Tell us about yourself, who are you, where are you from, and what do you do?
I’m Carl Beazley, a 26 year old from Reading, England and sometimes I like to mess about with oil paints in my garage.
How did you get started doing what you do?
I felt like I was treading water and not going anywhere. I was lazy and thought that things would change for me without me actually doing anything. I just had one of those moments where I thought I was wasting my life away and things had to change. I had a year when I started painting occasionally in my kitchen out of boredom and they seemed to come out okay so I thought why not try this properly? I cleared out the garage and a year later, I’m still doing it. It’s still very early days and I feel like I’ve got a lot of catching up to do but I think I’ve finally got the right attitude now.
I get inspiration from all sorts of places. I always get inspired by an original vision, something that surprises me. Film is a big influence for me. People get really confused when I say this and don’t understand how I can apply something like film or music to painting. I’m not sure how to explain it either, other than when I watch or hear something brilliant and original, it can instantly give me ideas and it make me want to get creating straight away.
On average it takes about two and a half weeks (around 25 – 40 hours depending how complex the piece is). I find I need to move on quite quickly because my attention span is relatively short and I get bored of things easily so I usually declare a painting finished when I’ve got sick of doing it. There’s always more you can do to a painting and some I look back on and I can spot obvious faults but you just have to stop at a certain point to protect your sanity. I got to keep telling myself that it’s not the little details that count but the overall effect.
It can be quite hard at times. Like anything, some days you won’t want to paint and sometimes you think your getting nowhere and want to give up completely. There’s always a certain amount of discipline needed to keep going. Most of the time I enjoy painting but I’d be lying if I said it’s always pleasurable, especially the days when nothing goes right and you feel like you’re going backwards. But when you finish a painting that you’re happy with and it generates a response from people, it gives you that extra buzz to keep going which can be quite addictive. I get a great amount of pleasure now from actually completing something because I spent so many years getting halfway through things and then giving up, due to either confidence issues or laziness (mostly the latter).
Since I cleared out the garage and have had my own space it’s been amazing the difference it makes. I can be quite a solitary person so I love having an area where I can get away and spend a bit of time with myself. I don’t think I’d work very well around other people. It’s better for me if I keep what I’m doing secret and then just put out the finished thing.
Very selfishly, I just want to please myself. I want to be proud of what I’ve done. I’d love it if eventually, a small group of people thought that I’d created something worthwhile that inspired them. It would also be nice if someone that I admire were to see my work and be excited by it. I can imagine that would be incredibly rewarding, if someone who inspired you thought your work was great.
Mostly really positive. Some of my friends were really surprised that I could paint. They had no idea. Recently though, I was at a party and a man approached me and shook my hand. I didn’t know who he was but he congratulated me on getting a painting into the Royal Academy of Arts and then told me that he really didn’t like my paintings. I like it whenpeople are honest though. My paintings are never going to be everyone’s cup of tea and if they were, I’d definitely feel I was going wrong somewhere, so in a strange way,a negative response like that can actually be quite nice to hear.
Be more confident. I have so many regrets when I was younger due to lack of confidence (I’m still actually wrestling with this to some degree!). Stop being lazy and do more.
I can’t remember any advice that anyone has given me personally but I have learnt a great deal from reading interviews with people I admire. Honest interviews. Ricky Gervais is great source of honest advice. “Remember don’t sit around feeling sorry for yourself. Because no one gives a fuck.” It doesn’t quite have the same poetic ring to it as your average Oscar Wilde quote, but for me, it’s just as useful. He wrote a brilliant little article for Time magazine that I find myself revisiting quite often.Books have been a revelation for me actually. I was never a big reader before. I’m currently reading a book about the film director Robert Rodriguez. I’m not a huge fan of his films but his attitude is incredibly inspiring. He wrote a diary when making his first film El Mariachi and it covers the whole process from getting the idea, earning the money himself, writing the script and actually making the film. You soon realise no one knows what they’re doing starting out, but things can be learnt surprisingly quickly if you have creativity and drive. It’s probably the most inspiring thing I’ve ever read because it’s so simple and honest. It seems people will always try to over complicate things to scare you off from doing something by telling you that you can’t do it, either because: a.) They can’t do it themselves or b.) They can do it but want to feel special and don’t want anyone else to get in on the action. The truth is, if your passionate about something, you’d be surprised how easy it is to start actually doing it.
