New York 2015 - Carlyn Beaver

Carlyn Beaver

A Lifetime, 2015

Acrylic Painting
32” x 32”

I left this piece’s tale to be interpreted by whomever views it. With every story being very different, whether it is from reminiscence to viewing it as a whole lifetime spent and grown around world’s classic beverage, coffee, one is aging with the unique flavour it holds and how it has all advanced yet stayed the same in heart and memory. 
New York 2015 - Carlyn Beaver

Interview with Carlyn Beaver

Q. When did you start painting?

A. I beleive the first time I actually ever really painted was not until the age of fourteen. I did not do much, if any, art work until I entered high school and had a study hall with an art teacher. This art teacher noticed something I clearly did not, and pushed me to excellence. The importance of this is that I realized I could be good at something that not only is something I enjoy, but can also effect people in strange ways.
Q. Why did you choose acrylic as your medium for this piece?

A. When I first started painting I used acrylic and loved how much I could build onto a piece, layer by layer, quickly. I am a very fast worker when it comes to painting, even though what I do is definitely tedious, once I get “in the zone” it is very hard to get out. For this reason I will spend eighteen hours or more of a day working on the same thing, with no breaks, and will sometimes be so caught up I will forget I have to eat and sleep. I have tried using oil paint several of times and I just do not get the same contrasting effect as I would with acrylic. Oil blends much easier, which to some may seem easier, but I enjoy definite shapes and the texture of a face may not be as smooth as oil would make it to be.
Q. What inspired you to create your piece ‘A Lifetime’?

A. I had many ideas for what I was going to create for The Coffee Art Project, and it was just before I was about to paint I had an idea. It started off as the fact, why not paint something I find interesting and bring it to life? For a couple months I did a study on elderly people and just found something beautiful in the way their skin has so much more definition and memory than the youth. With that, I knew the old man, that I would soon be painting, would be holding a coffee cup. I tried to capture the emotion in his face of reminisce and how each and every sip of coffee, although in the same place as he has been for years, is extraordinarily different. I tried to capture the memories this man has remembered with a simple hung photograph on the wall. My idea started out as just a younger version of himself, but then with the expression of something displeasing him on this younger man’s face, brought me further back to what he was remembering. At this point, I was at a young child, perhaps trying coffee for the first time, always wondering what the “adult” rave was about. You can see this in the excitement on his face, almost seeming very antsy, and thinking about this is the moment that he can finally taste what he has been thinking about all this time. This brings to the final image, a cup of coffee. The coffee is a web of memories, the taste bringing back every moment, and even with different flavors or textures there is always like and unlike memories that carry through until the final moments.
Q. What is your creative process like?

My creative process is very strange compared to some that I have heard. Ideas normally just come into my mind when I see something I like and I then morph it together with something I already know. With these two mixtures I find a connecting point and find ways to add details that support the story that I am trying to tell. My creative process has definitely advanced since I started college a month and a half ago, as it seems much more broad and I am already beginning to view the world much differently that I have before. It is a mysterious sensation because I not only feel it in my mind but visually I see lines, reflections, colors, and everything around them so different. I am fascinated on how my creative process will grow even more than it already has throughout the next few years and even my lifetime.
Q. How has your style changed over the years?

A. I can remember being very young, around the age of four, and drawing circles with four lines coming out as limbs and a big smiley face in the center. This may seem silly, but it was the start of a beautiful creative process and makes me realize how I see things completely different (I now notice that people have necks and bodies, not just a circle for everything) since I have grown up. Since high school was my turning point of me truly being an artist, it started off with skulls… and a lot of them. Almost all of my work in ninth grade was skulls. This included drawings, acrylic paintings, sculptures, and even just doodles. In tenth grade I started leaning towards sceneries but quickly realized after several unfinished works, it just was not my thing. I had a very difficult year in eleventh grade and my escape was art. This was the ultimate turning point in my life because I could not beleive something could help me feel so much better that was completely natural. For awhile I planned on becoming a Chemical Engineer and then I decided maybe Computer Science. I applied to several schools for this major but it was not until February of senior year, a week before college application deadlines, I decided I needed to pursue art. Art was a remedy for all the pain I felt and I could not throw that away. How far art has gotten me not only with the actual works I have made itself, but the emotion I put into it and how it builds me to be a better person, could not be left behind.
Q. What do you believe is a key element in creating a good composition?

A. Good compositions could be absolutely any idea or medium but I think it is the message that gets across to the viewer that matters most. It does not always have to be literal, like a painting of a human that looks like a human, but the way someone represents humanity. My goal as an artist is to not have someone look at my art and think it is just what it is, but I want there to be mystery and thoughts running through the viewer’s mind questioning every aspect of what is happening.
Q. What are your favourite things to do when you’re not painting or drawing?

A. This question really made me smile since it reminds me of questions when I was younger and the fact that I am still pretty young now. My absolute favorite thing to do though, is to try new things. Just beginning college, I find myself trying new things extremely often. Once I do this a number of times, I get bored of it. This boredom only brings me to try more new things which is amazing because this negative reaction sparks a positive. I often find myself doing this when painting too, painting things I do not like and scratching it only to realize what I actually love.
Q. How does it feel to be the winner of The Coffee Art Project NYC 2015?

A. Hearing my name announced as the winner was something I will never forget. The rush of emotions I felt will always come rushing back to me when I think about it. My father screamed and I could not even say anything when I heard and all that came out was tears. I could not possibly be more thankful for all the support I was given from my parents, family and friends. This is the beginning of something amazing in my life and I cannot wait to see where else the world takes me. This occurrence itself reminds me of my painting, “A Lifetime”, that one day I am going to look back at all of my moments in life and remember where I came from and where it all changed. That moment starts here and I could not be more thankful to have been a part of it.
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