INTERVIEW: Erik S. Beehn

Danielle Kelly is an artist and writer based in Las Vegas, Nevada. Kelly’s project-based practice ranges from installation to performance and has been featured in solo and group exhibitions in Los Angeles, Seattle, Las Vegas, San Francisco, and Portland. Kelly’s writing has appeared in such regional publications as Las Vegas Weekly and Desert Companion. Kelly is the Executive Director and Curator of the Neon Museum. She has done a series of interviews with artists with ties to Las Vegas for celebration of our music issue.

What is your relationship to sound in the studio?

My relationship to sound in the studio, I find that the surrounding sounds such as the elevated train that runs along my building, or the sounds of others working in their individual spaces, is motivating. I find the studio to be a fairly private experience, but the sounds, specifically the sounds that come from outside make me feel like I am not alone, and act as a reminder that there is a world outside the studio. When I hear others working in their spaces, it seems to take the edge away. It creates a sense of community of which is motivating. I tend to enjoy more noise than silence.


What is your relationship to music in the studio?

Music is an important element to my studio, but different than the other sounds identified in the first question. The music is a source of energy, I tend to listen to things that give me a sense of energy, which I find empowering. Ideally, I have the TV on in the studio with no sound, as well as music playing. I tend to get distracted and scattered in the studio quite easily, and somehow the sound along with the visual component allow for a more direct focus. I guess when the distractions become apparent they become more of an environment and less of a distraction. It also depends on the time of year, where on a warmer day I may put on some jazz, or even light sounds, in the winter I tend to gravitate towards something a bit heavier, maybe some blues or punk rock records.

What, if anything, is in heavy rotation in your studio right now?

I like playlists, and I make a lot of them, which means I rarely listen to an entire single album at once. Currently I am listening to some Chicago blues … Chicago has a long history of blues music, such as Muddy Waters or Luther Johnson. Currently I am playing Luther “Guitar Junior” Johnson’ album called Tired of Being Broke, fitting for a finishing graduate student.

What would be your desert island studio record?

Well, I would say my desert island record is a hard choice to narrow down. One album? This is a difficult answer, but I will go with Johnny Cash. I have a box set, which pretty much covers everything he did. It is tough, I had to edit out Dizzie Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, and Rancid.

Erik S. Beehn was born 1979 in Chicago, Illinois, and spent his youth in Las Vegas, Nevada, where he studied before returning to Chicago to attend the Bachelor of Fine Arts program at the School of The Art Institute of Chicago.  Erik received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree (BFA) from The School of The Arts Institute of Chicago (SAIC) in 2005. Upon graduation in 2005, Erik relocated to Los Angeles to be trained as a master printer for Gemini G.E.L., a fine art publishing house located in West Hollywood California. In 2010 Erik returned to Las Vegas to continue his studio practices, where he currently resides, and teaches printmaking at the College of Southern Nevada. Find out more about him here.

Posted in columns and conversations Tagged with: , , , ,