I don’t know how many folks reading this really know about or pay too much attention to the big picture narratives that unfold over time as I write, create, and move from one idea to the next in this catchall corner of the internets. And that’s fine, for most folks my life story wouldn’t matter much or be relevant anyway, but there are some between the lines story lines that may be worth highlighting from time to time.
About a year or so ago, and in the middle of launching and waging the Board Art Benefit project for SurfAid, I was pouring so much into that thing as I felt the weight of everyone’s expectations to make the project as successful as possible, that I neglected for a long period the vital essence of my own art life – making art. I became consumed with promoting other artists art all to benefit folks in need, that I sort of ceased to be an artist for awhile there. (Here’s a good read on that topic.) Long story short, I ended up spiraling into the worst depression I’ve ever known over it.
I irreversibly pulled the plug on my old website beardart.com along with the years of work that went into it. I went blank on social media. I sat on a couch a lot.
I was done. And it didn’t really matter. If I shared this with anyone it was usually met with a “well yeah you gave that art thing your best, but it’s probably better to move on” type of response. Not from everyone, but from many. The general mindset seemed to be in consensus that Beard should no longer Art. Move on. Do something else. Had to happen sometime.
And that’s fine, I know they all meant well, so I won’t dwell on them except to provide contrast for a few of the folks who took a different approach to what they saw and heard from me at the time. There were a few who reached out and were genuinely concerned to see that I was alright. It meant the world to me, but there was one red-bearded fellow who took it a few degrees further and just wouldn’t put up with my non-sense. Meet Pierce Michael Kavanagh… PMK.
To him, there was no option for Beard to not Art, and he with his wife Petra and their team of film makers and all around stoke spreaders (misfit pictures), quickly had my head spinning with opportunities to get more involved in their world. Film cover art, surf film festival poster art, art shows, live art, they threw everything in their power at me to get me off the couch and arting again. The gesture was sincere, and before I knew it I was back at it with a new sense of purpose and passion for what I do.
And today I find myself typing this little recollection from the gallery I just opened up near my home as a strong testimony of the effectiveness of their pushing me on. Quitting artists don’t open galleries. I may not ever make it as a well known artist in the great big world, but art is what I do and live and breathe, and I was dying without it. If death is like sleep, Pierce provided the wake-up call, and it was time for me to get up and get some stuff done as there was a long and busy day ahead.
So yeah, hero in my book. Lesson is don’t just let folks stay down, it’s way too easy to be passive and fatalist about things. There may not be anything you can do that will bring them up, but don’t let it stop you from trying. It could mean the world.