We had the good fortune of connecting with Jordan Beecham and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jordan, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
When I think about risk, there are a lot of the things that go through my head. Fear is my first instinct, what if this doesn’t work out? Most of my big life decisions come from a place of practicality, which can sound silly coming from an artist. Throughout my life I have heard people refer to artists as rule breakers, risktakers, eccentric. The word I never heard associated with an artist “practical.” Yet to me it seemed more practical to walk away from a job that did not light a fire under me; a job that paid the bills but did not feed the soul. To me the risk of not pursuing a path that engaged me had greater negative consequences than playing it safe and collecting a regular paycheck. From that standpoint pursuing a career in creating art seemed like the most practical choice. Risk is inherent in life there is risk in every decision little or small, I prefer to simplify how it breaks down to a binary level. The choice is there to see the negative side of risk or the potential benefits of taking a risk. Looking at the positive side has served my career so far more than it has hurt it.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
It has taken me years to find my stamp, my voice, my artistic style; and I would say it’s still evolving. The biggest challenge has been finding a voice something that carries through from one painting to the next. Art is a big word for only being 3 letters, writing is an art, sculpting is an art, there are things that I don’t enjoy looking at that can be considered art. All of this to say that paralysis by analysis is a real thing. There was a time right after graduating from SCAD where I didn’t want to pick up a pencil there was probably months at a time where I needed to walk away from making art. I just didn’t feel it, in situations like that I think it’s important to take a step back. Really that’s the largest challenge one can face as an artist figuring out what one wants to say. So the project that I am most proud of would be having my art in a feature film. Shortly after graduating SCAD, I moved to New Orleans one night I was searching for potential art job online. During my search I came across a post on Craigslist that read “need fashion sketches for a student film” I thought alright I can do that. I reach out, and the response I get is that the position has been filled. I move on, a few weeks later I am checking my email and I have a new reply from them saying the other artist fell through we need some sketches quickly. I then come to find out the film is the sequel to that Cloverfield movie that was produced by JJ Abrams. As a film fan it was a big deal for me to have my art on the big screen. I’ve learned a lot from these experiences, I think my biggest lesson would have to be staying honest with myself and what fascinates me. Years after my time in New Orleans I was living in Colorado this was my first time not living on the east coast I wanted to get out on my own away from my family to gain some life experience. At this time I took a job in field in which I had no interest in, and no passion for the work. The job also involved travel, I distinctly remember getting back from trip; I was sitting in my apartment having dinner with my girlfriend at the time. We were watching shark tank when all of the sudden I had a panic attack, It was the first one I had ever had, I my heart was racing, my body was in fight or flight mode, I had these terribly nihilistic thoughts and all of this lasted about 15 mins. I knew something was wrong I wasn’t fulfilled I had no direction, no real community and I was spending an exorbitant amount of time doing a job I did not enjoy. At this point I knew I had the wrong idea about how to live my life. Overcoming that and believing that there is a path for those that truly want it to be successful at something they love doing is possible.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Well as someone who is a relatively recent transplant myself I may not know all the cool spots to show people but I have few places I like to show friends. I really enjoy the beltline which is great for many reasons and the perfect place to start. The Beltline is great for taking a nice long walk, and there is access to many restaurants right off the path. At the same time while being on the path you get to experience the great views of the city, especially at sunset. If you stay on the beltline long enough you get to experience some cool street art, and if you like ice cream there is Butter n’ Cream and Jeni’s. Showing friends the beltline could take up a whole day. Next there is Little Five points, which is packed with various small businesses and the perfect place to find a souvenir to remember your time in ATL. Lets say exploring little 5 points could take half of the day after finding a place to grab lunch in that area. Maybe you want to get out into nature. There are so many relatively small parks that can make you feel like you are nowhere near the city when actually you are only 15-20 minutes away from mid town. In the Decatur area for example There is Deepdene a great park to get into nature for 20 minutes at a time, and during the right time of year you can find blueberries growing right off the path. Then there is Ira B Melton another fun place to explore there is a river that has large stones placed across it that can be a fun way to cross into the other side of the park. I a big fan of taking trips out to nature to take a little reset and Atlanta is in no short supply. As far is food goes, here is a list of places I have enjoyed. EAV Thai and Sushi, Ammazza, Plant Based Pizzeria, The Slutty vegan. Victory, Before Covid I used to go to victory a ton, their food was excellent and very affordable but the real attraction was their ping pong room in the back. A couple more spots I would have to take friends to are The Painted Pin best bowling alley ever, Church in Edgewood the wall art alone to stimulate conversation for hours.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
In high school I had a teacher who is now a professor so lets just say I had a professor in high school named Aaron Foster. Mr. Foster had a big impact on me during my 4 years in high school, he was the first and only teacher I had for 4 years straight. I took every art class that was provided at West Johnston high and he was the head art teacher. Mr. Foster was a good example of an artist could be, he was disciplined, funny, serious, knowledgeable, talented, all things that I was preoccupied with being. Looking back it could not have been easy wrangling all these kids myself included; attempting to hold our attention while teaching us about the elements of art, and principles of design. Mr. Foster was encouraging, while also being realistic, nurturing while being critical, it was a fine line to balance. He showed me a career in art was possible. I dedicate this shoutout to him.
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