece, an excerpt taken from Aurelius' "meditations"... "Men seek retreats for themselves, houses in the country, seashores, and mountains; and thou too art wont to desire such things very much. But this is altogether a mark of the most common sort of men, for it is in thy power whenever thou shalt choose to retire into thyself. For nowhere, either with more quiet or more freedom from trouble, does a man retire than into his own soul, particularly when he has within him such thoughts that by looking into them he is immediately in perfect tranquillity; and I affirm that tranquillity is nothing else than the good ordering of the mind. Constantly then give to thyself this retreat, and renew thyself; and let thy principles be brief and fundamental, which, as soon as thou shalt recur to them, will be sufficient to cleanse the soul completely, and to send thee back free from all discontent with the things to which thou returnest. For with what art thou discontented? …This then remains: Remember to retire into this little territory of thy own, and, above all, do not distract or strain thyself, but be free, at look and things as a man, as a human being, as a citizen, as a mortal. But among the things readiest to thy hand to which thou shalt turn, let there be these, which are two. One is that things do not touch the soul, for they are external and remain immovable; but our perturbations come only from the opinion which is within. The other is that all these things, which thou seest, change immediately and will no longer be; and constantly bear in mind how many of these changes thou hast already witnessed. The universe is transformation; life is opinion."homage to a Marcus Aurelius meditation, watercolor/inkon moleskin paper, 8"x10", 2012

(Akira Beard) akira beard art marcus aurelius portrait https://akirabeard.com/blog/2012/11/homage-to-marcus-aurelius Mon, 12 Nov 2012 22:22:14 GMT
an expression of gratitude, acknowledgment, respect. https://akirabeard.com/blog/2012/11/an-expression-of-gratitude-acknowledgment-respect homage to the lover and the beloved, 11"x 14", watercolor/ acrylic on paper, 2012 This is dedicated to Helen Bayly, my ex-lover who I had the fortune to share the past 5 years of my life with. And to myself, and further, the relationship itself. Its so strange, how a relationship develops between 2 people where you're lives become so integrated, and you learn each other so well, and an end point comes of separation, and the discipline of space is created so as to become one again. All who experience this, deal with it differently. It is a place that begins with deep happiness, and in cases of separation to deep sadness. As I go thru the drawings, paintings, words that my ex created over the years, it is too painful to confront. I turn away, and want to burn it all. But this doesn't feel right. It feels to me, more horrible than reading each word itself. I love/loved this individual, and my conflict here begins as I feel it a disservice as to lie to myself as an act to quick healing and moving on pretending the relationship never happened. But it did, and it ended and so i confront this. Reading each letter she had written me, promising that we would be together forever with a drawing of her and i in yellow and red pajamas, me holding a balloon and her hugging me. The tears come, the earth disappears from my feet, and anxiety robs me of the present. And this is all okay. It is pain, it is loss. And I embrace it all, just like the love I embraced from the beginning. And this is the greatest gift bestowed upon me, as a result of separation with a person I, despite circumstances, continue to feel a connection with. That I see love and pain as one in the same. That there is nothing to fear in these regards. That this is a law within nature, and to live in accordance with it is to live a complete human experience, beyond cultural limitations. Many friends, who I am deeply grateful for continued support, thank I'm a little crazy. They tend to pity me, and want to rob me of the pain. But I do not. I want to experience it. I want to complete the relationship in this fashion. I want to live, not to deny life. There is no denial here, and this painting is created in acknowledgment of these principles. Sure it is a positive homage, focusing on solely the happy memories. The ending of the relationship is evidence of the opposite, and so I choose to express the former as an expression of respect for this relationship with an amazing beautiful human entity. An expression not denying, but embracing the memory that it happened. And as stated in the piece, even with the same outcome, I would do it all over again with her. The following is the introductory excerpt in the piece- " The universe is infinite and we are tiny microcosms existing in it for a short period of time. And within the universe we create our little worlds in which to live, and in these worlds we create, we intersect and find one another, inviting and being invited into the world of others. And sometimes two people remain in these shared worlds, and unify to create a single world together. This makes the human experience special. Meaningful and worthwhile. The experience of LOVE. So let these words be of the deepest gratitude in honor of Love. Expressing my acknowledgment in how I take the memories to heart, and for where they will always remain sacred. And lastly, with the reflection of these memories, where discovery and love would result in loss and pain. If I were given the choice to do it all over again, with you, with the same outcome, I would not hesitate to do so, with you. Love Akira". The rest of the text was automatic free writing where I drew on every happy memory I could think of. This was difficult, emotional to the point of tears as I wrote. But after swimming in these waves, I feel the earth under my feet again, and I face the morning with the sun on my face bringing an involuntary smile to it. I am happy again, present again. I have completed another ritual in the celebration of life, or rather the mourning of it. 

(Akira Beard) akira beard art love portrait https://akirabeard.com/blog/2012/11/an-expression-of-gratitude-acknowledgment-respect Mon, 05 Nov 2012 18:12:26 GMT
mother goddess https://akirabeard.com/blog/2012/10/mother-goddess This is a piece created in homage to my mother, as well as woman and the goddess archetype... all expressed as one. This weekend was a full moon, and I attended Modern Eden Gallery in SF's show "moon goddess" where artists explored the subject, and I had started this piece prior thinking about my mom who I recently had a profound conversation with. There was something in the air, and surrendering to it, here is my result there of. So this is dedicated to you mom! The following are the text made readable, and the figure in the piece is my mother, Mitsue Ogata Beard. Enjoy...

