Getting inside the mind of HSCC artist, Juan Beaz
How old are you? 24 in human years
What was your favorite cartoon when you were eight years old?
8? damn, whatever Nickelodeon was feeding me. Spongebob, Rocket Power and all that junk. Catdog was still around. Props to whoever came up with that insane idea.
What are you thinking about when you are creating art?
I try and stay focus on whatever I'm working on and not get too distracted with the outside world. I love getting lost in the photos I'm working with, especially those from the past. They take me back to this time that doesn't really mean anything to me, but at that moment I begin to feel some sort of connection. It feels liberating, even more so when i take said pictures and create my own world.
What kind of people do you find yourself gravitating towards?
For the most part I gravitate towards weirdos. The good kind of weirdos. People who are passionate about creating. People who are unfiltered.
What do you listen to while working?
Music plays a heavy role in my creative process. Recently I've been listening to Chicano Batman. It’s been so long since a band has shook my soul as much as they have. Earlier in the process I was listening to some live recordings of Leonard Cohen. The new Thundercat record, Drunk, has been in rotation as well.
Why do you like collage?
As far as art goes, collaging has been the easiest and the most fun to work with There's not that much discipline involved in this medium. What makes it fun is that It's like working on a puzzle with endless amount of solutions. The pieces are there, I just have to piece it together. This makes concepts easy to come by.
Do you ever collage conversations?
A good conversation is essentially a collage. Next time you have a conversation with one of your good buds notice how your conversation intertwines topics, themes, ideas, etc.
What has you screaming inside ?
Im not screaming inside. It’s unhealthy. If something is bothering me, i will try and make change. We are all in this fucked situation we created. It started hurting me, so I’ve done my best to better the situation. We have a lot of work to do, but if we hold it inside, we aren't going anywhere.
Do you want an audience who will evolve with you?
Yeah i do. I’m tired of seeing boring art. that’s all that is mainly cultivated here. People need to be weirder. This is just my point of view, but as an artist you have the opportunity to test out your wildest ideas, so why not explore it and let your mind run wild? The same way I am fueled by other weirdos, I hope people look at my stuff and are filled with some sort of inspiration.
Do you ever have images of conflict u must create? I don't do this all the time, but there's some serious conflict going on is whenever I use religious imagery. I don't mean to be disrespectful to those who practice Christianity or Catholicism, but occasionally these images are so ripe to use that I have to. People might get the wrong idea and think that I am using them invoke mockery or blasphemy, but in actuality i am using them because the emotion in the imagery is raw. The concept of devotion and worship is very powerful and not using them would be a missed opportunity.
Do you ever feel like your work can improve if so how?
Definitely, it would be ignorant not to think so. I haven't been doing this long enough to think I’m great at what I do.
What are the personal, communal and universal connections in your work?
In all my collage work I try and keep a good medium in surrealism without being too absurd. It's something I've been fascinated with for a while now, which can be traced back to when I first started collaging. I like to believe that my work is a reflection of me in some form. Wether it's the colors i use or the imagery incorporate. It is all influenced by my experiences on earth.
What don't you eat?
Up until last November I was a full time vegetarian/pescatarian for about 8 years. I sort of am still, but I gave up the whole disciplinary aspect of it. Today I might eat some sort of meat every few months or so, but not too often.
Did you belong to an art community growing up Vista?
Nope. I was never involved in the art community. If I'm being real, I didn't really care about art in the community. Recently I've been trying to get involved a bit more and help it grow locally. I hardly saw people like me getting involved so
When did you discovered art and when was the first time you called yourself an artist? I got into art around my middle school years. I pirated a copy of photoshop and messed around with it for a couple years. Nothing good came out in those 3-4 years.
I don't think I considered myself an artist until my first years in community college. That's when I participated in my first show, connected with different artist and really began embracing art.
What's your art contribution to your community?
Earlier this year I started a project called Misprint Zine Press. It's currently on hold since I've mainly been focused on Alimentos, but the whole concept of it is to improve the accessibility of zines in my community. Zines are super rare here (Vista) and I want to change that.
I also got bored of just distributing my own zines, so i figured I'd keep it interesting by promoting and distributing other artists work and ideas. My goal is to have it operate like a mini library, but with new content constantly being added.
How has family inspired your art and process?
I come from a pretty big family, 11 brothers and sisters, so naturally family has had a huge influence. It's not apparent in the work itself but I am a product of them all.
Who are your favorite artists?
The first artists that always come to mind are Storm Thorgerson and Sonny Kay. They are probably the sole reason why I got interested in art in the first place. They are both from different eras but both are responsible for creating album art for some of my favorite records. Their influence was heavy when I first started getting into collaging, but i sort of ended up cultivating a different style. For this project I drew inspiration from the works of Alejandro Jodorowski, Jeff Jordan, and Dali.
For those who are unfamiliar, Jodorowski directed a film called Holy Mountain, Jeff Jordan is a painter who paints collage based imagery, and Dali is this fairly unknown artist who published a surreal cookbook during his heyday.
Describe your dream studio and what's the next project?
fuck a studio, I need library that’s stacked with magazines and photo books. that’s all i need. Specifically publications with images from Mexico from the 70s and 80’s. I was able to find one magazine and one book from this era, which i pulled some of my favorite images for this project.Other than that, all i need is a cutting mat, glue stick and my knife. I’m pretty versatile.
For my next project I'm definitely ditching this collaging stuff.