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Today's Family Magazine

Mentor teen is already an accomplished artist

Jan 23, 2017 10:35AM ● By Today's Family
By Paris Wolfe

When Nick Beebe slouched into a desk at Bellflower Elementary School in Mentor, he’d pencil spaceships,  while the teacher explored the Pythagorean theory.

“I have always had trouble paying attention in school, mainly because I start drawing,” he says.  “I’ll really get into it then I’ll look up and the next thing I’d notice is that we’re super far into the lesson.”

Over time his doodles improved.  And, by junior high, he asked his dad for canvases so he could paint.  “I bought him an easel and some canvases,” recalls Ross Beebe, who has a degree in industrial design.  “Then he did small pieces, about 16- by 24-inches.”

Ross was impressed and shared the work with Nick’s art teacher.  The teacher agreed.  So, Ross framed them.  By 10th grade, Nick won recognition and small bills in scholastic shows.

Personal experience taught Ross that the art world has limited career opportunities.  Rather than discourage Nick, he helped him get a head start understanding the business that goes with the aesthetics.  “I wanted him to get a taste of what sells and what doesn’t sell,” Ross says. 

So, dad called galleries to see if they’d show the work of a local teen.  Nick got appointments and three galleries took his work.

“We interview Cleveland artists every Thursday by appointment.  He made an appointment,” recalls Koula Lazar, co-owner of Something Different Gallery, 1899 West 25th Street in Cleveland’s Ohio City neighborhood.  “He has so much potential.  As far as his art work goes he shows maturity.  He is talented.”

He also has work at the Art Gallery, 4134 Erie Street, downtown Willoughby.

The galleries have sold some of his work.  “When I was 16, I had a big portrait of JFK that I priced outrageously because I was new to selling and I didn’t want to let go.  This piece was priced at $750. A lady offered $500, but I declined the offer. ”

Of course, art wasn’t a commercial pursuit when Nick was drawing pretty girls, landscapes, cars and rock icons.  “I really liked drawing at first but then a girl in my art class showed me a time-lapse video of a painting by the artist VOKA,” he says.  “It was a crazy portrait of Jimi Hendrix that was about 6-foot by 8-foot.  This was my first inspiration to paint.”

Now, Nick paints every day.  “I always have something to work on.  But when it comes to big paintings I get tired of looking at the same piece for too long.  So, while I’m working on a large cityscape I have started four other pieces.  I jump around working on all these different pieces and slowly progress on each of them.”

The time frame speeds up when he has a commission.  “When I have a customer who wants something I get it done ASAP,” he says.  He’s sold portraits of LeBron James, Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain and the Beatles.  Many of these can be seen on Instagram at nick_beebe_art.

Nick uses his artistic talent in his work as a cake decorator at Dairy Queen on Mentor Avenue in Mentor.  He plans to major in graphic design and minor in studio art at Cleveland State this fall.  “I hope to get a career that involves creating of any type.  Art is broad, creating is art.  I would be happy with any type of job that involves design or creating.”

“My dream job would be to sell paintings my whole life, to just constantly paint in a nice house with huge windows and tons of natural light.”