Sunday, April 29, 2007

Monkey Bob Discovers SOHO Artist - Alex Beard

Today my wife Trudi and I visited SOHO in New York City. For those not familiar with The Big Apple, SOHO stands for South of Houston Street. This is a section of the city in lower west Manhattan that is known for art studios, bistros, and eclectic retail stores. While there, we came upon the studio of Alex Beard, which was a wonderful discovery

This artist uses color in a bold and captivating style. Many of his paintings have the same visual impact as a neon sign. But instead of just splashing chroma onto his canvases with the wild abandon of a child's finger painting, Alex controls his use of color to create images which have a powerful immediate impression. But then, as you study the paintings, you can focus in on the symmetric complexity of his designs. This allows you to view his works on at least three or four different levels. I could easily study some of his paintings for half an hour or more, and still be discovering new information.

Alex's work is also whimsical. Many of his paintings represent animals and people in new and refreshing ways. I really enjoy artists who can present familiar objects from a different perspective. It makes me realize that the zebra or flamingo (that I thought I knew so well) can still teach me something about nature and life.

Some artists prefer to work in solitude, and then present their finished works to the world. However, Alex devotes a significant amount of his time to running childrens' workshops and other participative activities. He also encourages visitors to come and see him in his studio, while he is working. The Beard Studio also hosts cocktail parties and intimate dinners. Instead of seeing these interactions as an impediment to his work, I am guessing that Alex enjoys meeting people and that they increase his creative energy.

The bio in his brochures offers some background on Alex: "Born in 1970, Alex was influenced to think creatively from a young age by his uncle, Peter Beard, the photographer, and his mother Patricia Beard, an accomplished author and magazine editor. Alex grew up as a child among some of the world's most interesting and influential people. Andy Warhol, Truman Capote, and their Pop World cohorts were familiar faces in the Beard Household."

So if you are in SOHO, then I believe that you will enjoy a visit to Alex Beard's studio. It is located at:

Alex Beard Studio
77 Mercer Street
New York, NY 10012
Phone: (212) 274-0326

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