Get To Know...Jake Beeson
You've probably admired Jake Beeson's artwork on the walls of local businesses like Heirloom Rustic Ales (Tulsa), Empire Slice House (OKC & Tulsa), Vanessa House Beer Co. (OKC) and Supreme Auto (Tulsa). He has also been a staple at Mural Festivals across the state of Oklahoma including Habit Mural Festival (Tulsa), Plaza Walls Mural Expo (OKC), Rollin' Deep Mural Festival (Edmond) and Mural Fest 66 (Miami,OK) just to name a few. We've been big fans of Jake's work for a long time, so we were excited for the opportunity to chat with the Tulsa-based artist/muralist who also happens to be the local artist featured on the new 2022 Keep it Local Card.
What’s your back story and what led you to pursue art?
I have enjoyed drawing and looking at art since I can remember. I went to college to play basketball with no real thoughts of education or a career in mind. I ended up having some health problems and had to call that quits. I figured I was already in school and had taken a few drawing classes so I started down the path of a degree in Two Dimensional Studio.
How long have you been creating art?
Like I mentioned previously, I have been creating since I can remember. I graduated college in 2004 and have been pursuing different avenues of a life in art ever since then. I've had a few other jobs over the years, but mainly art. I have been a full time artist for at least the last 10 years.
How would you describe your artistic style?
This is always a tough one for me, and honestly, I have yet to settle on what I would feel is an accurate description.
What inspires you when you’re creating art?
The things I see in life and stories that I hear. Seeing other artists push the envelope makes me want to try and make my work better all the time.
Who are some artists whose styles you really admire?/Is there any specific artist who has particularly influenced you?
This list is extremely long and as soon as I answer this I will think of someone who I am missing. Most of my favorite artists I am lucky enough to be friends with. I am a huge fan of Tony Thunder’s artwork. He creates things that I wish I could pull off. I work with Aaron Whisner and Justin Baney with Clean Hands a ton, and they are always pushing me to try new things. My good friend Tone at No Parking Studios is cranking out mind blowing work at a rate that I can’t wrap my head around. As far as artists who have influenced my work who I don’t know, first I would have to say Jack Kirby. Seeing his work as a kid is one of the things that inspired me to draw even if I was unaware of it. His line work is the level that I still aim for. It’s probably obvious, but Roy Lichtenstein also heavily influenced my work. When I first saw his work I knew that is the type of thing I wanted to create.
What would you consider to be some of the highlights of your art career?
I have had the opportunity to do some really cool things through art, picking one, or even a handful doesn’t seem possible. The highlight for me is the people I have met. I have made life long friends because of art.
A few years back you painted a wall in Atlanta for rapper, actor & activist - Killer Mike. How did that opportunity come about?
I met Mike in 2014 when he came through Tulsa for a show. He had nice things to say about my artwork and mentioned he would like to do some work together, including a mural on one of his buildings. We stayed in touch and I did some smaller work for him and his wife Shay over the years. Eventually we worked out the details on painting the shop. Mike is an amazing individual and I am glad our paths crossed.
What do you love about the current art scene in Oklahoma?
I love so much about what is going on in the Oklahoma art scene these days. We used to have to beg people to let us paint walls around here, now you can hardly throw a rock without hitting a mural. Public art inspires me the most. There was very little of that to be found until somewhat recently.
Where can people find your art?
Do you have any current/upcoming projects you can tell us about?
I have quite a few mural projects lined up, but I haven’t been painting as many canvases in the last year. I am really hoping to get some inspiration and desire to knock out a bunch of those over this next year.
What advice would you give to someone who’s aspiring to make a living as an artist?
Dive in and start creating. A ton of people say it’s not possible, but there are people doing it every day.
How can people support you and where can they follow you?
I try to keep my instagram updated with what I am currently working on. I am a bit of a dinosaur and not the greatest at social media though.
What do you like to do when you’re not creating art?
I have an awesome wife and 3 awesome kids and I spend most of my time with them. We all ride and race our bicycles, so I spend as much time as I can on a bicycle.
All photos: jakebeeson.com and Instagram: @jakebsn