Mother is my goddess. She who carried me for nine months and went thru the physical pains to deliver me into this world. And though the chord was cut, I feel connected to her like a plant in the earth's soil. All I do is in dedication to her, for I can never pay her back the gift of life she has given me. Sorry goddess, for ever doubting you. Sorry mother, for ever rejecting you. I am a part of you, and with this awareness let me do my best in nurturing myself (mentally, physically, spiritually) for doing harm to myself, is doing harm to you. Sorry for all the harm I may have caused you. And thank you for the unconditional love that only a mother could give with complete authenticity to their child. I worship you, for you are my creator. I love you mother, goddess.goddess, 5.5"x 8.5", watercolor/ink on paper, 2012

(Akira Beard) akira beard art goddess love portrait https://akirabeard.com/blog/2012/10/mother-goddess Mon, 29 Oct 2012 09:48:17 GMT
life/death... https://akirabeard.com/blog/2012/10/life/death  ink on paper, 5.5"x 8", 2014 This piece is a homage to my grandparents, all four of them who have passed away by this point. The painting is of my grandfather, and also posted is a sketch where I drew him as he lay on his death bed. This is also a homage to my former relationship with Helen, who nurtured and supported me at that time where i cried involuntarily at the feet of my passing grandfather, and the words are reflections of the present processing of that relationship with my ex-lover (Helen) into a new, perhaps even deeper continuing one. The following text inscribed in the watercolor, typed out if you wanted to read. It goes as follows-- In nature, all that is given life will have life taken away, only to  return to nature in a different form. This is cycle is a law of nature, and it is neither good nor bad. All form in nature is evident of this. And with this understanding, let there be the motivation to live life fully, presently to that short end which it is given. May all relationships with all things be experienced with this understanding, celebrated with love, commitment, honesty and vulnerability and when it is done… with this understanding be mourned and brought closure to with acknowledgment and letting go of, inviting and  existing with the pain that comes at its end, completing the cycle whether with material things, with nature, other humans, or one's own existence. And with this understanding, may one find acceptance in their being despite the conditioned psychology that we are all conditioned with to veil and confuse with judgement, fear, imagining the laws and operations of nature to be either good or bad, rather with a rational faculty to know ones function in the universe and to live accordingly and to have a relationship of presence not only with life in each moment, but with death in it's when the time comes as well.life/death, watercolor/ink on paper, 8.5"x 5.5", 2012

(Akira Beard) akira beard art painting portrait sketch https://akirabeard.com/blog/2012/10/life/death Fri, 26 Oct 2012 19:10:02 GMT
acceptance/denial... homage to Edgar Allan Poe's the Raven https://akirabeard.com/blog/2012/10/acceptance/denial-homage-to-edgar-allan-poes-the-raven Accepting indefinite change is a freeing experience that leads to transformation and is in accordance with the laws of nature, denying change hinders the life cycle and ultimately leads to madness.-- This is the text incorporated in the portrait as a homage to Poe's poem 'the Raven'. It is my interpretation of how the male in the story can't let go of his lost love, projecting desperate hope/desire to be with one who is no longer, to a raven whose only feed back is 'nevermore'. This piece is part of a show at Modern Eden Gallery in December, whose theme is Edgar Allan Poe's 'the Raven'. It will be fun to see how others interpret the classic visually. enjoyacceptance/denial, watercolor/ink on paper, 8.5"x 5.5", 2012

(Akira Beard) akira beard art edgar allan poe portrait the raven https://akirabeard.com/blog/2012/10/acceptance/denial-homage-to-edgar-allan-poes-the-raven Wed, 24 Oct 2012 19:10:27 GMT
love/loss https://akirabeard.com/blog/2012/10/love/loss      love and loss, watercolor/ink on paper, 8.5"x 2.5", 2012 It hurts, but yield to the pain… process it and know that it is an operation of nature. So you loved, and now you mourn in loss. Yet know this pain is limited and will end, and to feel it through knowing it is tolerable so as to know no matter how deep the abyss may feel in waves of distraught, that you will never actually drown but rather wash up on land that much faster if you do no not resist and add to it with anxietal fantasies of past or future. Understand that the pain is the companion of love and to not be faulty of desiring one and not the other but to accept the whole as a construct in the human experience. And do not be intimated, fearful to love again with this insight knowing nothing lasts forever and that to deny the experience of love so as not to suffer, is to deny life itself. Rather love even more intensely, deeply, fully in the inevitably knowledge that it will end too inevitably and from this vulnerability the pain may be that much more intense as the love was. And with the rational mind, to recognize the present and how though maybe difficult from the suffering of loss, how one feels so alive. And perhaps this invigorating feeling of vitality is the result of having not felt so for such a period of time, which maybe went against nature's operation and perhaps created the transformation from love to loss.  

(Akira Beard) akira beard art love portrait https://akirabeard.com/blog/2012/10/love/loss Mon, 22 Oct 2012 04:01:08 GMT
thank you elders https://akirabeard.com/blog/2012/10/thank-you-miyakosan The world is so alive right now. My eyes are involuntarily wide open, and it is overwhelming like daydreaming on the shoreline at the beach and shockingly being pulled in by a crashing wave that invigorates the soul and has one out to sea fighting the currents trying to get back to shore. I am going through a seperation with my ex-partner Helen, and this human experience brings loss, pain, trauma. I am doing the best I can, and find inspiration in the words of thinkers like the philosopher Epicurus who said 'There is no dishonor in pain...pain is neither intolerable or everlasting if thoust (he/she) bears in mind that it has limits and if thoust (he/she) adds nothing to it in imagination'. And so I finish teaching my art with elders class as usual today, and say goodbye to the 4 students as always, but one person (I will call her 'X' out of respect) puts her arms in the air and gives an invisible hug. I give back. "aww X you're so sweet'... I can't resist so I give a physical hug and she breaks down in loud tears. Whats interesting is that she has the condition of dimensia where I have to re-introduce myself weekly because short term memory and much long term no longer exists. I don't think she realizes who was even giving her a hug, but the emotion remains. The loss... She begs me to not leave, and I comfort her by promising to come back. "In a week X, in a week". She believes me (and its true)  and the terror leaves. I did this drawing of her prior to this, where she was dozing in and out of sleep. The human experience is vast and beautiful. I have found myself closed to it in certain major aspects as a result of dysfunction of typical routine for a recent while.  I am fortunate to work in communion with elders that bring knowledge of the paths near end, giving perspective to seemingly traumatic times like divorce. There is always the urge to find comfort in a situation, labeling aspects good and bad.. but I feel its neither. Its life, and life is good. Even when it hurts most. student sketch, color pencil on paper, 2012

