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Interview with mixed media artist Greg Beebe

Meet Greg Beebe. Greg is a self-taught, mixed media artist who describes his work as ͞a mixture of abstract expressionism, pop and graffiti street art. 

The Miami-based artist is also a successful financial entrepreneur that approaches his art practice with the same intention as he does his business interests...with an unstoppable impulse to create.

With artwork featuring Playboy models to Einstein, the general theme that infuses his work is one of positivity where the specific message, elements and composition in each piece is fresh and handled differently each time.

"Positive or energetic messaging is my key focus. I want to create artwork from a personal feeling of motivation or positivity. For example, seeing people work hard or working hard myself and achieving something is gratifying to me, so I want to create a piece of artwork that might give the viewer a piece of what I’m feeling.”

He achieves this through a mixed media style comprising multiple layers of pop culture imagery, graffiti, collage, photography and resin.

Continue reading to learn more about Greg whose art and life knows no separation.

Greg Beebe - Art and Life Knows No Separation

Your pieces call to the level of intensity, drive and motivation one has to have to fully follow a dream, how do you decide which character eg: Marilyn Monroe; Betty Boop etc will best represent your message?

Typically, I decide on an overall theme first, then I fill in the pieces of the puzzle with complimenting images, messages and representations. My artwork is done in layers with each layer supporting, in some manner, the overall theme, the main layer is where the focal point, or in the case of the question, where the character resides. I use characters the viewer can quickly relate to, but also characters that bring something extra to the piece, something inherent but intangible in the actual artwork.

Marilyn Monroe literally changed the behavioral patterns of an unquantifiable number of humans and altered the way we see beauty which separated her from the norm and saw her entering an iconic category. That ambiance is what I want the viewer to feel whilst also promoting a positive message of which the viewer can relate to. The piece “You a Star” was created theme first with the message being everyone is a star in their own way, you may just need to break through some barriers (which is why fists were used and Rolling Stone covers). Marilyn perfectly complimented the theme.

You A Star” by Greg Beebe, mixed media (acrylic, spray paint, air brush, resin) on canvas, 2016

Arty-Fact: 'You A Star' celebrates Marilyn Monroe's natural star power delivered in a pop / grafitti-esque style. Set on a backdrop of Rolling Stone magazine covers, the work also celebrates the star power of numerous other celebrities. Motivation is the message.

Is the ‘hero’ in your artwork a representation of you?

If we define the “hero” as the primary take away, it’s a representation of what I want to do more of, or a message I want to give myself. Creating art with motivational themes serves as a tool to help me become the “hero” I want to be. Unless it’s a commissioned piece, I create art for myself, if people want to bring it into their life that’s great.

Dreamer II” by Greg Beebe, mixed media (acrylic, spray paint, street posters [source: Wynwood Miami], photograph, resin) on canvas, 2018

Arty-Fact: This piece calls to light the level of intensity, drive and motivation one must have to completely follow a dream. With so many self or societally imposed walls and obstacles, rights and wrongs, one must be a superhero to rip past everything and follow a dream. Anarchy signs are shown throughout the piece particularly in the Superman "S" furthering the point that one must ignore the "taught" and think independently and outside the norm to achieve a dream.

“To dream the impossible dream,
To fight the unbeatable foe,
To bear with unbearable sorrow,
To run where the brave dare not go..."
~ The Impossible Dream, Man of La Mancha

When did your art practice start to become a business?

I’ll answer the question a bit differently than inquired because I don’t know if I really look at the art practice as a business per se (which is a shortcoming and of course an opportunity), I do however sell artwork. I have a very difficult time “selling my art-self” even with my business background. There’s something about creating a personal handmade work and then trying to sell it. Becoming a successful artist is all about business, selling and self-marketing but I’m terrible at it so I just don’t really do it as much as I should. I leverage those good at the craft to help me out.

I began selling art around three years ago. It wasn’t really a conscious effort but one of those situations where friends see the work you’ve created and want it. The feeling of selling your artwork is rush so I began making more and more selling it online, then galleries and it went from there.

How important are travel, exposure to modern and pop artists in part of the inspirations to your creative artwork?

These elements are hugely important to the details in my work. I source materials from my travels (for example, Blood, Sugar, Sex, Magik features sugar packets from across Europe) and exposure to other artists means I get to see different techniques, media and innovations all of which influence how I approach my work. Personal experiences, and simply paying attention to my own life is where the messages and themes are derived for my art.

Blood, Sugar, Sex Magik” by Greg Beebe, mixed media (acrylic, spray paint, sugar packets [source: throughout Europe], photograph, resin) on canvas, 2018

Arty-Fact: This work is inspired by the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ "Blood Sugar Sex Magik" album. The infamous Betty Boop is wearing the vintage Mickey Mouse sorcerer hat ("Sex" and "Magik"), with a background of various quotes by Betty Boop and others. In addition, Betty Boop stands next to a bloodied skull ("Blood") which hints she's been on a hunt - the cash surrounding the skull indicating exactly what she was hunting. The base of this piece is made from actual sugar packets collected from various locations throughout Europe ("Sugar").

"Boop-Oop-A-Doop!" ~ Betty Boop

What is your advice to someone who is up and coming, and desiring to be an artist like yourself?

For those who have an equal passion for art AND something else (in my case business) it’s as simple as just doing. Get active in what you have a passion for, post your work online; enter art competitions and shows; get your friends to help you out and give support; be proactive and reach out to galleries and outlets you think can help promote your work. If you have a main source of income then use some of it to help you grow your art career, for example, hire representation that can help get your work out to a broader audience; enter fee-based larger scale art shows to get access to galleries, etc. Use the assets you’ve already created to help fund and support your dream.

If you’re plan is to be a 100% self-employed artist then get comfortable being the CEO, CFO, COO, CMO, CIO, Board of Directors, Human Resource Manager, AP Manager and Crew off the jump. You can’t just sit around and paint or you won’t eat. I think artists often just want to be artists but unless you’re an employed artist taking the easy, comfortable road won’t work. Networking is probably the single most important thing in a successful artist’s repertoire then comes artistic talent. Whatever stage you’re in as an artist the hustle must be 1,000,000%.

Be First” by greg Beebe, mixed media (acrylic, spray paint, air brush, resin) on canvas, 2018

Arty-Fact: 'Be First' praises and celebrates Darine Stern (the first African American woman to pose on the cover of Playboy magazine alone) – and her originality, drive and ambition to follow her passion even though the general public may not have agreed with it.

Interview with mixed media artist Greg Beebe Reviewed by JaamZIN on 12:26:00 PM Rating: 5
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