Justin Beard is a forager — of food, materials, experiences and ideas. As an artist, he won’t be pinned down to one practice, and he works wherever his conceptual foraging takes him, from building sculpture created from things he’s found to performance art, a movement he’s working to revive in Denver through Performance Art Night Denver (PANDA), a concept he founded a couple of years ago while a resident artist at RedLine. We invited the Pirate gallery member to share a little of what goes on in his wildly creative mind via the 100CC questionnaire. Keep reading to go places with Justin Beard.
If you could collaborate with anyone in history, who would it be, and why?
I have been listening to a lot of the Beatles demo recordings. It's been interesting to hear their creative process. I think it would have been great be there in the studio with them. In an interview I saw of John Lennon he was asked about the style of his songs. He said it was about the message of the song and that the sound of the song should match the message. I like that way of thinking when it comes to creating a piece of art. I think the Beatles totally pulled it off. I think they were great conceptually.
Who in the world is interesting to you right now, and why?
I've been enjoying watching people on YouTube. You can learn so many things, and there are so many worlds out there! I'm currently interested in the Bushcraft world. Bushcraft is a fancy name for wilderness skills. Learning all the ways to make fire, shelter, and learning about wild food has been awesome. I watch a lot of MCQ Bushcraft. Check it out.
What's one art trend you want to see die this year?
I don't think I want to see anything die. All I want to see is a well- rounded art scene. In order to be well-rounded, you need everybody. Even the trendy stuff. I do feel the scene has been more well-rounded in the past, and maybe our round ball has a little flat spot on it. It seems the past there were more DIY sorts of things happening.There was a lot of art that was ephemeral. It seemed like artists cared more about doing something great and not really caring if it sold or not. It was really exciting. A lot of artists who were doing that have grown up or have moved away. It's hard to try to maintain that kind of energy.
What's your day job?
I'm a handy man at Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design. Me and the guys I work with basically just walk around and make things more beautiful and more functional. I like to think we create the first impression when a person visits the campus. It's a beautiful campus. Come visit if you haven't already.
A mystery patron offers you unlimited funds for life. What will you do with it?
I would probably create an art space where artists could come and just do or show what they really want to show. There wouldn't be any pressure to sell or anything. Maybe it would work on a lottery system. You put your name in a hat, and when your name is pulled, it's your turn.
What's the one thing Denver (or Colorado) could do to help the arts?
The cost of living sure isn't helping. I'm not sure anything can be done about it. It's been hard. I guess you just adapt.
Who is your favorite Colorado Creative?
Hard to say. There are so many, and I've been kind of out of the loop. But if I have to pick one I would say Evan Mann. I really like watching him work and the way he solves problems.
What's on your agenda in the coming year?
In my personal life I would like too try to make it more sustainable. I've been getting interested in things like foraging and homesteading. I've been eating wild plants I find in my yard. Maybe I'll get a couple of chickens. Maybe I'll make a bow and arrow. As far as art goes, I'm excited for my show at Pirate in December. Maybe a couple more PANDA's would be great!!!
Who do you think will get noticed in the local arts community in 2015?
I have no idea. But watch out for the Denver women! They are rocking it! Theresa Anderson, Katie Watson, Laura Shill, Christina Battle, Christine Buchsbaum. I could go on and on, there are so many. It's s funny, I've been trying to get a performance group together for the past couple of years called PANDA. Most of the people who want to get involved are women. Jarred David Paul Anderson seems to be the only guy I can get to perform. Come on, guys!
Justin Beard will be part of Performance Art NOW, a curated selection of twenty performances co-sponsored by RedLine and the Biennial of the Americas, from noon to 4 p.m. July 18 at the Biennial Pavilion. Admission is free. Learn more at the Biennial website.