(Akira Beard) akira beard drawing elders portrait sketch https://akirabeard.com/blog/2012/10/thank-you-miyakosan Sat, 20 Oct 2012 21:20:17 GMT
expressing the human experience via the human head https://akirabeard.com/blog/2012/9/expressing-the-human-experience-via-the-human-head                   Earlier in spring of this year, my partner expressed her annoyance with me while watching a movie. I had been verbally admiring different aspects of various actors heads, whether the actual stars or extras with comments such as 'wow, that person has a really amazing shaped cranium'. I wasn't aware how obsessive I had become, but I guess I had been doing this quite some time, and even after not wanting to be an annoyance it would be a difficult habit to break. I would become self aware of how so much of my thinking revolved around the human head. I would be at the grocery store fixated o'Homage to Bukowski", watercolor on paper- 5.5" x8.5" (2011) the shape of the cashiers nose, her jaw structure admiring and thinking how cultural specific to a filipino native it was. Or when at my neighbor's having a mutual revealing conversation, I would become entirely distracted by the plush pink of his face as if if were marinated in a peachy transparent lemonade. I nodded as he spoke, but I just wanted to experience that color for myself.  I put a notepad in the bathroom for when I get those ideas to have access to write it down instantly, but I found myself filling it with little doodles of heads. In my neighborhood, taking my routine morning walk to start the day, it has become one of research and inspiration looking into every person that I pass by. At first when becoming self conscious of this obsessiveness, I was uncomfortable. I felt it was unhealthy, and I'm still not quite sure if it isn't. I took test to the artwork which has always been a reference point whether or not I'm navigating life correctly, and it didn't feel right focusing on anything else. And I did try. So here I am embracing it beginning with life, and expressing it through art. And now I see it as a blessing, to start the day eager to experience it. I get excited to walk the world in this way, seeing and meeting new people all the time absorbing some aspect of the human experience whether visual inspiration on the surface of the face, or thoughts, ideas, emotions, words, and so on that come from within. Within the head as the result of a human psyche. And this is where I find myself in this exploration, in this expression of not the obvious human head… but the human experience via the human head. There is the anatomical structure to explore, beginning with the skeleton of the skull/cranium layered in muscle, tissue, fat and skin. This collaborated with aesthetic principles of drawing and painting creates a world to be explored and made tangible in the form of art work, but I want more. I see potential for a world underneath the surface that I would like to give a face to as well. A world of the mind and all its psychology and emotions. To create a portrait that is human, all too human inside and out. "Nature of Mind", watercolor on Yupo, 9"x 12", 2012

(Akira Beard) akira beard art portrait yupo https://akirabeard.com/blog/2012/9/expressing-the-human-experience-via-the-human-head Fri, 28 Sep 2012 19:57:06 GMT
chalk art... https://akirabeard.com/blog/2012/9/chalk-art        As a college teacher of artistic anatomy, I began using the chalkboard as the medium to visually demonstrate lectures on bones and muscles of the human body. To my surprise it would become a medium that I would enjoy. I have a deep appreciation for simplicity as an expression of our primitive nature, especially in a time of constant technological innovation and its integration in our lives. So this recent practice of heads drawn from my mind through my hand with chalk and charcoal lends itself to this idea. and I love it. Though I know little about it, I've always had a n admiration for modern dance and how an individual can say so much with so little.  As a human, i'm trying to find my autonomy in this world. My harmony with the physical as well as metaphysical world. Being content and comfortable with it all, free from the distractions of the ego, going deep within and coming back to the surface with an offering.  And in the process of these chalk drawings, I experience this at times. It is a challenge to express vulnerably from within, and to assimilate this with doing it as a profession. Confusion and depression sometimes replace a mental state of the playful child present and blissful. Working in a medium that is not archival, or even present for more than a day is a challenge to the true motivation of being involved in art in the first place. I can openly say that I am no acception to influences of doubt, confusion, and insecurity. And that is what I am taking away from this chalkboard experience. I am once again aware of the importance of creativity and expression. Its meaning, its purpose in my life.

         The imagined headpiece chalkboard series began 3 weeks ago and i've been using instagram for its documentation. If interested in following, the link is http://www.oninstagram.com/akirabeard. I am also uploading from there, to the 'headpieces' section on my site (akirabeard.com). Thanks for visiting .

(Akira Beard) akira beard art chalkart drawing portrait https://akirabeard.com/blog/2012/9/chalk-art Thu, 27 Sep 2012 18:49:07 GMT
yupo demo https://akirabeard.com/blog/2012/9/yupo-demo Yupo paper…. I was introduced to Yupo paper around the end of last year, 2011. A friend of mine had been working with it using watercolors, and I was intrigued by all the 'happy accident" effects he was creating. Working with it the first time I would quickly learn this is what makes Yupo unique. Unlike paper made from trees, Yupo is synthetic and ironically also 'waterproof' as noted by the Yupo company on their website where more insight can be found. It can be a challenging medium to work with, but like any medium it is a matter of practice through repitition of trial and error attaining experience. In the following paragraphs, I have documented a step by step process in one way I am approaching Yupo. I hope the reader can perhaps take even a small part from this and add it to their own creative foundation in expressing their own selves… ultimately making art. enjoy

1)For this demo, I used watercolor paints (cad yellow/veridian/cad red/alizarin crimson/ultramarine) a #12 wc brush, a 9"x 12" sheet of 104lb Yupo paper. I begin with a drawing using a light wash (more water than pigment). I indicate the size and placement of the head on the page, creating a shape for the hair and head, then lay in the features making corrections of proportions before moving on. You can use pencil if more comfortable, just becareful of erasing for the surface is sensitive and may cause areas to not hold watercolor as well if tampered with. I noticed this touching the surface with my fingers, where the oil created a stain that would not absorb water at all. I mass the features in rather than using lines to indicate the actual details of the eye, nose,etc. This is again personal preference, but for a beginner it is always a good foundation to draw as much information as possible in the beginning.yupo1

