Archive | blogpost

“Bird, As a Weapon”

Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
Size: 24″ x 12″
Year: 2019

Notes:
I grew up near here. Technically in this city, though a bit removed from this scene. It’s a very industrial coastline, and one I’ve mostly avoided throughout my adult life until this day. Folks come here from the hectic city to unwind on the beach, or deal drugs, or eat at hip restaurants, or mumble incoherent profanities at anyone within earshot. It’s decidedly urban, and at times urbane, at other times profane. It takes all kinds. Welcome to the beach.

I’d found this perch overlooking this beach bike/pedestrian path. Occasional walkers, joggers and bikers formed an infrequent stream of traffic on otherwise quiet day. But the real action came from the Birds. Not the ones in the air, the ones on this path, being ridden by folks of all feathers and stripes zipping from here to there. Those things are everywhere nowadays.

Right behind me, separated by a wall of plexiglass, were the well-to-do afficionados of a beach front craft brewery. I like beer. Standing in the humid sun, sweat beading down my face, lost in the minutae of industry in this painting. That thin plexiglass may as well have been a mile wide barrier of concrete and steel. I wish it had been. I tried not to look back at it, and all those cold beers being swished around.

At one point there was a commotion on the nearby pier just out of frame and to the left. Cop cars came driving down the bike path. Dozens of them gathered from all directions. I still don’t know what happened out there. Later that day I saw a news report that a woman was killed in this city, beaten by a scooter.  We… people that is… we can be monsters.

I don’t have any moral to this story. It’s just how the day unfolded as I went to revisit and paint this stretch of coast that I mostly only remember from childhood.

“The Other Side”

Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
Size: 12″ x 12″
Year: 2019

Notes:
I’d been thinking of this for a long time. I have to make an exception and let you know where this is. This is the where the California/Mexico border meets the sea. I was hoping to drive out to the park on the hill right here overlooking the scene, but due to late season rains, the road was too muddy to open to vehicles so I had to walk in the 2 miles to the spot. After tromping off the wrong direction and ending up at the border about a mile from the coast under the watch of border patrol agents and confronted by a myriad of signs saying I wasn’t supposed to take a step further, I tip toed back to the van and tried again.

I noticed a lot of folks heading down the paths that made their way to the park. The smart ones on bikes. Whole families. Abandoned scooters. Dead crows. Nasterciums in beatiful bloom. Humid rain falling lightly at times. Mosquitoes that meant business. It was quite a scene down there in those wetlands of the Tijuana river.

Beautiful in its own way. But curious too. Why were so many people walking all this way just to be confronted by this uncomfortably stark reality?

I’d know soon enough. On the other side of the fence was a carnival of color. Ice cream trucks. Cotton candy. Kites flying. Flags waving. A swirling mix of humanity. On this side was gray. Border patrol SUV’s with armed agents keeping watch. An additional fence effectively creating a no-go zone buffer about 100 feet wide. Surveillance cameras. Concrete and weeds. No ice cream.

And no judgment really. I’m sure the southern border of mexico doesn’t exactly open the gates and throw parties for everyone from central america that might want to stroll on through. But still- a stark reality to be confronted with no matter how you cut it.

And that no-go zone?  There was one exception to that rule. Right on the bluff overlooking these waves there was one area, and one area only, where visitors from the U.S. side were allowed to walk right up to the actual border fence. Only 10 or so at a time were allowed into the area, and they were watched closely at all times by a dedicated border patrol gaurd.

But here was the heart-breaking answer to my orginal question. This is where families and friends separated by geopolitics could speak, not by letters, , not by phone, not by email, not by facetime, or anything fancier than that. Here is the one place, and the only place I know of, that these affected families that find themselves on both sides of the fence can see one another and truly speak face to face.

No matter which side you’re on, this place is all about the Other Side.

2019 Wall Calendar

2019 is right around the corner.  Don't get stuck in 2018. We've got you covered.

Features:

  • 12 full-color images- 13.5" x 12"
  • 2 new holidays (Buy An Artist A Drink Day- August 30 & Take An Artist's Spouse Out to Lunch Day- July 28)
  • Total size when open- 13.5" x 24"

 

Free Range: A Bit Farther Out (mostly) 2018

11 days. 22 paintings. 27 miles hiked. 5 paintings completed in one day. 8 of them on an island. 2 nights in the van in awkward locations. 1 bird landed on my palette in the middle of the last painting. 1 cooler full of beers found right beside the to the door of my van in an otherwise empty carpark. 1 time I felt like telling a park ranger what-for, but refrained.

Loading...

