Today we’d like to introduce you to Gregory Beylerian.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
My story begins at a very early age where I discovered two things relatively unconsciously.
- I found myself enjoying greatly the process of making things. I was constantly experimenting with materials and dissembling toys then reconstructing them in new ways.
- I noticed very quickly that if I gave my father one of the things I had created for his birthday, Christmas or Father’s day, he would light up with joy. My father was not an affectionate person per se, very busy and strict at times, so finding this access point to his love was tremendous for me. When I look back, it becomes obvious that this dynamic influenced and nurtured my devotion to becoming an artist.
I was accepted to the University of my choice (Rochester Institute of Technology) with the portfolio of those things I made for my father as gifts in my youth. Not one piece was a school art project, as I never took art courses. While at R.I.T. I spent four years exploring diverse mediums and processes and then lived in Milan Italy for two years where I received my Master’s Degree in Art & Design.
After those two beautiful years in Italy, I came back to my hometown of New York City where I apprenticed for Gaetano Pesce for a year in Soho. I was in a phase of my life wondering how to live as an artist in a society that did not present a clear cut path doing so. Gaetano was one of the only inspirations I could find who was merging artistic expression into commerce via architecture, furniture, and design.
Then I felt a calling again, packed what I could on my motorcycle and rode for two weeks, camping every night until I made it to Los Angeles. What my family thought was just a temporary phase became my permanent residence. There was something about LA, I could hear myself, feel my pulse, with no pressure to be any certain way except my way.
I took a break from all the school, and work obligations that had been deemed so important by others and I got jobs working construction, swinging hammers outdoors, learning about concrete and reconstructing homes damaged in the earthquakes. Working with friends outdoors, following the rhythms of the sun, it was a dream actually!
Then I felt the calling again and got a job working for the creative department at Disney Consumer Products for three years, coming up with all kinds of new designs for the six standard characters, Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Pluto, Donald, and Daisy. That was a great time and just like the time in construction, everything I learned while at Disney would become integral to the next steps of my life.
Once again finding myself at a crossroads, I had to decide if I was ready to take the leap and live from my studio full time or do I get another job working for someone else. I chose to listen to my heart and not my fear. Did the fear go away, not quite but the result has been a profoundly beautiful journey that continues to blossom.
I have arranged my studio and mind in such a way that I am absolutely free to pursue what inspires me and captures my interest. This approach has given me the ability to touch a diverse range of mediums, processes, genres, etc. It has not been simple because I love painting, sculpture, photography, music, poetry, video, the list goes on.
I had to reconcile with myself that in a way, I want to live a life that the culture I live in sees as a dozen different careers. So the way I overcome the seemingly impossible task of wearing so many hats is to face my consciousness. By that I mean I practice commitment and to give absolute sustained focus to whatever it is I am working on.
These foundational techniques of my creative process are adopted from a four year period of my life from age 18 to 22 when I devoted my extracurricular time to studying with a Buddhist Shaolin master. It has been the core of his teachings to me that I have adopted into my own art-making process, regardless of medium. Therefore my work has become my meditation process and the best part of that is the practice does not get boring.
So what kind of projects does all this translate into? Well, I have an ongoing series (20 years) based on the Human Form where I merge photography, painting and other mediums with the nude. I have worked on many murals projects in various dimensions and mediums both interior and exterior spaces, private and public. I am a founding member of an experimental musical group called “GregJam” that is releasing an improvisational album on iTunes shortly called “Highland Revolution”.
I often collaborate with children and schools in all age groups to construct permanent 2d and 3d art installations. I have had various solo and group exhibitions where I reveal many of my explorations and usually merge paintings, drawings, photographs, sound and performance art. Commissions also happen somewhat regularly, which have included collaborations with Homeboy Industries to create their coffee table book.
Projects come from unexpected places as I have also been commissioned by The Western Diocese to construct a large scale installation addressing the centennial of The Armenian Genocide. It may be difficult to understand how one person fits the description of working with nudity, the church, children and gang members but like I said earlier, I am simply doing my best to be me and these expressions are a reflection of that.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Perhaps the greatest struggle I have had to contend with is finding my way. To get to a place where the external influences and pressures are not distorting and redirecting my path. Fear is such a powerful influencer, it is hard to imagine taking the path towards exploring one’s dreams (potential in life) without understanding that on some level we have to activate a kind of warrior attitude. I don’t mean violence or aggression, I am referring to the ability of not letting fear redirect ourselves away from what we can become.
It reminds me how it feels at every major crossroads of my life. Fear can always reveal itself in a new form. This is the challenge because when our intellect puts a mask on fear, we do not see it for what it is and unconsciously we self sabotage by avoiding what feels uncomfortable. I think for creatives, fear can be the most destructive obstacle in our lives. It is much easier to knock on a door to sell a vacuum. If the person slams the door in your face, you go to the next house.
However, if that vacuum was something you created with all your heart, one door slam can send you into a traumatic tail spin. Again, that’s why I like the graceful warrior metaphor; it’s not about being tough-skinned, it is about being wise to the truth of your life. If creating is what you love to do, then learn from each experience and move forward. Otherwise, the heart can shrivel up at the first sign of rejection and recede.
I think for those of us who decide to live a creative life, the richness will be determined by the depth of involvement in whatever we do. It is true that we can not control 100% of the world around us but we do have 100% control over ourselves. Those who take responsibility of their actions can better navigate the obstacles.
We’d love to hear more about what you do.
I run a multi-faceted artist studio that works with various mediums and processes, what ever is sparking in the moment. Photography, painting, drawing, sculptural and sound are often integrated with each other using new and evolving technologies. I exhibit new work in galleries from time to time and sell originals and edition pieces that I have archived on my site.
I specialize in the photographic medium and its fusion with traditional paint and drawing mediums using new digital and print technologies. I have been commissioned to create artworks up to 30×40 foot for the interior of buildings or by individuals for art in their homes. I have created new brand Identity imagery for companies like Disney and Jockey and a coffee table book for HomeBoy Industries.
The studio also works with schools as an artist in residence program, collaborating with students ranging in age from 3 to 17, exposing them to the principles and process of the studio, going from concept to completion of murals and a sculpture garden. The studio also regularly works with and contributes to non-profit organizations that are most often related to the well being of children.
Because the human form is a continuous theme of my work for the last 20 years, I am sometimes known for and have received awards from this ongoing evolving series. So private commissions and collaborations with creatives like models, actors and dancers are a regular ongoing activity in the studio.
I would say that what I am most proud of and what sets me apart from others is the same thing. I have made a commitment to explore the possibility of who I am by leveraging my life and my work as one. In this way the process and the artwork are my stepping stones of transformation. My aspiration is to inspire others thru art and contribute to the expansion of awareness.
If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
The problem is not the obstacles of the past, it is the receding from them rather than looking for the possibility. So I would tell myself that whenever I feel fear, do not act from compulsion, instead pay attention and find a way. The heart of a seeker’s life is what I want to nurture within myself always.
- Website: http://www.gregorybeylerian.com
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/gregorybeylerian/