We had the good fortune of connecting with Brian “beee” Bello and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Brian “beee”, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
The best thing that happened to me was finding a partner that compliments and supports my creative career. My wife helped me organize my life, both personally and creatively. It is a constant adjustment with each passing day, which is exciting as well as challenging. The greatest recent discovery in my workflow is a thing called “taking breaks”. Just like swimming underwater, eventually, you have to come up and take a breath if you want to keep going! My life outside of work inspires everything I do creatively. I love hangin out with my wife, watching cartoons, listening to music, dancing, playing with my dogs, and immersing myself in Hip Hop culture, so these influences are seen one way or another in my work. Basically, the balance comes from just enjoying my life and expressing that in my art.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My art is heavily influenced by, what is now referred to as, “retro” culture. I am quite attached to 80’s cartoons and nostalgia, but also graffiti art and Hip Hop culture. I feel my art style reflects this. What sets me apart is my connection to more obscure or forgotten images, and my sense of humor and random knowledge. I’m recently most proud of taking on challenges and seeing them through, no matter how long it takes. I have suffered from depression for most of my life, and completing tasks were extremely difficult to the point of me giving up. For me to complete projects now still gives me a sense of pride and accomplishment. That being said, I am most proud of something I call #FreeBeeeFriday—every Friday I create a piece of artwork, and hide it somewhere in a random city for someone to find. I started this in December 2015 and have not skipped a day. Due to the pandemic, I adjusted this to posting riddles that subtly describe past “FreeBeee’s” that I’ve hidden, and whoever solves the riddle gets a free, quick caricature of themselves. Honestly, the recent pandemic surprised me with consistent creative work. For the past 8 months, I have done commissions, storyboards, working on a children’s book, and have more things added to my list as we speak, all while maintaining my other career as a freelance graphic artist. Every day, especially these days, is an uphill battle, but not one I chose to shy away from. My best counter to obstacles I face is to take a step back, breath, scream (if I have to), figure out a plan of attack, then push forward. The bottom line about me as an artist—I love to create. If something excites my creativity, I need to express that by any medium possible!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I always loved getting away from “the city” and head out to nature. One of my favorite spots is the beaches in Malibu and Ventura, just because they’re less crowded but so beautiful, although a bit of a trek. I have a secret steak spot I LOVE that I will ONLY share with loved ones (sorry, I’mma be selfish and keep this one on the low). If the world wasn’t on lockdown, I’d go to local bars for a bit of a boogie. Other than that, we’d chill and be creative, or find something spontaneous to get into.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Above all else, my wife, Cristina Benedetti, is my creative muse, frustration suppressant AND stimulant (I’m probably gonna be in trouble for that one), and an amazing creative artist, herself. Ryan Odagawa was my first art mentor and deserves much credit in my creative path. Eric Sanford first inspired me as a hip hop dancer and bboy, then further more as an artist. The groups that I am involved in also molded me creatively, especially Master Movements, Foundation FunKollective, and most recently, Gëist Army. Then in no particular order, Star Wars, Marvel, DC, Image, Harry Potter, cartoons from the 1970s–1990s, Hip Hop culture, all music, holy smokes, let’s just shout out the whole world for being what it is—awesome!