Art for a Good Cause: A Collab with Jeff “Doc” Lausch

September 07, 2018
By Matt Beard
Surfboards on Parade 2018:
Final Auction: October 07, 2018

Lots of scattered thoughts on this one, not sure how to tie it all together… bear with me.

I’ve been surfing nearly all of my life, and painting nearly even longer. Back in 2011/2012 I had the idea to invite some of my favorite artists to team up with shapers and create unique art boards and sell or auction them to benefit SurfAid International. We called it the Board Art Benefit and to be honest it was really just a bit of a scheme to have some fun but we ended up raising over $30,000 for SurfAid by the time the dust settled. I was also an unlikely culprit to spearhead such an event, being that I’ve only painted a handful of boards in my life and prefer my boards to have no art on them. I truly see the surfboard as functional art already and when used for its highest purpose it is immersed in Creation itself and needs no further adornment.

After we concluded the Board Art Benefit, I was done with organizing artists. We’re nuts, in a good way of course, but still I was a  little burned out from all the work and effort. But I wasn’t done with using my art to raise money for nonprofits and great causes. I went on from that experience to launch AidCurrent (aidcurrent.com), an experimental online tool designed to track an artist’s fundraising efforts. Since I began using it in 2013, I’ve seen my art raise over $44,500 for over 70 different nonprofits.

When Surfboards on Parade began it was exciting to see someone taking the idea of surfboard art for a good cause to the next level. Many of the original artists and shapers from the Board Art Benefit were recruited from the start and produced amazing pieces for the event. In fact if you scroll their facebook photo feed, you’ll see the third photo they posted was actually a cropped flyer for the Board Art Benefit showing the original boards we made for our event. (Linky:https://www.facebook.com/441816709261122/photos/a.450305098412283/450304915078968/?type=3&theater) I wasn’t asked to do a board at the time, but I was still proud to see the work going forward.

As the first Surfboards on Parade event unfolded, raising money to support Hoags’ Hospital Cancer Institute to further education and research for skin cancer, my sister was losing the final battle of her ten year war with skin cancer. We buried her body in Long Beach, CA not far from Huntington Beach where Surfboards on Parade took place.

Did I mention I grew up in Long Beach? The early years of my surfing life took root all over Orange County, from Seal Beach, to Huntington, to Newport, and beyond. I’d go wherever my older brother wanted to go. Surfside Jetty mostly. Or I’d lie to my folks and tell them I was riding my bike to the beach with a friend in order to go alone and find my own peak on the miles of empty stretches between the focal points of the piers and jetties and parking lots. This is where I fell in love with surfing marginal waves in total solitude.

No wonder then, that when I was 18 I went off to school as far from the metropolii of LA and Orange Counties, and fled north to the remote northern coast of Humboldt which is where I reside to this day. Since moving north 25 years ago I’ve pursued my path as an artist relentlessly and regular travels across the entire length of the state eventually became the foundation for my life’s work, painting the entire California coastline, from border to border.  At this point, I’ve painted over 500 paintings of the state’s coast with an average of less than 2 miles between each painting. A life of looking around the next bend in the coast for surf has led to a life of painting every bend in the coast that I can. California is my home. It’s what I know. So it’s also what I paint.

When I was asked this year to paint a board for Surfboards on Parade, it meant a lot to me on several levels. First, it meant the most to me to have this opportunity to honor my sister and use my art to battle the beast called cancer that stole her (and countless others) away from us far too soon. Secondly, for all the shows and events I’ve been part of all over California, this would be a homecoming of sorts- the first major show I’ve been part of along the stretch of coast that shaped my early surfing life. And thirdly, with my background organizing an event that was in many ways a precursor to Surfboards on Parade, returning as a participant is a true honor.

The next question after being asked to participate was what shaper would I work with. I have a tremendous respect for the art of shaping, and like I mentioned earlier I truly don’t think a surfboard needs “art” on it, it’s already a complete work of art. That said, this event was about painting a board so finding the right shaper to collaborate with was important. If I was going to paint a board, maybe only the 4th I’ve ever done (and possibly the last, who knows?), I knew I didn’t want to just paint any old board. I wanted to find a shaper who I could connect with and pursue a vision together.

I chose Jeff “Doc” Lausch to work with for a few reasons. He had done a board in our Board Art Benefit years ago with a different artist and I always appreciated that. But mostly I knew I wanted to work with a Huntington area shaper, and for years my brother ordered boards from him and we’d see him in the water from time to time so there was a personal connection as well. On top of that, he’s a true artist and had even done a board in the past for Surfboards on Parade as a shaper AND artist. Say no more. I was stoked to hear he was willing to work with me.

