Lou Beach.

“My workspace is attached to the far end of our house. It was once, a long time ago, the garage. The house was built in 1924 and some time since then my studio went from storing an automobile to being a doctor’s office. It opens from our bedroom which makes it convenient for working in my bathrobe. The other door, the one with the silhouette of a crow, opens onto a small patio between our house and a small guest house. I have my own bathroom with shower – which is a boon and a blessing and keeps our marriage happy – no sharing bathrooms! I’ve had warehouse and storefront studios and it’s nice to get away, but it saves money to work at home. Plus I have a lovely yard where I can sit and recharge. I’m fortunate to have such a fine space to work in. The light is beautiful…..I have my books and picture files and music, I’m surrounded by art made by friends and family, and my dog comes in to visit.”
Lou Beach is an illustrator, artist, and writer. He recently published 420 Characters a book of short fiction which also features 10 original collages. He inhabits many states of mind but is most at home in Los Angeles where he lives with his wife, the photographer Issa SharpTheir days are spent nobbing hobs with celebrities and the literary elite, heads of state and captains of industry. Lou is debonair, fluid in twelve languages and an expert marksman.

FROM YOUR DESKS: How do you work?

LOU BEACH: Sporadically, with a modicum of enthusiasm.

FYD: What is your favorite sentimental object at your workspace and why?

LB: A old color postcard of The Arlington St. Church in Boston. I lived in the basement of the church many years ago. I was the janitor. Many wonderful things happened during my stay there….I met Muddy Waters, had my first one-man show, among other delights.

FYD: What is your favorite or most required work tool?

LB: XActo blades.

FYD: I recently watched A Murder of Crows on PBS; they are brilliant “feathered apes.”  What do you love about those birds and do you work the way the crow flies?

LB: Yes, I have a real fondness for the Corvid family…there are many in our neighborhood and they are fascinating. They carry a lot of mythic weight from various cultures. They talk, are social, make tools, look like beatniks. Crows, however, fly in straight lines (so it is said). I work in a meandering bee dance fashion. Here’s a young chap we rescued a while back …(see above).

There was always an itch to be a writer and I finally scratched it.

FYD:  What kind of mediums interested you as a kid?

LB: I loved Mad Magazine (it was forbidden in my house). I was crazy for the Ernie Kovacs Show. Both of these informed my humor and rebelliiousness.

FYD: Do you watch any current TV shows or consider yourself a fan of pop culture?

LB: The usual suspects…Breaking Bad, Justified, Southland…I’m drawn to crime. I get sucked into dumb reality shows when I’m trawling channels…..pawn shops, car repo, hoarders.

FYD:  Seen any good films lately?

LB: I liked Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. Pretty lukewarm Oscar choices this year.

FYD: 420 CharactersWhat a feat to illustrate and write your own book. Did you always know you had the writer in you?
LB: There was always an itch to be a writer and I finally scratched it.
FYD: You remind us Facebook “status updates” become repetitive, mundane, predictable.  How did you concoct these new personalities and characters? 

LB: I can’t explain how the stories and personalities came about……most of my narratives occur in the early morning, on the teetering edge between dreaming and wakefulness.

FYD: Talk about your characters Ronnie and Jerome; I suppose we all have a bit in common with these guys.

LB:  Ronnie is a rather not-too-bright ne’er do well, a petty criminal and bully, but sometimes funny. Jerome is a hapless office worker who has difficulties with relationships.

Most of my narratives occur in the early morning, on the teetering edge between dreaming and wakefulness.

FYD: You initiated a great exercise which segued into a smart, unique idea.  Any other advice for all us closeted writers?

LB: I’m not good at giving advice……I feel presumptuous. I suppose just keep writing, and that suggestion holds true for whatever one aspires to……just put one foot in front of the other and keep going. It’s a job in many respects.

FYD: Did working with only 420 characters help you stay on point, succinct and edit yourself? 
LB: Absolutely…you have to cut out stuff, even if it’s good, to keep the arc of the story going. A fine exercise in self control.
FYD: How did the 420 recorderings with the likes of Jeff Bridges, Ian McShane, and Dave Alvin come about? Pretty cool.

LB: They are all old pals who wanted to help out a friend. They are all genuinely terrific guys, unpretentioius, very talented and loyal. I was fortunate to be able to ride their coat tails.

(Listen to Jeff Bridges reading Hen)

FYD: What’s next?

LB: Hell if I know. Longer stories, a kids book, perhaps. I only know how to do a few things, so I guess I’ll just keep doing them….you know – stories and pictures.

Buy your copy of 420 Characters here, follow Lou on Twitter here, stay in touch on Facebook here & own a piece of Lou’s Art here.

1 Comment For “Lou Beach.”

  1. Nicki Dwyer says:

    Thanks for a drizzly morning’s entertainment, Kate. Love learning about Lou Beach. Will walk over to Left Bank Books later on to look for 420 Characters.

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