2)Now the drawing is set up, I move on to creating a light source where I focus on the shadow side, as well as local value (dark objects even if not in shadow, in this case the hair). I'm not thinking about color too much, but more on value and am using a green and alizarin crimson mix so far. After laying the shadows in, contrast is created and I can see better if anything looks unproportioned. If so, I would go back and make adjustments before moving on. It is difficult to get a smooth consistency with Yupo, and it can take several layers to get the value/color/consistency desired. I feel the medium demands patience in this way, where you have to wait constantly for layers to dry. Here you can see a few layers of creating the shadows where I'm building the contrastyupo2a .yupo2

















3) So far, the process results have not exercised the potential/uniqueness of the Yupo. Whether charcoal on paper, oil on canvas, spraypaint on a wall, etc the building process up to this point would look similar despite the medium. Its simply based on traditional principles of drawing. In this stage where I begin to paint the mid-tones (transition from shadow to light), I begin to explore what the paper has to offer. The happy accidents, spontaneity, looseness. Adding yellow and blue to the pallette, next to the shadows I put layers of colors lighter than the shadows, yet darker than the white of the paper down. I also begin to add more pigment than water when trying to bring more and more color out making the painting more opaque. Here I let the paint work freely as it will creating effects that I could not do in a controlling fashion with my own hand. Some of the shadows get lost and bleed into the light side undesirably such as the cheek area next to the visible ear. The benefit of Yupo is you can ALWAYS erase previous layers of color just using water which you can see I have done in lightening up the mentioned cheek/jaw area with yellow and red. I also lost the eye on the viewers left side, but I can always bring it back. In the second photo of this stage, the head is basically complete after finishing the mid-tones. From here it is a matter of buidling form in the shadows and mid-tones working towards details which has been done in the final stage.yupo3 yupo4

4) In the shadows of the eye, nose, chin I give form using principles of core shadow, reflected light, and cast shadow. On the mid-tone side, I allow more effects to occur trying to intensify the color just keeping in mind not to get to dark as to compete with the shadows, or too light so that there is not enough contrast for the highlights to pop out. Between stages 3 and 4, I work with more feeling so I can't really explain color choices, but I always take time at some point to analayze where the piece is at and bring objective thought into it if the painting is out of control and begins to look like a bowl of soup. You can see this balance of control and lack of it in the end. For the final touch, I take a size 0 round brush with white acrylic to pop tiny highlights in the eye, nose and lip. The painting's complete at this point. Thanks for visiting and if you have any comments/questions please don't hesitate to post on the blog or email me at [email protected]. headpiece, yupo on watercolor, 9"x12", 2012

(Akira Beard) akira beard art yupo https://akirabeard.com/blog/2012/9/yupo-demo Fri, 21 Sep 2012 18:05:23 GMT
free print https://akirabeard.com/blog/2012/9/free-print "Values", watercolor/acrylic/paintmarker on paper, 5.5"x 8.5", 2010  I have not begun doing prints of my art work, however I placed an order with an anonymous company for a single print mounted and laminated as a gift for my friend Christohpher Jernberg's birthday yesterday, and they errored the lamination. Its not major, but wanted better quality as a gift. So I'm giving away the trial piece limited edition 1 of 2 pieces of the attached painting to the first person to respond their desire in the blog comment, and ONLY IF YOU LIVE IN SANFRANCISCO OR NEARBY FOR PICK UP OR DELIVERY, and if you HAVE NOT recieved a free piece from me already please.  Only in/near SF because its where i live and to ship this anywhere, especially international would cost more than the print. The print is mounted on foam board, laminated and not sure of exact size but the blog pic with me holding should give an idea. thank you and enjoy

(Akira Beard) https://akirabeard.com/blog/2012/9/free-print Fri, 07 Sep 2012 20:33:16 GMT
art collaboration https://akirabeard.com/blog/2012/8/art-collaboration This is the beginning of a collaboration piece with fellow artist comrade Aaron Lawrence. I love Aaron's work, as well as his being so who better to begin such a process with. I've never really done such a practice and am open to the experience. So basically we pass the piece back and forth until it is complete. I guess... In my typical work, I begin with more distinct purpose, and direction... with an idea that I feel is worth exploring/expressing through a visual medium. Usually paint for I love the potential of color. So I thought this would be a nice break to just go in aimlessly. I began with a refernce of a bear skull and after an hour of painting and walking away, upon returning I started seeing a creature of sorts so i put away the reference and went to town relying on imagination for the rest. I think I was listening to the Rambo soundtrack and just lost myself in the painting, a bit surprised when it got near the point that you see here. I'm quite enjoying this practice of balancing analyzation of source material, with imagination gone wild and perhaps it will be the next direction of my labors. or maybe not. I feel this mystery is a vital quality for art development, and for now I will be surrender to it and allow the process/result breathe more on its own. enjoy and I will post more process picks after the other hand takes it further....artcollaboration2 artcollaboration

(Akira Beard) https://akirabeard.com/blog/2012/8/art-collaboration Mon, 20 Aug 2012 22:26:25 GMT
graffiti allstars magazine https://akirabeard.com/blog/2012/8/graffiti-allstars-magazine Graffiti AllStars Magazine is a publication based in Paris, France that keeps current with many of todays aerosol and street artists from around the world. I have never touched spray paint myself, but honestly  after having come across this magazine (thank you Nicolas) i am both inspired and intimidated. I can't believe the boundaries that these arists are pushing with the medium. It is worth checking out for artists, non-artists alike. Flickr.com/graffitiallstars. and here are a few pics of my collaboration. thank you

