The Art of Chad Beroth
Chad Beroth, between the bullet-points…
Chad Beroth was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. Yes, I was. The first line of my bio was written eight years ago by a very talented writer who traded me a professionally written artists bio for a 6×6 inch painting of her cat. It was a perfect bio. It rattled off all the info that artist bios are supposed to divulge—where I was born, where I went to school, galleries and museums where my art has shown, and awards I’ve won. It was informative, well written, elegant, and concise. It was everything a good bio should be. And I hated it. There was nothing in there that explained who I am as an artist or how I got to this point in my career.
My father taught me more about art than school ever did, and the handful of awards and accolades I’ve received in my thirty-year art career haven’t driven me nearly as much as all of the awards I didn’t win, and all the shows I didn’t even make it into at all earlier in my career. Rejection. Disappointment. Taking all the work home with me that didn’t sell after a show. Hard work, long hours, sleepless nights, spending thousands of dollars and months of my time working on art shows with no idea if there would be a paycheck for me at the end of the show or not. School taught me a few art techniques and it showed me a few mediums and materials that my father didn’t show me, but it didn’t teach me how to handle all the ups and downs or how to be a successful artist.
I spent years trying to figure out how to please the fickle and sometimes brutal art world, and ironically, it wasn’t until I finally stopped caring what the art world thought of me, stopped trying to be a professional artist, and got back to painting the way that I love to paint, just for me, that I finally found success in the art world. There was nothing in my well written professional bio that explained any of that. It didn’t talk about the disappointments, struggles, the years of hard work, or all the many sleepless nights that got me to this point in my career. It was just one bullet-pointed career highlight after the next. And I couldn’t stand it. It made it seem as if my art career has been a neat and orderly bullet-pointed series of successes, when in reality, every positive in my art career happened in the gritty and exhausting spaces in between the bullet-points. I’ve rewritten my bio a few dozen times since having it professionally written for me—the professionally written portions growing smaller with each rewrite, until this version here, where it’s been reduced to only its first line. “Chad Beroth was born…”
Yes, I was. I was born. I went to school. I work. But for me, my art career started when I was a toddler. That old cliché, “I learned to paint before I learned to walk.” is true for me. My father started teaching me to draw and paint well before I started walking. He took me to museums and galleries, he showed me art books, and art documentaries, and he watched Bob Ross make happy landscapes with me on PBS.
One art lesson in particular that stands out to me came when my father stopped the car on the side of the road in Hartford, Connecticut to show me a painting somebody did on the side of an apartment building. It was in a neighborhood filled with junkies that kept stopping to ask us for money or drugs as they walked by. I must have answered, “No, I’m not holding.” a dozen times at least in the thirty minutes or so that we were there looking at the art on the walls. There were syringes and crack vials on the ground. I was twelve at the time, and I remember thinking I was going to be killed before I was an actual teenager. But there was my father; staring up at this graffiti covered mural, completely oblivious of his surroundings.
Eventually some of the teenagers in the neighborhood walked over to talk to my dad. For about a half hour, they talked about art. We had just left an art museum in Hartford where I watched my father talk to a man in a business suit about art for about a half hour, the same way he talked to the matching bandana wearing teens on the side of the road. Museum curator or gang member, it didn’t matter, if you knew something about art, he wanted to talk to you. Good art was good art to my father. It didn’t matter where it came from, what it was made of, who made it, or whether it was hanging in a museum or painted on a wall. If it was well done, it was meaningful, or inspiring, he wanted to see it and talk about it.
I try to follow in my dad’s footsteps and appreciate art for what it is, and not where it comes from. Being a member of Delurk Gallery’s exhibitions committee, I am always more interested in seeing an artist’s work than their resume. I’d much rather sit down with an artist and talk about their journey through the art world, than read a list of their achievements, and that’s how I like to present my work as well. If you’re interested in who I am as an artist, take a look at my art. That’s who I am. If you’d like to know how I got to this point in my art career, message me. I’d be happy to grab a coffee with you and talk art for a while.
There’s a Vincent van Gogh quote that I feel sums up my art career better in one line than all the deleted lines of my bio ever could. He said, “For the moment, the work’s going well, but of course my thoughts, always fixed on colors and drawings, continue to go around in a rather small circle. So I want to live by the day—trying to get from one to the next.” I like that.
There have been times in my career where I’ve starved like all artists do, but most of the time it’s been a pretty wonderful life. Despite the ups and downs, I genuinely love what I do. I love being an artist. And like Vincent, I’m happy to go around in my small circles, fixed on color, living day by day—trying to get from one to the next. And thankfully, for the moment at least, the work is going well.