Sean Beagan is one creative dude. From comedy to filmmaking and even painting, he follows his inspiration and he keeps going until he has something meaningful to deliver. He believes every creative endeavor requires an audience and a reaction. With his art, he likes to leave the interpretation open to the viewer. And although that can be a vulnerable thing to do, Beagan loves to see how people connect with his work outside of his vision as an artist.
First thing you do in the morning?
I kiss my wife, and grab some coffee. Then I think about going to the gym and once I realize that’s not happening on a belly-full of coffee, I feel like I’ve procrastinated enough and start painting.
Last book you read?
The last book I read was Civilized to Death: The Price of Progress by Christopher Ryan. It was a great read about what the modern condition can cost us, not just as individuals, but as a species. I’ve been recommending it to everyone.
Weirdest thing in your fridge right now?
I keep my skincare in the fridge. Reusable eye patches, serums, lotions. I don’t know if you can tell but I’m actually 74 years old.
One thing every artist should own?
A dedicated workspace; and to me a work space can be anything that is set up specifically for creating artwork. I have used everything from a cardboard box in a hallway that I kept my paint in and leaned the canvas on in lieu of an easel, that had to be set up and broken down every day, to a kitchen counter with drawers meant for silverware that I filled with paint and brushes. I feel pretty lucky now that I have a corner in a studio apartment, with a legit desk made for painting.
Current favorite Netflix show(s)?
These two aren’t on Netflix but… Ted Lasso is a beam of positivity; if people acted like that in the real world, we’d live in a better society. Also I watch a lot of Boy Meets World… like every night before bed it’s on.
Best advice you’ve received?
For any creative endeavor: keep going.
When people hear “keep going,” they may think that’s just for the bad times. And yes, if you get a harsh critique or a rejection from a gallery, keep on going. But it’s also for the good times too. If you get an award, or if you get accepted into a gallery it’s easy to stop and feel a sense of being finished. I think you should acknowledge the good things, and be in that moment. But then get back to work and keep going.
How did you get your start as an artist?
I’ve always been a creative dude from stand up comedy to filmmaking, I’ve always wanted to make something meaningful. I’ve been painting for years and selling art while working various day jobs. When COVID hit, I had already quit my job anticipating an upcoming move to a new city and I didn’t feel comfortable working around other people. So I thought okay, you’ve been handed a few weeks before you have to get a job and you can really focus on art and what comes with art: marketing, shipping, navigating online platforms. During that time, it became financially viable in a way that just wasn’t possible before.
Other (hidden or not) talents?
I’m a filmmaker with two feature length films. My distributor put my first film GUFFPUNCH on Youtube this year and I self-promoted my second one THE FLOWER TAPES on Youtube as well. I’m glad these films are on Youtube because any work I put out, I try to have accessibility as a fore-front goal. I’m also a stand up comedian. I’ve done a few grassroots-DIY tours throughout America and Europe which has been an awesome way to travel.
Do you think you’re a better artist or comedian?
I think I go through phases where I feel like I’m more one than the other. But I strive to do them both well without shortchanging the other. They both require an audience and a reaction. Comedy is more immediate and requires a direct reaction whereas art is more gradual and the reaction is open to interpretation.
Are there any similarities in your creative process when it comes to painting and writing for comedy?
Yes – everything starts with a nugget of inspiration and knowing to follow that inspiration. Knowing how to mold it, and shape it into something you can present to an audience. Both with a joke or a canvas, once you put it out there it can be pretty vulnerable. I feel like both mediums have taught me the power of knowing when something needs to be retooled and the power of knowing when you have something completed.
How would you describe your style of art?
To the academic, I would say my artwork is a bit of neo-expressionism and hints of cubism and surrealism. But when I’m talking to people that don’t know a lot about art, I would say I paint normal things weirdly with really bright colors.
What are the tools you work with the most?
When it comes to my artwork I’m very simple. My tools are acrylic paint, canvas, and old brushes that I think should be cleaned more. But because I’m an artist in 2023 – the internet is a huge tool. I don’t know how the algorithm works and am probably doing it wrong but I’m constantly trying to draw attention to my art and promote it on social media.
What is your favorite subject matter to paint?
I love painting human faces but with bright colors that twist and turn, never holding a specific emotion or thought. The art makes the viewer interpret what they are contemplating. Also there’s always a lot of eyes, from the Eye of Horus in Egypt to the Third Eye in Buddhism, the more eyes the better.
Does your work tell a story, or do you prefer the observer to interpret for themselves?
I like to give the viewer the tools to connect their own dots when they interact with my art pieces. I definitely use specific symbolism to give an idea of what I’m trying to communicate, like occultism and psychedelic imagery. Sometimes a viewer will nail the narrative that I was trying to get across but often they give me insight that I didn’t aim for, but it still really fits the piece. I love to see how people connect with my work outside of my vision as an artist.
What do you hear most about your work that really surprises you?
I’ve heard every comparison from 80’s skateboards, to Spencer’s black light posters. It goes back to people having their own interpretation of what I was trying to convey, they connected the dots and found their own narrative in the work
What do you love most about what you do?
The feeling of starting with a blank canvas and creating art that connects to someone is incredible. I also love the freedom to express myself. Being able to work from home, doing something I love, creating work that I’m proud of, is an amazing feeling.
Urgh the shame… My Etsy and instagram can be found by searching SKBEAGAN on the internet. My movies are called The Flower Tapes and Guffpunch and they can be found on Youtube. I also run The Brunch Comedy Show that starts at 1:30pm at Wide Right on the 2nd and 4th Sunday of the month. Shame over.