Meet the Artist: Simple-Yet-Edgy with Venice Printmaker Gregory BeauchampAuthor:Lindsey Shook
Venice artist Gregory Beauchamp creates straight-forward, positive and joyful messages in edgy Xylene transfer prints. The beautiful black and white prints capture simple-but-profound sentiments of kindness and optimism.
Beauchamp, who lives near the beach in Venice, splits his time between the communications world and creating art. He describes his art as a “reminder to myself of the things I need to work on—all about positive, love, equality, and how we’re all the same.” We recently got a chance to sit down with him and talk inspiration, creative process and see some of his latest works.
CH+D: What is the inspiration behind your work?
Beauchamp: One day at an ad agency in Los Angeles, the creative director had the entire creative department bring in something we found inspirational. Some of the things were ads, some were books, some were art—all were inspirational to the person who brought it in. After we finished our show-and-tell, he held up a giant piece of pink paper and said, “To me inspiration is the potential of how and what we communicate. Why can’t the color pink be more than just a color? Why can’t this piece of paper mean everything to everyone? “
Another day I was walking down the Venice boardwalk and noticed that an anonymous someone had taken all the gum stains on the pavement and drawn smiles connecting any two pieces that happened to be near each other. Turning the imperfect circles of the hardened gum into the eyes of a happy face and changing something we look over and overlook into something appreciated.
The world is full of endless happy surprises that can mean everything in a moment just waiting for us to arrive at. That at the root level, we’re all so very similar, with the largest shared space being love. That’s what I try to communicate.
What is your creative process?
Beauchamp: I spend a lot of time thinking about difficult questions and simple answers. To me, a lot of my work is an attempt at answering the questions “why?” or “why not?”—oftentimes within myself, and then figuring out the best way to illustrate it. Rarely does the initial thinking find it’s whole way to the end and many thoughts end up in a stack of paper sitting on my desk to be worked on later. When I do work an idea, the final artwork comes out of simplifying it so much that it pushes towards universal.
In college I majored in advertising and minored in art. It’s here that I was introduced to the process of transferring images onto large pieces of paper using solvents. For my work, I use xylene and the edge of a pen cap, which is a method of releasing the ink from one piece of paper and having it transfer to another. Since this process only allows for a black transfer and no colors, you’re forced to simplify and come up with solutions that may not be obvious at the beginning. The tools made me a better creative person. So now I try to say more with less. It’s easier to remember.
Could you tell us a little about your art business and your work outside of that?
Beauchamp: Originally I was a design director at an ad agency making art every once in a while. Now the equation has switched and I make art most days and am a freelance creative during the others. For me the feeling is the same. Overall I spend more time now making things than ever before. I feel very fortunate to spend my hours solving questions and presenting viewpoints, both personal and branded. In 2009, I created a piece called States United which became the turning point of my attention and a shift into being open enough to show the things I once made for myself. Now I try to create a new piece every few months while still making multiples of the editions still open. It’s a lot of hands-on work and a lot of joy.
Simultaneously as I began to create more art, I was involved in the making of a documentary called Art&Copy which is about how creativity can solve anything. It ended up at Sundance and won an Emmy last year. Over the 5 years it took to finish, I got a chance to sit and listen to how creative people work, think and live. It was an experience that made change very easy and it showed me that whatever you do, you have a choice and ability to affect people positively, and regardless of the tools or the titles, your choices will change the landscape.
To purchase and check out more of Beauchamp’s prints visit his Etsy shop, Beauchamping.
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