Archive | Thunked

A collection of thoughts thunked.

Two Cents

All art is a lie.

All you really need is red yellow blue and white.

Work fast, don’t worry about results too much. just keep going.

Don’t paint the things you’re looking at, paint the air between them and you.

Every piece goes through an ugly stage, just keep going and trust your instincts to bring it through. You will bring it through.

When painting next to another artist, loosen all their easel bolts when they aren’t looking and… wait, not that.

“Gifted” artists aren’t born with automatic talent. The “gift” they have is a deep and thorough enjoyment of the process, that brings them back for more and more and more.

Living as an artist is like Peter getting out of the boat and walking on water. No safety nets, and you’re bound to get wet once in a while. Watch out for sharks.

Selling art and making art are two very different arts. Don’t confuse them.

Be very careful not to dip your brush in your beer.

That is all.

The Lucky Caterpillar

“Luck with no skill or hard work will only go so far, skill with no luck or hard work might go a little farther, hard work with no skill or luck might even beat them both, but skill AND luck AND hard work is tough to beat. Skill can be developed, hard work is a choice, but this thing we call luck, by nature, is a mystery. Don’t disparage it though, a little unearned good fortune is not something to be refused when offered.” or at least that’s what I thought the caterpillar said, but he was sorta mumbling.


Never underestimate an artists ability to be completely void of social skills.  We will amaze you at times.  We live in our internal landscapes, you exist in our external landscape… it gets awkward.

An Oddly Introspective Post for no Real Reason

When I consider my background, upbringing and all that, well, to be honest I’m not quite sure how I ended up a being a (questionably) professional artist.  I didn’t decide to follow my dream after traveling the world and finding myself on a high mountain in a third world country.  I came from a family of teachers and preachers.  Really.  Almost all of em.  Aunts, uncles, you name it.  We did honest things, worked hard to help others, and never had much to spare.  Never poor, but plenty of cornbread and beans.  Teaching was always encouraged. For awhile in high school I though of architecture.  That was very encouraged.  So was a career in sciences and oceanography, nearly applying to UCSD to go hang out on Scripps pier and measure ocean stuff. I had the highest SAT score in my school and nearly a 4.0 gpa, for what they’re worth, and could have gone a lot of different directions at that pivotal time in life 20 years ago.  Then I started getting really into art and the wheels fell off the train. Art was not encouraged as a career path.  It always had to do with money.  Thank God for punk rock.  Saved me from that line of thinking and I find myself today not living an ordinary life by most measures.  I’m half-broke and all that, but I’m also half rich so there.  All this is just to say I am incredibly thankful to be where I’m at, hardships and all.  Wouldn’t trade em for the world.  And when folks talk about wishing they could afford a painting of mine one day, while instead they buy a greeting card or a poster or tshirt, and especially when they begin to explain what I should do and where I should go to find the folks with the money, I sort of climb inside myself to a little bench I carved out a long time ago made of rough-hewn lowered expectations and wish there was a way to let them know that they themselves are the folks who support me and make me successful.  Sure I do have some incredibly well off folks buy art from time to time and it’s a lot of fun to connect with them on that level, but my daily bread is from the folks who come from the same place I come from.  We just get by.


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 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.


Life is Poetry

While  driving home from the gallery the other day I was contemplating what to do about a recent spell of slow art sales, when I heard a commercial on the local radio calling me a “famous artist” or something like that, right as I was driving past the local food bank where a desperate looking man sat on the curb wearing a t-shirt I designed for our local high-end organic food market years ago.

Life is poetry.

Ain’t Dead Yet.

When some folks find out that you are an “artist” it’s always funny how quick they are to point out that your art won’t be worth anything until you are dead.  They’re not being mean about it, and they say it many different ways, most often just innocently referencing famous artists whose work became immensely valuable to collectors years after their passing.   But the reality is most artists work never appreciates in value after the death of the artist… it just all gets bequeathed to some unsuspecting heir to sort out and save a piece or two and the rest gets offloaded to a thrift store and that’s that.   That’s what I expect of my art after I’m gone anyway…  and I’m fine with that.  I’d rather my art have it’s value in the present moment.   If you enjoy it now, it’s worth enjoying and that’s more important than piles of money that have no value in the hereafter.


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