We Are Animals:
An Art Experience of Unhinging Wisdom & Surprising Beauty
We Are Animals: An Art Experience of Unhinging Wisdom & Surprising Beauty
Artwork of Dan & Drew Beam and Susan Routledge
Drew Beam, Dan Beam and Susan Routledge are three award winning Gualala artists (Including Best in Show, Best in Category, People’s Choice and Judges Awards from The Gualala Arts). Not surprisingly they are good friends who have teamed up to create this unusually re-connective type of art show.
This exhibit showcases a wide display of the rich animal life we are blessed to witness along the Mendonoma Coast, and through-out the world! The artists have created an immersive experience engaging the senses through sight, sound, and in other unexpected ways. Each visual art piece depicts animals (be they abstract or representational, realistic or imaginatively crafted) accompanied with uniquely expressed stories, facts, poems, humor and arrestingly surprising messages that enhance the experience of the visual artistry.
The artists’ intention is to open people to the experience of being animal—Creatures big and small, land ramblers and sea dwellers, wind travelers and tree climbers, even those who put on shirts and hats, come together to convey the connection of us coastal dwellers to local and global animal life. The visual images (photos, paintings, watercolors, pencil, ink, charcoal, collage, constructed and deconstructed) combine with the art of language to connect animal and human to the natural world and our collective, universally shared sense of belonging.
As the artists have stated, “we wish to subvert the distance between all of us who are known as animals. When we return to the animal world, we return to the animal body of ourselves and know ourselves again, for the first time. The animal body, the primary instrument of all of our knowing, can be understood in new ways when we experience the knowing instruments of our animal kin. We believe that people will leave the exhibit with deepened feelings of compelling relationship…to themselves as well as to our animal teachers.”
Susan E. Routledge
Susan was born in rural Northumberland, England, close to the Scottish border and the English Lake District. She was brought up with a love of country life that she captures in her paintings. After studying at Newcastle College of Art, she worked as a watercolor artist for Halcyon Days of London, which has the royal appointment as suppliers of objets d’art to Her Majesty the Queen.
In 1981 she came to California where she now lives and works. She is a Master Artist Member of the California Watercolor Association and has studied under the late local artist, Jade Fon, as well as Tom Nicholas, Gerald Brommer, Betty Lynch, Frank Webb, Irving Shapiro, Leo Smith and Carrie Burns-Brown. She is the recipient of several “champagne awards” from Asilomar. Each summer Susan returns to England, where she spends time sketching and painting scenes of English country life.
A lover of strong dynamic colors Routledge enjoys challenging herself with complicated images and various textures. She has been invited to participate in many national shows such as the San Diego Watercolor Society International exhibition, the Springfield Museum of Fine Arts exhibition in Massachusetts and the Sausalito Arts Festival.
Susan received the first-place award in the California Watercolor Association’s twenty-fifth annual open watercolor exhibition and has received numerous awards from various artistic institutions. Her paintings are included in many private and corporate collections. Susan’s most recent work reflects her love of the scenic beauty of northern California and the Mendocino coast where she now has her studio.
The emotional attachment of the coast is clearly found in Drew Beam. “I am humbly awed and in gratitude for the blessings of our coast. It is this awe and gratitude that informs my painting. I am both comforted and enlivened by creating art on the coast. For me, painting is a spiritual and emotional journey . . . like going to church or traveling quietly in solitude through nature.”
As a San Francisco artist who has been coming up to the Gualala area all of his life, Drew Beam has deep ties to the Mendonoma Coast. He recently returned to his passion for fine art and has begun to paint again after years focused in other art forms and working in the world of brand strategy and identity design.
The winning of Best in Show and People’s Choice awards at recent Gualala Arts shows reaffirmed for Drew that fine art is a calling that he now must answer. He graduated with a BFA in illustration, classical painting, glass sculpture and print making from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in 1999. He has also been an art teacher. Currently he’s a Brand Strategist/Brand Identity Consultant working with iconic brands, start-up businesses and non-profits and foundations involved in major social and environmental change.
Having fallen in love with the Gualala area in the early 80’s, Dan and his wife now live on the Coast just north of Gualala. The awakening sounds of barking sea lions and cawing seagulls on the islands in front of their home become a call to participate in the continuing dance of animal life in this rare and wonderful world of beauty. It is here that Dan’s art has most come alive.
All art, by necessity, is abstract but its reality and relevance are determined by where and how it ignites the felt imagination. Dan’s art is about igniting the felt experience of inquiry-to-imagination. Art first enters the body of feeling with a presence that calls for active inquiry, inquiry that often travels to the future and the past with equal alacrity, opening the space for imagination to explore. From this place of imagination, the viewer completes the creation.
It was this inquiry-to-imagination process that attracted many artists, and artists-to-be, in San Francisco and the Gualala area to come to his studios in both places and over the last several years, Dan has co-created art for exhibits that showcased these unique collaborations.
In addition to bringing his art to collectors, Dan teaches the art of collaboration and the power of borderless creativity to many of the most iconic brands and future shaping enterprises and universities in the world. His enterprise transformation consulting company, co-led with his wife Meredith, is dedicated to creating value and enriching life through transformation. To Dan, art, human enterprise and life itself are one borderless realm of creativity.