I wanted this board to be an homage to California, my home. I chose artwork that would epitomize two classic California elements: poppies, and pointbreaks. And since this year’s Surfboards on Parade event was being held in conjunction with the Surfing Walk of Fame, I compiled a list of previous inductees that were from California, and printed their names directly on the fiberglass that the board was glassed with before I painted it in order to highlight this state’s contribution to the sport and culture of surfing.

After the painting was completed the board was returned to Doc for a gloss coast, pin lines, and a hand-made glassed-on fin. The finished piece is ready to be ridden, and I hope it will be at least once. After all it’s a fully functional work of art already… it just happens to have a paint job under the glass.

 

 

 

 

 

“Drip Castles” (Thinking of Chris Lundy)

Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
Size: 24″ x 18″
Year: 2017

Notes:
I was scheduled to do some live art today at a local event here in Humboldt, a culinary event celebrating… well, Spam, of all things… but also with some live music so I figured I’d zone out, angle for some free beers (which were kindly provided) and figure something out as I went. Shortly before heading out the door, I learned of the passing of one of the greatest surfing artists of all time, Chris Lundy.

I never met the man, Chris Lundy, but I’ve been met by his art many times over the years. It’s an experience. It rushes up to meet you face to face with a spray of salt and mist. Electrifying, and dazzling, somewhat disorienting. Like a seriously complex jazz number made of water frozen in some off-beat time signature that only the great jazz minds can comprehend.

I’m on the outside of this jam session. A good old punk rock 4/4 guy standing in the back of the hall, admiring the real magicians who can play along to this strange melody- artists like my friend Spencer Reynolds, who seems to have studied the genius of Chris Lundy’s songs and internalized their syncopated rhythms. He’s one of the only artists I know of, who could jump into a Lundy performance and play along, adding to the song in his own way, without distracting from it all.

It’s appropriate then that as I painted this piece thinking of Chris Lundy, praying comfort for his family and friends in their time of loss, that this personal meditation on his visual music contains distinct undertones of the work of my friend Spencer Reynolds. Not that this painting of a wave cracking on a white sand beach in a slightly different dimension does either of their work justice, its just a sort of personal homage to two amazing artists, one of them gone from us too soon. The other is only in Oregon.

Look them both up if you aren’t familiar. You won’t regret it.

 

3 Days : 7 Paintings | Live Art at the Redwood Coast Music Festival

March 31- April 2

During the upcoming Redwood Coast Music Festival, I will be creating art nearly nonstop at one of the venues, inside the Morris Graves Museum of Art.

"Chromatic Wave Theories"

I will be completing a new series of 7 paintings during the course of the event. Working nearly nonstop, and hopefully whenever there is music playing, I will be visually exploring the connections and parallels of sound and music to waves and water. 

Each painting produced will benefit a different local nonprofit:

• Humboldt Surfrider
• Friends of the Dunes
• Area 1 Agency on Aging
• CASA
• Trinidad Coastal Land Trust
• Redwood Coast Music Festival
• ? Buyer's Choice!

While the paintings will be completed from start to finish at the event, they are available now to be pre-claimed at buy now prices with 50% donated to the nonprofit I've set as the beneficiary of each piece. 

“Free Range: Orange County Winter 2017

7 days. 2.5 days of rain. $26.75 paid to parking meters. 9 Paintings created on one road trip.

Ambassador Beard?

ambassador-beardWell it’s true. This photo may be a stretch, but I’m stoked to be on board with the folks at Save the Waves International as their newest Artist Ambassador.

Anybody that works as hard as they do to preserve our world’s coastlines, as well as access to those coastlines, is worth getting behind in my book. Much of my work documenting the California coast wouldn’t be possible, or at least would be much, much more difficult if it weren’t for groups like them out there fighting to keep our coastal areas natural and open for all.

In the meantime if you need anything at all, feel free to stop in anytime. My office is always open. Bring tacos.

Free Range: San Diego 2016

12 days. 1 massive film festival. 1 surfboard tradeshow. 1 art and surf invitational event. 12 paintings. 1 Sold out show.

Ripple: Group Show- New Orleans, LA

ripple

Pretty stoked to be part of this show in New Orleans, LA at the Graphite Gallery. Unfortunately I could not attend in person as New Orleans is east of the Sierra Nevada mountains range and my travels in that direction are severely challenged. The show, however, looked top notch with incredible art from a range of amazing artists.

I am humbled and honored to be involved with this group, and even more so to have my work, “Reclamation” chosen to  represent the group on the official show flyer. Huge thanks to my friend Kyle William Harper for curating this one and making it happen.

Scroll Up