(Akira Beard) https://akirabeard.com/blog/2012/8/graffiti-allstars-magazine Thu, 16 Aug 2012 17:27:57 GMT
insights continued... https://akirabeard.com/blog/2012/8/insights-continued self portrait 4 (detail), oil on canvas, (2004) This was painted during my last week of school. The interesting story to this was that it was executed in the cap and gown from a mirror, and I didn't get one dab of oil paint on the attire. I still have this piece, and never showed it publicly. Maybe I never will. I can remember a proffessor giving a lecture on the honor of being an 'artist'. And this painting to me, was an exercise in awareness of that honor. In how looking back almost 8 years, I am still underneath it all, that person on the otherside of the mirror and in the painting. There is a metaphysical act associated with creating art. It reveals. If your confident, lazy, distracted, amateur, commercial... etc. It shows. I love that aspect of art. And its honorable for anyone to put themselves out there over and over again. To live for themselves with intent and integrity. And leaving the nest of school with classmates, mentors, friends, a sense of security and making the attempt to be a 'proffessional' artist and getting lost between the path of all that entails, as well as the constant evolution of a modern day living experience, I can always look back at a painting like this and remember when things were simpler in all my righteous ideas and convictions. Even though I can, and would never want to go back, how things aren't as complex as I always thought they were. And if I can find the wisdom in that, and release the present day from the past... everything is okay. Enjoy comrades!self portrait 4, oil on canvas, (2004)

(Akira Beard) https://akirabeard.com/blog/2012/8/insights-continued Thu, 09 Aug 2012 18:49:23 GMT
more insights... https://akirabeard.com/blog/2012/8/more-insights Here are a few more self portraits, again, created during the last year of my term in art school (2004). The shirtless one holds memory for myself, because I can remember being so self concious in bringing it to class for critique. It was my truly first attempt in trying to express a personal concept using the technical skills i was developing my sophomore and junior year through repititious excercises. This like most of the self portraits executed during this period, was painted from a life size mirror in my apartment at the time. I had painted it all the way to the point where I had to transport it to class. The concept looking back was simple, and embarrasingly naieve but its a good reflection in how you must start somewhere. Especially in making art, its common to look back and laugh at was once created. and yes, i was proud of the painting at the time. It was common practice in the environment of my studies for students to purely focus on painting technique and call it 'art'. I never felt that way, and saw it as purely technique. And I can remember the reactions of various classmates bringing this piece in. Some people gave compliments, some gave interpretations, some even laughed behind my back. But what was clear to me was the communication. I found motivation and interest in that. Where painting could take on dialogue beyond skin tones, value changes, etc. And I can't help but think of relative experience in the same term such as conversation itself. Where one dialogue is surface, talking about the whether. While another is revealing about the individuals involved. It is expressive. I've always enjoyed the latter, and though appreciative of virtuoso technique in anything... can't help but feel transformed when personal idea, thoughts, feelings are at the source of the technical means of expressing it. Enjoyself portrait 1, oil on canvas, (2004)

(Akira Beard) https://akirabeard.com/blog/2012/8/more-insights Thu, 09 Aug 2012 18:32:54 GMT
self continued https://akirabeard.com/blog/2012/8/self-continued In art school, there came a point (i don't know when) when I felt limited in my ability to express myself visually. I've always had alot on my mind, alot that I've wanted to express and I have never felt concise and confident in doing this verbally like most people. So I drew from the earliest age. Before I could write A-B-C, I was drawing monsters from my imagination. Getting back to art school, feeling limited in my technical abilities (color, line, value, etc), I put aside my ideas and worked feverishly on technique. Really trying to get a grasp on basics. Even as a senior, when classmates were creating stylish finished pieces in workshops with fancy brushstrokes, i was spending the entire time sight measuring with charcoal on paper, deepening basic seeing, drawing fundamentals. I wanted to work from life, and poses at school didn't go beyond 6 hours, so I used myself. I would set up a mirror at home, and spend 20, 30, 50+ hours sometimes on one piece. I can remember my apartment being covered with lifesize charcoal self portraits every inch of the walls. This I discovered, wasn not only a discipline to really develop drawing/painting skill, but also insight. Spending hours confronting myself in the mirror, I began to get more comfortable in seeing and exploring the inner self. Insight. I would begin to incorporate text into some of the portraits, like an open memoir and this would become an aesthetic that I would later use in my cultural portraits as well. This first attached example is experiencing with techique. The latter example is the combination of journal insight as well, as developing drawing ability. The painting was created in oil paint using several layers and glazing. I was in love with Rembrandt, and Odd Nerdrum, and would mimic the technique of putting opage layers on dry, transparent layers and scratch with a knife the wet surface and add glazing in the knived crevices once dry attempting to create the feeling of pourous skin. I haven't painted like this since! The drawing is more self explanatory, where I drew myself from life trying to draw every sublty whehter a pimple or tiny wrinkle and seeing these things as beauty to be captured, not insecurities that I was at times obsessed with. The writing was reflections on my final semester in school. And when I read it now, its embarassing. But one thing that hasnt changed is, I still see art as a practice of being vulnerable and putting ones self out there. self portrait 5, oil on canvas, (2004) self portrait 3, charcoal on newsprint paper, (2003)

(Akira Beard) akira beard art https://akirabeard.com/blog/2012/8/self-continued Thu, 02 Aug 2012 17:59:23 GMT
self/insight https://akirabeard.com/blog/2012/8/self/insight I'm in the last chapter of a body of work that I began around 2004. It began with the development and exploration of self. From here I would move onto culture, after being in alignment with my thoughts, feelings, experiences ideas towards anyone/anything outside of myself. Culture lends itself to the critical aspect of expression, and has/had rather depressing end results. In my experience. And now I am off to nature, which attempts to transcend the cultural box of systems and collective ego, expressing the bigger universal 'truths' of us. Death, love, family, etc.

