Dave Harding / Pixel Collages

I met Dave almost 8 years ago when I worked for ArtsQuest in Bethlehem. Back then I only knew him as a Producer at a local company. He and his team did amazing work turning our boring volunteer training videos into something fun, silly and bright, but still very educational. Now, years later, Dave and I have had the opportunity to reconnect through our mutual friend Dr. Ryan Scharadin who owns and operates Valley Primary Eye Care. Ryan is a huge supporter of the arts and opened his office to all local artist wishing to exhibit. There he runs a small but impressive rotating collection of unique and local artists.

Dave lives with his family in Bethlehem, PA and still works as a Producer and Videographer full time. It’s amazing how much art he creates despite raising a family and working long hours. His work is incredibly meticulous and truly a feat in organized chaos. His ability to pick out panels from old comics to get the colors he needs is uncanny! Check out his page to learn more about his philosophy as an artist and creative professional. You can also find his Etsy shop here, visit his Facebook page here, or check out his instagram right here.

Willie Alsedek / Woolly Willie

Deep in the jungle of Philadelphia, where rats are the size of toddlers and houses are made from pizza boxes, I met an oddly shaped man with deeply dark eyes. He drew a long shadow across the ground cascading off the curb and spilling into the street like tendrils of black ink. I stood there, motionless, tense. A rabbit watching the shadow of a hawk swooping down upon it. I could flee, or I could stay and bask in this strange darkness…mesmerized. I chose to stay; to let this presence descend upon my mind. To drive my sanity to the brink of shattering! But when the man who cast his shadow finally revealed himself to me, it was not darkness that I found. It was vibrance, it was the illumination of being alive. The bright beautiful colors of infinite possibilities within infinite other, stranger, and more wonderful possibilities.

This is the easiest way for me to honor and explain my friendship with Willie Alsedek. A person who I’ve come to call one of my closest friends and most kindred spirits. He’s also the kid who slept through my Video Engineering class in college, and who ignored and joked about the professors in almost every class. I felt contempt for him when I first met him. A stranger who had no respect for the institution of higher education, someone who thought he was above it. Someone who I thought didn’t deserve to be there. At least, that’s what I let myself believe.

I couldn’t have been more wrong in my assumptions.

Over time, we continued to criss-cross in our majors and find each other to be scheduled in the same class. I ended up getting paired with Willie on a project and it was then that I realized why he slept in class and ignored most of the teachers. They didn’t give a shit, first of all…But more importantly once I had the opportunity to work creatively with him I discovered that he was a secret genius, and one of the most perceptive human beings I have ever met. His varied talents and creativity along with an extreme passion for writing heavy and thought-provoking stories and sketches had inspired me to push myself in ways that I never had the audacity to do.

Willie and I eventually became friends, and then roommates, and then a creative powerhouse. In our loft apartment in Northeast Philadelphia, we began creating alter egos for a concept show. We then wrote, directed and edited our own (shortly lived) web series with the help of our incredibly talented and creative friends. We drew and painted collaborative works, played music together to form a terrible and hilarious band. We actually even wrote a rock opera and performed it at a tiny music festival (read: friend’s backyard) to the raucous applause of one drunk middle aged woman and a lot of blank stares.

It was the height of my college years. It was my creative renaissance. And it was where the idea for Beard Brains Studio was first formed. Surrounded by creative people, all helping each other on various school or professional projects. Everyone together, working in their own amazing way to create something unique and profound absolutely changed my life.

It’s been a very long time since those memories were first formed. My good friend Willie’s focus remains the same in all aspects of his creativity. Pouring out artwork in so many mediums I can hardly keep up. I am beyond excited to share his work with you all, and to hopefully have an impact on helping him get to a larger audience. Which is the sentiment I carry for every Artist that we feature.

Please stop by Willie’s Bio Page to see a sample of his work. He also sells his Tarot card deck on Etsy and has a Vimeo page where you can find a growing list of his film work and production reels.

