Local artist facilitators Beau Leland, Robert Matson, Sunni Mercer, Michelle Moeller, Jerod Tate and Sarah Hearn and area topic experts to jointly conduct the eight-week program. These facilitators approach their careers in widely varying ways with a myriad of entrepreneurial pursuits and different goals.
Guest writer Erin Shaw profiled some of the facilitators to explore their artistic practices (which gives a hint why we thought they'd make good Artist INC facilitators!).
Beau Leland, Film and Video
Beau Leland is a media artist working in film and video. Beau works primarily as an editor on narrative and documentary shorts and features. Beau lives and works in
. His work can be viewed at http://invisibleartsonline.com Oklahoma
Erin Shaw: What is an important piece of your artistic philosophy, something that you feel is necessary to you and your particular art practice?
Beau Leland: In my field, a lot of attention tends to migrate toward the latest and greatest hardware and software. While all of that is particularly important, I find that being a storyteller is most important. My philosophy is that it has to feel right. If I don't feel like it sits well in the gut, it's not good enough.
ES: Describe a pivotal experience, conversation or happening within your career.
BL: I think my career took a real turn when I decided to leave the four-year program at the
, and instead transfer to University of Oklahoma . Making that decision is what
led me to discover my love of editing, and forged many valuable relationships
that I have to this day. Oklahoma City Community College
ES: What do you feel is your unique contribution to the OKC arts community?
BL: I have been involved in the film community here in OKC for a while now, and I feel very fortunate to have earned a reputation as a trusted editor and collaborator. Much of the work I receive calls for come from the referrals of other people who I have worked with. It's nice to receive so many endorsements from the
filmmaking community. Oklahoma
ES: What is one piece of advice you would give a young artist as they begin their career?
BL: As I mentioned above regarding my artistic philosophies, I often tell young people to trust in their gut. Don't let anything past you that you don't feel right about.
ES: How have you resolved the tension or relationship between making art and making money?
BL: From the beginning of my career, it has always been about building my business around my craft. I'm different than a traditional artist in that I don't create multiple pieces in my studio that I then exhibit and sell. In a way, I'm service-based. The majority of my work is spent on other people's projects. So I don't really feel like I have to put my art on the back burner while I work to make money to survive.
I'm fortunate in that my art, or my craft rather, is how I make money. Someday soon I may start producing more abstract work that is truly mine, but I don't feel deprived for not having done more of that kind of work.
ES: Describe unique aspects of your artistic practice and how you have been able to make a life making art.
BL: I think what may separate me from a lot of other artists is that I don't create works for myself. I truly do collaborate with another person or more in nearly everything I do. It's what I enjoy the most about my work. And I've always approached it as a business.
Much of my downtime is spent working on the business side of my practice, which is almost an art form in itself. When times get slow, I start working on ways to improve the business or how to grow my skills as an editor. I think approaching my art in this way is one of the reasons I have been able to stay somewhat successful…knock on wood.