                 I am working on bringing this project in the form of a book including written word, as well as documented paintings and drawings of course. So these are a few examples of 'self' and I will write further explanations with each piece. These are not current work, but were completed around 2003-2004 in my final year as a student at Art School in San Francisco. Enjoyself portrait, oil on canvas, (2004)


(Akira Beard) akira beard https://akirabeard.com/blog/2012/8/self/insight Thu, 02 Aug 2012 17:35:57 GMT
thank you Mom... https://akirabeard.com/blog/2012/7/thank-you-mom homage to Woman, watersoluble oil on wood, 16"x 20", 2012 The idea, motivation for this piece is my mother who I dedicate this to. Recently I put the breaks on, and have done a lot of renovation and garbage dumping… that is to say I have been looking into the mirror and questioning where I am, how I got here, and focusing on where I want to be. The mind naturally likes to reflect on sad and depressing memories, and I thought of my upbringing and how I played the role of the typical teenage rebel that is ashamed, and even had hatred towards his/her parents. Wasn’t high-school a confusing time for us all. What made me sad most of all was realizing how disrespectful and hurting I was to the one person that went through the all-demanding experience of carrying me for 9 months, and bringing me into this world. My mom did the best she could, and that is not to say my upbringing by far was anything but satisfactory, and even amazing at times. But at an early age we must leave the nest, even if only for temporary spurts of schooling and socializing, and the world is a tough playground that will have its way with us. So I wanted to create an expression of woman, as a celebration of sacred eternal beauty, that deserves far more respect and acknowledgement for her greatness than this culture offers. Thank you mom, and all women… with love from your son.

(Akira Beard) akira beard https://akirabeard.com/blog/2012/7/thank-you-mom Mon, 23 Jul 2012 20:38:47 GMT
commission https://akirabeard.com/blog/2012/7/commission though it has been awhile, finding some time this summer I have taken on a few commissions. Any artist that has taken on commissions has likely experienced the ambivilance of the experience where it is a joy on one hand to be appreciated/supported, but conflict seems to be part of the experience as well (whether it is inner critic, or from the actual client). This is one of two that i have completed in the last few weeks as a birthday gift. The nerve wracking part is the delivery where the client gives it the thumbs up, thumbs down, or is confused. You never know how another will feel, think...  but I would be confident to say these recent clients were satisfied. In this posted piece, the client took the role of director where he had specific ideas of what he wanted. This is a challenge for someone like myself who makes it a priority in their practice to not compromise the personal vision. But challenges are invaluable so I took it on with pride. The study shows more of what the client asked for, and you can see in the final that I made some minor design decisions in the process. In the end I feel it came together. enjoy friends, and let us keep pushing forward...commission study 'baby Peggy' (commission), 8"x 10", watercolor/acrylic on paper, 2012

(Akira Beard) akira beard https://akirabeard.com/blog/2012/7/commission Mon, 16 Jul 2012 20:02:33 GMT
sharing https://akirabeard.com/blog/2012/7/sharing Have been wrapped up in commission paintings for the last few weeks, starting to experience some frustration/depression not finding the time to build my own art. Just had to wake up today and make it priority to paint for the sake of painting even if for just a brief period. enjoy...headpiece 26, watersoluble oil on wood panel, 16"x 20", 2012

(Akira Beard) https://akirabeard.com/blog/2012/7/sharing Fri, 06 Jul 2012 18:47:08 GMT
imagined headpiece... https://akirabeard.com/blog/2012/6/imagined-headpiece similar to the last blog entry, another head created from imagination. Nothing much to really say about this one, other than it was an exercise in enjoying the process of creating and forgetting about the problems of the world. and this one is free to the first person that claims it with a comment saying so on this blog. and please, if you have recieved a free drawing or painting in the past, please DO NOT reply and allow others their first piece. And if the last few individuals who have claimed a free piece in the last few weeks, if you happen to read this your piece has been sent out this week. enjoy all, and keep thriving in this life. your life...headpiece25, watersoluble oil on canvas board, 11"x 14", 2012

(Akira Beard) https://akirabeard.com/blog/2012/6/imagined-headpiece Thu, 21 Jun 2012 16:20:40 GMT
have you seen her? https://akirabeard.com/blog/2012/6/have-you-seen-her Today's imagined headpainting. Although I work primarily with the human head, i have a variety of approaches based on the idea at hand. In this piece, I aim to create an individual from my head. Just going with feeling, and shaping the paint like clay until a person begins to emerge. The process is very free, as opposed to working from a reference (life/photograph) where it is easy to fall into a mindset of accuracy in capturing the person's likeness. I enjoy those process' as well, but in this series I aim to bring an element of a person that does not exist in this world, though i realize i, like everyone else, I too am nfluenced by memory, subconcious, etc. With so many people living in the world, it would be exciting to meet a stranger, who i have painted before ever having met. I will keep all posted if this ever happens. Until then, I will keep adding imagined people to this world. enjoy

(Akira Beard) https://akirabeard.com/blog/2012/6/have-you-seen-her Tue, 19 Jun 2012 19:00:09 GMT
yupo https://akirabeard.com/blog/2012/6/yupo Around the beginning of this year, 2012, I was introduced to and began experimenting with a specific paper called 'Yupo'. I don't know too much about it, but I believe it is designed for watercolor (though one can use other mediums) and it is translucent. It feels like painting on plastic to me, and it can be a challenging medium to work with. This is because the absorption properties are different from a typical piece of paper that absorbs and leaves the stain of watercolor behind. With Yupo, its almost as if you are allowed one layer. If you put another layer of watercolor on an existing one, the latter is re-activated and mixes or is picked up off the page all together. I am loving the 'happy accidents' that results from this process and better results happen when I don't try to control the painting so much as to letting it happen itself. Of course, the process also involves knowlege of color, form, etc. that are applied. That never changes, only the medium does.  I never learned the 'traditional' method of watercolor, and with Yupo, my approach is more like oilpaint. I work dark to light, and I lay it on thick! In the current body of work, 'headpieces', the yupo medium is perfect in expressing my idea of attempting to create more unversal concepts that are more abstract, and work more with emotion allowing more of the subconcious to come through. As opposed to the more cultural pieces that i have been doing, that are more controlled and relate to a different part of our being. I am still impressed how with such simple tools, in this case paper, water, brush, and pigment, such things can be created from any individual who cares to take the time to.  headpiece22, watercolor on Yupo, 9"x 12", 2012 headpiece 22 detail