Back From The Dead

OK, so after taking a 4 month break for health reasons, I’m finally back! And holy crap, I have a lot of catching up to do.

All of our amazing contributors have been working their butts off making new pieces and I can’t wait to share them with you! In the next few months we’ll be bringing live stream events and new contributors. As well as give-aways from some of our favorite artists and even instagram take-overs where our artists will steal the account for 24 hours to post all kind of inspiration of their own.

I’d like to thank all our loyal followers! Please keep liking, sharing, and commenting on our instagram page as well as our contributors’ pages. Every little bit helps.

Your Beard-Brained Friend,

Chris

Allison Jacobs / Daydreamer Alley

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Before we go on a little break for the holiday, I want to welcome another amazing artist to the Fellowship! Please say hello to Allison Jacobs of Daydreamer Alley! Don’t forget to stop by her profile to check out some great pieces!

I met Alli in college, at a LOST viewing party in her boyfriend’s apartment. I can remember it clearly, because that day would change my own course significantly. Alli was one of many people I would meet in Philadelphia who not only had a unique and impressive set of artistic skills, but someone who was so positive and so bright that it honestly changed my life.

Soon after that party, I began to hang out with this large group of creatives. We all bonded significantly and for the most part are all still in contact today. What I learned from Alli and her friends, I would later discover that she was also figuring out; and that was that we all inspired each other.

In Alli’s own words, “It wasn't until the summer before my senior year when I started dating my boyfriend (who coincidentally sat next to me in high school art classes!), that I found my love of art again. He was a student at the Art Institute in Philadelphia and so were his four roommates and friends, so their collective creative energy just fueled my own. His encouragement and support, along with being surrounded by amazingly talented individuals, inspired me to do what I love.”

Her sentiments are not lost on me, and that is why the entire idea of Beard Brain Studio and the Fellowship program were conceived in college. I credit everything I do today to that group of people. I was fortunate enough to recognize the same thing Alli did; that people need inspiration and a little help sometimes. Finding a group of people who can inspire you can change everything. And that’s why we’re here. I hope to bring more and more people together who believe in this idea, who can support one another and inspire each other.

Justin Alsedek / Gypsea Arts

I’m very pleased to announce yet another Fellowship Artist, Justin Alsedek! You can check out his work and profile here.

Our first member to be located in another state, Justin is currently living and working in Ocala, Florida. From pastels to oils and graphite, Justin is the embodiment of a Fine Art enthusiast.

I have had the great fortune of seeing Justin in action and it is a magical experience. Not only does he quickly craft life-like portraits, but seeing him in a studio environment is something else altogether. I can clearly remember the first time I saw Justin work on something large-scale. He was working in a temporary garage studio at the time, blasting Philip Glass and painting with such enthusiasm and passion that I sat down and watched him for a solid hour, at the very least.

Justin is a free-spirit; laughing and dancing while he works, it has always been an absolute pleasure talking to him. His positive attitude is obvious in all of his work. It is bright, it is bold and it is beautiful.

Instagram: @gypsea_arts

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Gypsea-Arts

Melissa Reinbold / Mellen Made

Introducing our latest member, Mellen! Check out her profile here.

I’ve known Mellen for a few years now. She’s always impressed me with her unique and colorful illustrations. I’ve collected a ton of her stickers (available on her etsy!) and plastered one of my favorite coffee tables with them. I have always felt that her thoughtful yet simple designs would be perfect for tattooing, so when she announced her apprenticeship I was so excited! As of right now, I only have 1 tattoo designed by Mellen, but I plan on getting a few more.

What I appreciate most about Mellen’s work is how clean and crisp her lines are, and how bold her coloring can be. Mellen’s images make me happy and I absolutely love that about her style.

Instagram: @MellenMade

Website: http://mellenmade.com

Etsy: www.etsy.com/shop/MellenMade

Nicole Gencarelli / Osseous Embroidery

New member alert!

I am thrilled to announce Nicole Gencarelli as our newest featured artist! Nicole has been a visionary her entire life. Not only has she been creating incredible and beautiful embroidery pieces, but she is also a curator for several spaces here in the Lehigh Valley.

