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Meet Visual Artist: Beau Patrick Coulon

Today we’d like to introduce you to Beau Patrick Coulon.

Beau Patrick, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
My story is a convoluted one but I’ll try to summarize as best I can. I grew up bouncing back and forth between my parents like a pinball. California, Florida, California, Oklahoma, California, Oklahoma, and on and on until I moved out on my own, to the streets of Hollywood, when I was 13. I lived in squats mostly, hitching and riding freight from city to city. In my 20s I spent more of my time living in hospitals, jails, and rehabs. But that got old eventually. More recently I’ve been trying to change my life in positive ways. I’ve “slowed my roll” as they say. It took me some time to figure out how to use my energy in more constructive ways, how to help others, not just myself. And of course, a lot of my time and energy these days is spent doing photography, or printmaking, or working on little film projects with friends.

Has it been a smooth road?
Not smooth at all. I struggled, and still struggle, with a lot. I grew up a latch-key kid. Parents divorced. Dropped out of school in Jr High. Was homeless on and off for over a decade. Childhood abuses. No financial support. Struggled with drug and alcohol addiction. Chronic Illnesses. Incarcerated more times than I can easily count… But I’m a white male in America, and “luckily” I was able to survive all that somehow. Nowadays my daily struggles are different than they once were. I still have to hustle to make ends meet and all that but I’m not rotting away in prison, or 6 feet under, like so many “war on drugs” casualties from my era. So um, I can’t complain much.

What is the most difficult part of what you do?
Right now I feel like the hardest part for me is promotion. I wish someone else could do that part for me. I find it simultaneously unavoidable and soul killing. I could spend years making what someone might consider “beautiful art,” and then finally set up an exhibition, frame everything, buy the nice cheese platter or what have you, but if I don’t promote it right no-one will ever know. It’ll amount to a colossal waste of time. If I’m doing an exhibit, I have to get a press release done, send out invites, email & text people, make numerous social media posts, hopefully, get some articles written about what I’m doing, blah blah blah, all this stuff to try and create some buzz. None of it has anything to do with “making art” and it’s all terribly boring in my opinion. I mean, who wants to spend that much energy hyping yourself or your own art? It might sound weird to say in an interview but I tend to loathe people who talk about themselves a lot.

How do you define success?
I define success or failure by how challenges are faced, but it’s all pretty relative. Some days I feel like a success for getting out of bed in the morning, some days I feel like a success just for having a bed.

What are your plans for the future?
You know I’m real concerned there isn’t going to be much of a future the way things are going. And I wonder if photography or visual art will have a role in my life “post civ,” but in the meantime I’m working on a photo book and I plan to continue seeing and learning what all I can see and learn in this life.

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