AD 149 | Akira Beard
“Taking Action In Spite of Fear”

“Making pictures is one of the earliest memories I recall. Before learning to write the alphabet I was drawing from my imagination in crayons. And over all the years that followed, there has never been a period where I didn’t continue the practice. I remember for example just after graduating high school and living on my own as a dishwasher with no ambitions in life but to get drunk and high. But when the party was over I would be in the kitchen of a house I didn’t live in, drawing past dawn. Or even when I was a student at the University of California Berkeley, on my way towards a corporate life, having never conceived even the possibility where art could be a profession, I filled my notebooks not with words from lectures, but with sketches of teachers and classmates. And though later I would become a ‘professional artist’, I sometimes look back at such moments if confused with the roots of my creativity. It started purely as an act of autonomy, where nothing outside myself influenced or affected it. I simply drew because I enjoyed it above all else. Sure, like anyone I’ve had plenty of typical life experiences that have brought their own joy, but nothing compares in consistency and meaningfulness that making art has provided. Even during those unavoidable periods with living that challenge us most, drastic life change/loss/death, art has functioned as a medium with giving meaning to suffering, transforming it into an experience with healing. This I hope, begins to describe the art I make. The drawings and paintings you see on this site, are similar to snapshots where the lens points in Life's direction with penetrating force. Every piece reflects a story only Life could tell. Up until my middle twenties it was enough to make art for its own sake. When I discovered making pictures offered so much more in such ways, a journey of exploration began. It’s fascinating to see how far it has come, and continuing forward never knowing where it may go.”
- Akira Beard

Show Notes:
  • Akira's journey into tattoo art versus his drawing and painting practice, and how concepts of spontaneity, the subconscious mind, and thinking work into his creative decision-making
  • Using art initially as a necessity to undo years of emotional repression
  • Getting out of his head, and living in the present moment
  • Winning the Redbull art competition, and recontextualizing his preconceived notions of commercial art
  • Akira's personal experience with expectations, and their effects both on relationships and art
  • Leaving UC Berkeley, and corporate career aspirations for art school
  • The important mentorship of an art professor
  • Reflection on his time as a vagabond
  • Incorporating uncomfortability into his life
  • Beginning his practice in jiu-jitsu and self defense
  • Documentaries: "The Real Mr. Miyagi" and " Marina Abramović: The Artist is Present"
  • Thoughts on the hero's journey, and the human experience

Posted 03.17.2020


"I started this series as a means for exploration, an exploration of self, and an exploration of the perspectives of other artists.

This series is an unabridged documentation of conversations between artists. It’s a series dedicated to breaking down the barriers we tend to set up in our own minds. I want to inspire future creatives to have the courage to explore and experiment. This is about making dreams a reality and not about letting our dreams fall to the wayside.

My intention is to give my audience a sense of real human connection, something that feels rich and organic.

When I was thinking of a title I thought of the word “movement”.

In relation to the Renaissance period in art, my goal for this program is to signify a rebirth of consciousness towards the way we look at contemporary art."

- Yoshino