Nicole’s expert vision is something I was drawn to immediately. Every piece she creates has such incredible and thoughtful detail. What Nicole can create with a needle and thread is something to be marveled at. Along with her unique visual appeal, Nicole also backs her work up with thought-provoking questions and asks you as the viewer to step into her mind. Her appreciation for all things philosophical and scientific is clear in every piece.

”Most of my work focuses on questions related to consciousness, thought processes, and the role of science in expanding or contradicting philosophical ideas connected to these themes.”

If you’d like to check out Nicole’s many mediums and various pieces, you can find her at the following locations:

Instagram: @osseousembroidery / @nicolegencarelli

Website: https://nicolegencarelliart.weebly.com / https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/OsseousEmbroidery

Lauren Story / L2 Creations

Please welcome Lauren Story, a New Jersey native and local jewelry designer. Lauren has been creating truly amazing and one-of-a-kind pieces for her clients since 2014. 

Recently I sat down with Lauren to ask her some question about her work and her inspiration.

 

Q: When had you first thought about designing and creating your own jewelry?

It's funny, I actually tried when I was about 12 years old and didn't enjoy it! I needed to learn a little patience and do some growing before I was able to appreciate something so intricate. 

 

Q: Who inspires you the most, in your personal and professional life?

I have been able to become a part of a pretty incredible network of women that really inspire me. It is a mix of small business owners and creative power houses. They are friends who love and support me more than I could have asked for - you all know who you are. 

 

Q: What is it about Bethlehem that made you decide to have your business here?

Bethlehem has such a rich community of artists and small businesses - especially on the South Side. It's been really cool, watching it grow and becoming a part of it. There is a strong support system here. 

 

Q: Are there any jewelry designers that you find exceptional or who you'd want to collaborate with if you could?

There is actually a fair trade organization called Noonday Collection that works to create opportunities for artisans all around the world. Their style is so different from mine, and I think it would be so cool to figure out how to work together to join the styles and to support their mission. 


Q: What is your favorite part of creating jewelry?

Fire and hammers! No, just kidding. I actually really love how personal creating jewelry can be. Not even just for a custom order, though that is something I love to do, but people put a lot of time and thought into choosing these pieces. It is part of their self expression, and it is really cool that I get to help cultivate that. 

 

That's it for the interview, thanks for stopping by and be sure to check out Lauren's website and online store to see more of her pieces! You can also follow her Instagram account @l2_Creations to find out where her next pop-up show will be.

Harold Siegfried

We have added another Artist to the Fellowship this week! Painter and woodworker Harold Siegfried joins us from Bethlehem, PA. Harold's story is an incredible journey of hardships and personal triumphs. His artistic work is a mix of seascapes, touching scenes about Military Veterans, and mind-bending abstract visual puzzles. A truly versatile artist, Harold seeks to learn as much as he can about his passions and works tirelessly to accomplish his goals.

I met Harold during my time as the Volunteer Manager for ArtsQuest in Bethlehem, PA. He originally came to us seeking volunteer work as part of his housing arrangement in a local VA shelter. During that time, Harold and I had many opportunities to speak at length and I was immediately taken in by his story and his inspiring personality. Harold eventually told me that he used to draw and paint, but over the years his struggles with mental illness had forced him to put other things in his life first, things that he was not passionate about. He wanted to get back into it, but just couldn't find the inspiration.

One of the things I appreciate most about Harold is that he is an extremely open and honest person. Through weeks of sharing his life story with me, I learned so much about this beautiful person and his desire to be healthy and happy. I was also struggling internally at the time with my own artistic block. But we encouraged each other to put our creative selves forward, to stop procrastinating, and to start creating. Harold got involved with us more and more, and soon he began socializing with other volunteers and coming to the First Friday events at the Banana Factory. Once he opened himself up, he started creating new work. He engaged other artists and found a fellowship of people who not only supported him as an artist, but who had a profoundly positive impact on him.