(Akira Beard) akira beard https://akirabeard.com/blog/2012/6/yupo Thu, 14 Jun 2012 19:09:00 GMT
Johanna https://akirabeard.com/blog/2012/6/johanna This piece was created for an upcoming group show at Modern Eden Gallery in San Francisco called "Notorious". The idea is to choose and represent historical figures that are infamous. I chose Johanna Van Gogh-Bonger. She was the sister in law to Vincent Vangogh, married to his brother Theo. After the death of Vincent, Johanna played a key role in promoting the artist. She  created the first collection of Vincent, Theo's letters in Dutch for the public. She also helped to promote his artwork by donating, and putting pieces in various exhibitons. I've always loved Vangogh for many reasons, and it's sad as we all know that he got very little to no recognition in his lifetime. It was interesting to explore and create a homage to a proponent in the acknowledgement of such a great talent. I used many of the colors that i have been influenced from Vangogh, in doing this portrait as a homage to both individuals. Thank you Johanna. If interested in the show itself where this piece will be displayed among other talented artists and their creations, info can be found at ModernEden.com. enjoyJohanna Van Gogh, watesoluble oil on wood panel, 16"x 20", 2012

(Akira Beard) https://akirabeard.com/blog/2012/6/johanna Fri, 08 Jun 2012 21:26:17 GMT
food 4 thought https://akirabeard.com/blog/2012/6/food-4-thought what i love about 'art' is that it can be whatever the person making it, wants it to be. intention... In everyday life, it isn't allowed to openly expressive one's self without negative consequence often. Of course, depending on where you live, with freedoms and liberties one can  stand on the highest soap box and sing their song to the world, unfilitered, revealing and vulnerable with no apologies. But what would the neighbors think? I am no different in these regards, in living within these boundaries. But in art, I exercise the potential of honest expressions. And it need not be profound, deep, shocking, etc... (thought sometimes it comes across that way) But just one person putting it out there, as honest as it is felt, thought, or experienced. and perhaps this is a non-sequitor, but i can't help but think how different art in general would be if it were created as a sacred practice in a realm void of any external influence (money, promotion, acceptance, etc). nonetheless, i am always grateful to the fact that it is a practice of infinite possibility. keep creating fellow artists!!sketch, ink on paper, 5.5"x 8", 2012

(Akira Beard) https://akirabeard.com/blog/2012/6/food-4-thought Thu, 07 Jun 2012 18:56:42 GMT
electric head https://akirabeard.com/blog/2012/6/electric-head sketch, ink on paper, 5.5"x 8", 2012 the drawing began with a red paint marker, used to lay in flat shadow shapes. From there it was just a matter of building form with several layers of hatching, finding a head as i went along. The quote at the bottom is from my friend/fellow artist Red, who is painter/writer in San Francisco. I am reading his book "my continuing Journey into Artistic, Spiritual and Revolutionary Thoughts". It reads like excerpts from the most personal diary. Honesty, expression, and vulnerability. My cup of tea. Enjoy and yes, this is another free piece. So first come, first serve... just leave a comment on this blog that you want the piece and you shall recieve it if you are the first. Have a good week all fellow humans, and non-humans... (paint marker, ink on paper, 5.5"x 8.5")

(Akira Beard) akira beard sketch https://akirabeard.com/blog/2012/6/electric-head Tue, 05 Jun 2012 15:57:51 GMT
process https://akirabeard.com/blog/2012/6/process so here is a little bit of the process. Anyone that's taken a drawing class (still life, figure, etc) will be familiar with this. There is nothing special about it, but being empathetic and having been new to it all at one time, I am more than happy to share what I have learned up to this point. There are a mulititude of ways, and in this one I begin with a big shape. This part alone, one can spend hours on depending on what you're drawing. (proportions) I have worked with the human figure much, so laying down a big shape like this is based on familiarity of repetiously doing it so much. From there I set in the shadow shapes. So it is going from the outside, to the inside. Again, these shapes are also based on familiarity. Using a live model, or a photo the process would be the same. Obviously the only difference would be that there are shapes to be analyzed/transferred from a source rather than entirely imagined. Thirdly, I set the conrast. Light and shadow, by blocking in the shadows with an even tone. Make it dark enough (not too dark) so that the drawing looks graphic. Dark and light. From here it is time to build form. I can do this in either the lightside, or the shadows. I prefer the core shadw area, whcih is the border where shadow becomes light, and vice versa. Since this is a transition of shadow/light, it should be soft. Whereas the shadow from the object itself, creates a cast (such as a person's shadow on the ground). Cast shadows have a harder edge. I won't go to in depth with light/shadow, but it is a science in itself and important for the purpose of creating form. On the lightside, I look for highlights and shape these with the midtone. Just like the shadow block in, i make a light midtone leaving the white of the paper for the highlight. I feel the hard part are the midtones, and it is important to slow down when creating form on the lightside relating to this. This is because you don't want to go as dark as the shadow side with midtones, you need to go dark enough to create higlights, and all the subtleties of the form lay in the midtone. It is easy to create too much form here. So compare the drawing in this blog with the previous and love this life comrades!! for the love of drawing

(Akira Beard) https://akirabeard.com/blog/2012/6/process Fri, 01 Jun 2012 17:00:26 GMT
friday sketch https://akirabeard.com/blog/2012/6/friday-sketch recently discovered audio books. This sketch made while listening to Vonnegut's "Slaughter House 5", narrated by Ethan Hawke (haaa). Thoght about to attempt and draw as a response to what i was hearing in passages, but didn't want to have boundaries. again, these are just created purely for the joy of drawing. no meaning attached. I started with a big shape and basically filled it in. Just making decisions along the way with no real foresight. For those interested more on the technical side of the process, I have attached a follow up blog to describe this and recent drawings in a as simple as I can, procedure. enjoy. and if the reader would like the nude figure piece, it is FREE and first come first serve. just write a reply in the blog spot for the drawing to stake its claim. enjoy your friday whereever you exist!

