Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Artist Profile: Barney BeGuhl

Happy Cinco de Mayo everyone! Today's artist is a fellow etsian: the super talented Barney BeGuhl of Joyful Crow. For more info and to purchase, please check out his Etsy site by clicking here.

1. Where is your business based out of?

Eugene Oregon, The far left coast!

2. Where are you from originally?

A small town, now a suburb of Milwaukee, Wisconsin

3. How long have you been an artist and/or business owner?

Well, all my life I suppose. I have been making jewelry since high school, in 72. I turned those more occasional pieces into a for sale type venture after moving to Oregon in 89. I have also been a business owner of a natural foods manufacturing company since 91.

4. Where do you get your creative inspiration?

Mostly from this beautiful Earth we live on. Nature and the way she displays her interacting parts. The natural world never ceases to amaze and inspire me.

5. What does your creative process entail?

I spend a great deal of time in the outdoors, hiking, climbing, just getting into the wilderness. Its there I get both ideas for pieces, and have time to be clear of thought to sketch items or work out fabrication problems in my head. I also design from the stone up. Meaning I will take gemstones and play around with them. See what they are displaying of their own needs in design to be represented well. What would serve them best. I used to think it was all the metalwork when I was younger, the technical proficiency that made the piece shout, but I realized later its just a supporting role to what the stone as to say. Surely they work together, but the stone, even in an accent role, puts the italics to the words of the piece, the emphasis on what the overall item states.

6. Would you say your environment (where you live, work, play) influences your creative process? If so, how?

Absolutely. I get easily jangled in this worlds busyness and rapid fire way in which information and imagery comes at us. No way we can keep up with it all. It upsets the daily dance incredibly. I need the flowing effects that nature has to surround me often to soften the impact of our culture's onslaught. The day to day is way too much a jittery obstacle to my particular creative thought process.

7. Who are your creative mentors?

Well I have quite a few. I admire John Paul Millers work probably more than any other single Jeweler. Etruscan pieces as well, for their incredible detail and design application. Renee' Lalique and many of the art deco stylings in metalwork.

My immediate mentors in my own self taught journey, would have to be Larry Shapiro, and the late Marv Shapiro, of Milwaukee Wis. and Laine Goldman of Palm Springs Ca. These folks inspired me to challenge myself and push my envelope. They also taught me to be critical of my technical craftsmanship.

8. Tell us about the one project you would say you are most proud of.

Well pride is a funny word to me in that it can be both a good and bad thing. I prefer to frame the question as a project I am most happy with in its ability to convey what I really meant.
And in that scope, of current works, I would say "Spring" for its use of stones together, both metaphysically and interactively, its uplifting and growth orientation as a design. Its as a little daffodil popping up in the early spring. I also like "Hollow Woman, Hollow Man". Its not an especially happy fun piece, but it isn't trying to be. Humans while capable of so much wonderful beauty and humanity can also spend so much energy at deception and facade that it decays us inside out and leaves these shells to confront and interact with. Two others are "Jacobs Ladder" which just nailed the feeling of our twisted climb from below, and "Lightening Shield" which I think is one of my best pieces to depict the stones statement on its own.

9. What do you enjoy doing when you're not creating?

I like to be outdoors. Gardening, hiking, biking, climbing, backpacking, dancing.

10. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Well, retired from the day to day working world. And be able to not only have more time for my art pieces in jewelry and electroluminescent wire sculpture, but to expand into a line of lower cost fun daily wear jewelry.


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