Brad Bealmear (b. 1953) was raised in Portales, NM and attended ENMU followed by Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara CA. In the late ‘70s – early ’80s he owned a commercial photography studio in Santa Fe. In 1982 he married and shortly thereafter moved his family to New York City, living in Greenwich Village for 22 years.
While in NYC Bealmear was a prolific advertising and catalog photographer, working in large-format film and digital formats for top luxury brands. He was hired to set up and run the Tiffany & Co. studio on
the top floor of their flagship Fifth Avenue store (the highest-valued real estate in the world) where he remained for five years, producing images for ads featured prominently in the world’s fashion magazines. He worked with Jacqueline Onassis, who edited several beautiful books about Tiffany, along with many of New York’s other top art directors and designers.
Walking uptown to work one morning in the spring of 1989, Bealmea experienced what he has found necessary to describe as a “vision” – in the middle of 40th Street! Sitting on the steps of the NY Public Library to attempt to write about what he had experienced, he realized that his life had suddenly and dramatically changed. Although he would continue to photograph, design, and launch various start-ups (Bunjii Design in NYC; High Desert Properties, The Santa Fe Dreambook, and Honey P. Nutty in Santa Fe) the philosophy he had acquired that day would guide his life going forward. His startups, which were never very successful, were seen simply as possible ways to provide financial backing to explore those ideas.
The philosophy seen in the vision is this: our species should be guiding every action by the question “Does this action harm life and Earth?” Anything else, by definition, harms the planet and its life, and must inevitably eventually lead to extinction. In recent years this has started to come into startling focus.
Bealmear self-published, in very small numbers, two untitled art books exploring the idea in 1989 and 1990. The words he uses to explain the concept have changed slightly over the years as he realized he was describing possible ways of living as they might have been we started civilization – and that by now we would doubless have taken those ways of living much further and might be living with comforts similar to those we experience today, but without the related fatal harms to the planet. The current rise of plant-based foods soon to surpass the taste and feel of animal flesh, and 3D printing techniques that might be used to build the super-strong eggshell-type structures covered with topsoil, as first described in his books, have made this apparent.
Bealmear left NYC in 2004 and moved with his wife back to Santa Fe in 2006. He continued to photograph, both commercially and in fine art for several years. In 2014 he began to paint and discovered the medium allowed him to comment on our species and its harmful ways in a quiet abstract way that suited him. In 2016 he sold his photo gear so as not to be distracted, and began painting full time.
Bealmear had two works included in the exhibition “Axle Indoors at Peters Projects” in 2015, and several works from his continuing series “The Reckoning” were shown at City of Mud in 2018. The current show at FOMA Santa Fe is his first solo exhibition. He donated 300 small works on paper,
“Studies for a New Atmosphere,” to 231 art museums worldwide in the summer of 2019. His paintings are found in collections in the UK and the US.