(Akira Beard) https://akirabeard.com/blog/2012/6/friday-sketch Fri, 01 Jun 2012 16:37:24 GMT
today's sketch https://akirabeard.com/blog/2012/5/todays-sketch another sketch made with no real intent, or purpose other than to draw. I enjoy writing as well, which is evident in many of my art works so I had some fun with that as well. When actually trying to express an idea/feeling with intent, I tend to get more obsessed with the writing aspect. There have been times where I put more time into developing the writing to incorporate into the painting. There is no real story to this drawing, though it may suggest there is one. I created the figure first just going where the pen takes me, ending up with a pile of heads in the surroundings. The text was inspired by my morning walk in the city. If you happen to want this piece, i'm giving it away so please just leave a comment that you desire it and we will work it out from there. First come, first served, and please don't respond if you have already accepted a piece in the past. sketch, 8.5x 5.5, pen on paper.

(Akira Beard) https://akirabeard.com/blog/2012/5/todays-sketch Wed, 30 May 2012 21:59:01 GMT
drawing... https://akirabeard.com/blog/2012/5/drawing Having finished another semester of teaching, it always involves taking a break from it all immediately after. The itch to create is always there however, so I've been doodling here and there. Usually at a cafe with a coffee or on the bed while watching some movie. Though just simple sketches, I can't help but contimplate/appreciate the process of drawing. In how it is technical ability that involves several concepts that involve translation of ideas, seen objects, etc onto a surface (paper). And how there is the intuitive side as well, where feeling is involved and how drawing essentially as I see it, is the combination of the two. One person's drawing is purely technical (realism), where another is more feeling which takes a representational drawing away from the real, at least if the drawing is of a representational nature to begin with. Nonetheless, i gain a deeper appreciation for the art of it itself with each drawing completed. And anyone who draws, i'm sure can appreciate the treasure of this practice. Always the love...

(Akira Beard) akira beard sketch https://akirabeard.com/blog/2012/5/drawing Mon, 28 May 2012 20:26:57 GMT
happy mothers day https://akirabeard.com/blog/2012/5/happy-mothers-day For almost 5 years now I have had the pleasure to be an art instructor with 'Art With Elders', a non-profit organization developed by Brent Nettle that aims at improving the state of elders in residential care facilities through the practice of making art where individuals like myself, organize a class of participating elders at specific locations throughout the bay area (san francisco, oakland, etc) teaching painting and drawing. This is one of my students, Ada, who i have painted over and over. These are sketches that  are always rushed in between sessions of teaching and demonstrating skills/ideas with the students. They always have a rough, unfinished quality but more and more i appreciate this aesthetic and it does influence my actual work. It's always a fun surprise for the elder to see the end result of the painting, for they are usually unaware that they have been studied upon during the class. Sometimes they are flattered, sometimes they are critical. Either way, the expression is one of honesty, a quality that i admire and consistently experience with all elders in my experience. Enjoymother's day Ada, acrylic on paper, 8.5"x 11", 2012

(Akira Beard) akira beard art with elders https://akirabeard.com/blog/2012/5/happy-mothers-day Sat, 12 May 2012 19:50:14 GMT
Astro Studios Show https://akirabeard.com/blog/2012/4/astro-studios-show In collaboration with Chris Shaher of Space/LoPo gallery in San Francisco, I completed an installation to compliment recent expressions at Astro Studios in the Soma district of downtown SF. Astro Studios is a product, gaming, graphic design company that designed the XBox 360 among other things. More and more I want to explore a variety of venues meeting different walks of life individuals and responding to the space with installations inspired by the specific environment. The black and white prints are wheat-pastings of xerox copies of previous artwork, which are also pasted on a sculpture. Other artists in the show are Mike Shine, Chad Hasegawa, and Gesso.

(Akira Beard) https://akirabeard.com/blog/2012/4/astro-studios-show Fri, 27 Apr 2012 16:51:17 GMT
'wtf'... https://akirabeard.com/blog/2012/4/wtf A painting I did in a session yesterday. I usually say that I don't fight the feeling, but maybe I should've for this one. One person's failure is another person's treasure. This piece is free to anyone that hasn't recieved a free piece yet. just know that it is a wood panel that is 18"x 24", unframed. So it is free, but the shipping isn't. Shipping should be under $20, of course depending on where you are in relation to san francisco. So please only remark in the blog comment if you really want it, then i can get your address via email. either way, enjoy.

(Akira Beard) akira beard https://akirabeard.com/blog/2012/4/wtf Tue, 17 Apr 2012 23:04:16 GMT
"MOSAIC" artshow this Friday https://akirabeard.com/blog/2012/4/-mosaic-artshow-this-friday  This Friday (4/20/2012), I will be participating in The Asian Heritage Street Celebration Artist Preview Show, titled "MOSAIC", at 111 minna in San Francisco. This piece with a few others will be on display. More info about tickets for the event can be found at mosaicsf.org. The paintings will be up for a month, so if your in the neighborhood have a drink and perhaps walk away with an experience. headpiece 20, watercolor on yupo, 11"x 14", 2012

(Akira Beard) akira beard https://akirabeard.com/blog/2012/4/-mosaic-artshow-this-friday Mon, 16 Apr 2012 19:04:38 GMT
blog.... https://akirabeard.com/blog/2012/4/blog The blog... I will be using the blog to post information on upcoming shows, works in progress, etc. Plus, giving a little more insight into the ideas involved. This being the first example is part of an installation for a pop-up show with Chris Shaher of LoPo/Spacegallery. The inspiration is waking up in the morning and taking ownership for the day. Its your day, your day alone, and nothing is going to compromise the positivity of the experience. Because its your day... The figure is Jesus eating a slice of chocolate cake, thanks to my friend Paul Kalcic for looking like jesus.

(Akira Beard) https://akirabeard.com/blog/2012/4/blog Mon, 16 Apr 2012 19:02:39 GMT