Today, Harold lives in his own apartment with a full studio and a beautiful backyard which he completely landscaped himself. He cares for a young black Lab named Phalen, who is also his service dog and who Harold himself trained. Harold is not only an amazing artist, but he's a testament to what we can do as human beings when we work hard and seek out positive influences. I'm proud to call Harold my friend, and I'm inspired by him on a daily basis.

Alex Feliciani

Please join me in welcoming our first Fellowship Artist, Alex Feliciani!

Alex uses mixed mediums to bring insanely vibrant and powerful images onto canvas. He paints with watercolors, inks, markers, spray paint and just about anything else he can get his hands on. His infusion of pop culture with his own style is inventive and unpredictable. I can't wait to see what he brings to the table in 2019 as we assemble this team of awesome artists!

On a personal note, Alex is a dear friend of mine. I met Al in Philadelphia while I was studying the lost medium of analog Video Production at the dismal Art Institute. As much as I found next to no value in my academic curriculum, I did meet amazing people. Folks like Alex, who inspired me to work hard despite my frustrations with the teachers and their lazy and outdated attitudes.

Alex is a force of positive energy that never lets up. He's the definition of a hard-worker, taking on a prolific amount of creative work while also holding down a physically demanding day job. He pushes his personal comfort zone with every new piece and I can honestly say that he's been a massive inspiration for me to do the same. 

Check out Alex's work here, on his instagram, or his own personal site, where you can even purchase prints! 

- Chris Stubbe

Getting Started

Welcome to the News & Updates section of Beard Brains Studio! Here we will be talking about upcoming opportunities for artists as well as projects that are on the horizon.

The month of June is an exciting one for me. I've just officially launched my Studio and have set in motion something that I think is truly wonderful. Ever since I was in college, I have wanted to form a Super Group of artists. I envisioned myself working with a team of extraordinary people with similar visions. People who lend their talents to work collaboratively on incredible and thought-provoking projects. 

That dream is Beard Brains Studio. And even though right now it's just a glimpse of that vision, with your help I believe that we can get there. And perhaps become something even bigger in the process.

In the meantime, here are the three goals that I've established for Bread Brains Studio and all who would join me on this great journey:

  • Form a small group (10-20) who will work together on large-scale projects, such as: 
    • Finding and procuring mural opportunities
    • Helping with community outreach
    • Pop-up / group exhibitions
    • Social pop-up events (showcasing a large group of artists during a social event open to the general public)
  • Meetings with this group will be held quarterly to discuss said projects, share personal work, and offer help to one another when needed. For example:
    • Group critique events (like a writer's group where we all give input to one another)
    • Hanging assistance for a show, building canvases, or framing
    • Tracking down models or an available space to shoot
    • Peer to peer marketing (forming a network of support for one another's events and works on social media and beyond)
  • And finally, to facilitate and identify any new artists who need mentoring or assistance. 

Those are the 3 main goals but it's going to be so much more than that. I've already begun to talk with friends and artists I've known throughout the years and we are very excited to get started.

On another note; we will also be having guest bloggers take over the site, as well as our instagram account! It's open to anyone who wants to talk about their passions, talents, upcoming shows or even to explain your process behind a specific piece.  But most of all, we hope that you share something personal about your work. It's my dream to see people coming to the site for encouragement by reading about what we have gone through and hopefully feeling a little less daunted by their own struggles. If you're interested in getting involved, send me some information about what you do and what you'd like to talk about at our Contacts page.

Thanks for stopping by!

-Chris Stubbe

Official Launch!

Thank you to every friend and family member who helped me establish Beard Brains Studio...I could not have gotten this far without your support!

I'm so excited to start a new adventure! It is my hope that this company grows into a meaningful and impactful collective. If you're a new and emerging artist and you want to find like-minded artists to work with, please contact us! Our network is growing every day!

That said, we are a new community network full of artists who volunteer our time in hopes of something bigger. Please be prepared to show us a portfolio upon contact. We also ask for your patience with our response times!

-Chris Stubbe