When asked about his art, Beau Fraase is modest.
“Most of it is throw-away, pop culture art that hangs in barrooms, is printed on T-shirts or posted on the internet,” he says with a shrug. “It makes you want to see a band, feel cool in your clothes or at least gives you a chuckle.”
Beau might downplay his work’s impact, but his low-key, democratic, art-is-for-everyone philosophy gives his art a stealthy sort of resonance. 2013 was a big year for the founder of The Boneskot Design Co. and Art Riot and he’s looking forward to more cool projects this year.
Here’s a look inside Beau’s work and his head.
Have you always been creative?
“I been creating as long as I can remember. I used to redraw comic strips for my Grandma. Then I started coming up with my own. I was the kid in the back of the class drawing pictures of the teacher to make my friends laugh.”
What inspires you?
“I find inspiration all over…but music is the constant.”
What’s your creative process like? “I have always been a collector of images and ideas…they are littered all over my computer, office, and in my head. Sometimes a piece begins with an idea or a sketch, but sometimes I just mess around with multiple ideas until something takes shape.”
What recent projects are you most proud of? “
Boneskot Design Co. is the project I’m most proud of every year. Scott Syverson and I have made some big strides in 2013. On a smaller scale, starting Art Riot with Noel “Scotch” Anderson was a highlight of 2013. I really like giving some local artists/ friends you might not have seen a forum to show their art.”
How do you describe your customers?
“My current customers range from church groups to metal bands, motorcycle clubs to the police. I’ve had to create art reproducing everything from sign language to Icelandic text.”
What are your dream projects?
“I like working with local musicians, but would ideally like to work with more national acts, either the bands themselves or an agent the books multiple bands.
I’d like to land a gig designing posters, stage banners, and merch for someone like Steve Earle, Social Distortion, or Shooter Jennings. I like the idea of branding the look of a band. I’ve had the opportunity to do this for October Road and 24Seven for the coming year.”
What do you hope this year brings you?
“Obviously continued success for Boneskot, as well as my work the multiple bands I do posters for. I have a some CD artwork coming out this year — Pat Lenertz Band and Mike Holtz are releasing their CDs soon.
Art Riot will return in 2014. I am optimistic about a possible ‘Beau Fraase and Friends’ type art show…stay tuned.”
What’s necessary to live a creative life?
“I would say maybe solitude, a chance to be alone to think and create… but mostly I don’t believe anything is NECESSARY to be creative… busy or bored, happy or sad, you can use it all. Creativity can happen over months or ten minutes before the deadline.”
How do you maintain that elusive work/life balance?
“I’ve been lucky — or stubborn — enough to make my art/creativity a part of my day job and also tie it into my favorite past time, live music. Many of my friends are connected to that whole scene.
I am pushing 40 and have not started a family…in and out of relationships over the years…we’ll say balance hasn’t been my strong point, but I believe its getting better.”
What’s your favorite part of what you do?
“My favorite part of what I do is ‘getting lost’ in the process, starting a project and losing hours without notice. I also love it when the end result is more or better than your customer (or muse) expected, when they fall in love with the image you’ve created for them. Getting paid is also cool though…”
How do you define success?
“To make enough of a living doing what you love so that you don’t have to do anything else and being good enough at it so that others don’t tell you what to create — they want what you do.”
Why is supporting the local art scene so important?
“I believe supporting your local artists is important because they are the benchmarks of local culture. They record (and sometimes question) the thoughts, feelings, and happenings of your area for a point in time.
That sounded a little pompous… alternate answer is because art is fucking cool. As a society we’ve heard the Top 40 pop tunes, seen enough reality show reruns, and bought enough Tapout shirts — see what’s out there locally.”
In Studio is a regular feature on prairiestylefile.com. If you liked this interview, check out more In Studio features here and to get a look inside the minds of local artists.
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All images provided by Beau Fraase.