Yeah just do it……now! It’s never too late. It might take 5, 10, 20 years to get to where you want but you need to start. As long as you do something productive every day you’ll eventually get somewhere. I’m at the first year mark and all I’ve done is about 10 or so average paintings. But it’s 10 more paintings than I had last year and 10 more than I would have had if I had spent the last year sitting on my arse. The fact that I am writing this now, that someone might actually be interested in what I have to say, feels like progress to me.A bad idea that’s actually happened is better than the best idea in the world that’s just in your head because it exists. You learn by doing and subsequently, you learn by your mistakes. You need to get your bad ideas out of the way by actually going through the process of doing them. There’s no other way around it. I’ve found it’s important to ignore someone’s opinion if they aren’t doing anything productive themselves. If you tell someone “I want to make a film” they will instantly laugh at you and tell you you don’t have the skills ect. But skills can be picked up and learnt with determination whereas creativity can’t. I’d much rather watch a film that looks shoddy by a director with a vision rather than a slick looking production that has absolutely no creative substance. But until you put that film in front of them they’ll never believe you (and why should they) So many people say they’re going to do things but never put it into action so it’s only natural to be sceptical.
Well I’m completely self taught but I recently read an article about my work where the person really didn’t like the fact that I said I was completely self taught. I think she thought I was being arrogant when I said I taught myself and that I thought I was too good already to learn anything. But that’s really not it, I think she was missing the point. I just want to tell other people out there that it is possible to do things another way if art school isn’t an option. I am eager to learn. I just don’t want to learn the same way as everyone else. I want to learn by mistakes and pick and choose who to take advice from. With the internet you can learn what you like, from where you like. It’s amazing how many people will accuse you of being arrogant just because you’re trying to do something a different way to them.Sometimes I think some (not all) people who went to University thought all they had to do was turn up and you would become and successful. It’s not true. You need to turn up and working fucking hard. Otherwise someone who didn’t go to art school and works fucking hard will soon be doing what you wanted to do, and you’ll be moaning about it.
What’s your dream project?As you’ve probably guessed, I would love to make a film. But until I go out there and actually do it people wont take me seriously. In fact, people will probably be reading this right now and think I’m pretty deluded. But the thing is exactly that. I will just go out there and do it and work with what I’ve got whereas some people might wait until they’ve got the respect of other people to give them the go ahead. If I make a film by myself with limited resources and it turns out shit (which it probably will), then so be it. I want to die knowing that I gave everything I wanted to do a go, with what I had available to me at that time. That’s all I can ask of myself. I don’t want to be whinging that I was never given the opportunity. I want to be proud that I made an opportunity for myself that wasn’t initially there.
I started by using really cheap oil paints that cost £2.99 for a box and painted on small canvases from a pound shop. Since I’ve started painting bigger I’ve upgraded to Windsor and Newton oil paints which are the cheapest good quality option. I recently had an audition for a BBC series where I was sat on a table with other amateur artists and a few of them were discussing what brushes they used. One of them said he has a brush that cost him £40 and it only lasts him a couple of paintings. I wasn’t sure if I should bring up the fact that mine cost £3 for a pack of 6 or not. Materials are the most unimportant part in my opinion. If you have something that can make a mark on something else, that’s good enough. I’ve seen some incredible things created using just a biro and a bit of paper. That’s the great thing about art, it costs basically nothing to do. If people say “Yeah, but I haven’t got the right equipment, I can’t afford it, I have no time ect.” it’s because they can’t be bothered to put the effort in. I used to make excuses like this all the time and it got me nowhere.
Be less contrived. It seems like there is always a certain order to the art industry. But that’s just the way it is, the people at the top control it and everyone else follows. It’s a weird place. People will only be interested in your work if someone else is interested in it. It is cliquey and it is snobby but I’ve got tired of hearing all that. It is what it is.I’ve actually stopped entering competitions that are judged by art critics or artists. A pattern was starting to emerge. I find when a competition is judged by the general public or non art people,you get a much fairer and honest outcome. I’ve learnt if you have to pay a fee to enter a competition, it’s not worth entering. If your work is original, there will always be an audience for it, no matter how small that audience might be or how long it takes you to reach them. But the art industry will never change. It will always be a fickle place.