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We love to hear how artists are engaging their artwork to meet needs in the world. We believe their stories are worth telling and hope you enjoy hearing about them as well.

4-28-2020: Gino Meregillano with Matt Beard

The Session:

Music: Gino Meregillano
Artwork: Matt Beard

Artist's Statement:
Continuing to watch the world burn and thinking of fire. What a tragic thing, a good thing, a frightening thing, and a life-saving thing it can be. All at once in this one. Some of us are watching the fire creep over the hills and march toward our cities, our homes, our lives. Some of us are living through the fire of loss right now. Others are still relatively comfortable and watching from a distance- sort of like camping just out of range of a raging wildfire, only the difference is now we know this fire isn't only burning forests. It's taking lives, and stealing livelihoods.

I pray you all are well. One meaningful path forward I've found in this mess is to do what I can to help musicians. Contrary to popular belief, many musicians actually do make a living from performing shows, but the vast majority of them are not celebrities living lives of wealth and fame, but just playing their heart out at small festivals, bars, clubs, private events, arranging their own self-funded tours, selling their own self-produced albums. Just getting by.

No venues for them = no income for them. But we still have our spotifys, our youtubes, our itunes, our allofthat, and we can play all the music we want in our homes anytime we want so it's easy to forget about the music-makers because after all, we've still got the music.

Sales from these Lockdown Live Sessions will be split 50/50 between artists and musicians. I wish I could give them more, as a small independent artist it's not an easy season for me either.

I totally understand these paintings might not auction for as high as they might during better times. That's ok. It's not the point right now. The point for me is doing all that I can. And I hope these fire paintings, as oddly discomforting as they are, can serve to remind us all of all that we did to help others through these difficult times.

-Matt Beard

The Finished Artwork:

Trial by Fire III
15" x 15"
Acrylic on Canvas

Link to Auction Page

4-25-2020: Brother Yusef with Matt Beard

The Session:

Music: Brother Yusef
Artwork: Matt Beard

Artist's Statement:
Technical glitches may have interrupted this live feed, but they didn't stop the art though. I was able to stream Brother Yusef's show as long as I wasn't streaming back out, so I spent the rest of the night enjoying his high-energy one-man assault on a future without music. It was a noble effort and by the end of the night this painting was the result.

Continuing on my current path facing our times with my art I am still consumed by visions of fire- we're all watching this world with so many lives, so many livelihoods, so many dreams burning to the ground. I only hope and pray that just like a forest needs a good fire now and then to stay healthy, perhaps this will be the fire we need. My heart goes out to all who are hurting and feeling loss- everything about this hurts. Deeply.

But the element of fire, the burning sun, is the source of physical light and warmth that makes earthly life possible. It's an element that in some ways defines our humanity as well. Our passion to create will never be put out. For folks like Brother Yusef, his music burns brightly. Others burn with art, or poetry, or dance, or any number of these creative things- unessential all of them. We can’t eat them. They don’t protect us danger or disease or death. Some of them can’t even be taxed. And yet these are things we can't live without- and even if we did we could hardly call it life at all.

Sales from these Lockdown Live Sessions will be split 50/50 between artists and musicians. A way for me to give back to the music-makers out there. From one non-essential to another. Love to all.

-Matt Beard

The Finished Artwork:

Trial by Fire II
15" x 15"
Acrylic on Canvas

Link to Auction Page

4-19-2020: Justin Fox with Matt Beard

The Session:

Music: Justin Fox
Artwork: Matt Beard

Artist's Statement:
As we watch the world burn around us, many of us are waking to the reality that we are truly non-essential. As artists, we’ve always known this. You can’t eat paintings. We’ll continue to forge ahead on the fringes while everyone else sorts out the falling chips. Some of us won’t make it. We chose to carve our own paths in life away from the safety of “real jobs” so we’ll get what we deserve in the end. I can accept this. But buried within our need for survival, our need to sell art, there is a pressure to take our art and provide what many people want right now. Diversion. Escape. Idyllic scenes of better worlds and better times.

I don’t think anything sums up my feeling about this better than this passage from the book of Psalms:

By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down and wept, when we remembered Zion.
Upon the willows in the midst of it we hung our harps.
For there our captors demanded of us songs, and our tormentors mirth, saying,
“Sing us one of the songs of Zion.”
But how can we sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land?

There will be a time and place to paint better times and better places, but my heart is not there right now- too many people are hurting too deeply, and my own heart is too heavy. So for the moment, I have chosen instead to paint our world on fire. To meet the flames face to face. To accept them. To find beauty even in this tragedy. Without a forest fire, there can be no forest- the mighty sequoia needs fire to release its seeds and clear the ground for its young. Those three seeds in this painting might be my own three children preparing to take root in a world changed forever.

Sales from these Lockdown Live Sessions will be split 50/50 between artists and musicians. A way for me to give back to the music-makers out there. From one non-essential to another. Love to all.

-Matt Beard


The Finished Artwork:

Trial by Fire
Artist: Matt Beard
24" x 24"
Acrylic on Canvas

Link to Auction Page

Live Art benefits Live Music for a Community


Artist: Matt Stanton Beard
Funds Raised: $500
Nonprofit: Redwood Coast Music Festival

AidCurrent artist Matt Beard has been exploring the overlap of music and art creation for several years, painting live to accompany live music performance from a wide array of musicians ranging from the mellow, soulful approach of Tom Curren and Matt Costa at the Highline Festival of Surfing in 2014, to painting with local 80’s punk Minor Threat cover band Adult Crash while perched atop a 10′ vert ramp.

Plenty of jazz and blues have crept into the mix as well, so he was honored to be asked to create this years official event artwork for the Redwood Coast Music Festival. Rather than create the art in the studio setting, he chose to integrate things one step further and instead zeroed in musical performances from Kingfoot and Wild Iris at the Redwood Curtain Brewery in Arcata, where he set up his easel in the corner and knocked this painting out in time to the music.

And in keeping with his usual practice of painting live he chose to donate 50% of the sale of the finished piece to the nonprofit of the buyer’s choice, which turned out to be the Redwood Coast Music Festival itself. Full circle.  Art supporting music supporting art supporting music. Or something like that.

Either way, we’re always stoked to see artists using their art to benefit their communities and live music festivals certainly bring communities together like few other things can. Cheers and congratulations Matt Stanton Beard!

Free Range Painting Tour of Santa Cruz benefits Save the Waves Coalation


Artist: Matt Stanton Beard
Funds Raised: $708.62
Nonprofit: Save the Waves Coalition

AidCurrent artist Matt Beard is no stranger to getting in his van and driving the California coast and dedicating weeks at a time to painting as much as humanly possible. He’s also no stranger to using his artwork to help support groups that are dedicated to making the world a bit of a better place. So it is quite natural that these two threads were woven together on a recent road trip where he was able to donate over $700 to Save the Waves from his proceeds of original art sales at the Redgate Ranch Music Fest and the Boardroom International Surfboard show.

But wait, that’s just a paragraph about the business side of things… did we mention he painted 18 new paintings in 12 days on this road trip? Well shoot. Get over to his site and check them all out here:

You’ll be stoked. And several are still available. Grab one if you keen and mention AidCurrent and Beard will donate 20% to Save the Waves.

Jon Baker is a Difference Maker

gildasArtist: Jon Baker
Funds Raised: $950
Nonprofit: Gilda’s Club of South Jersery

AidCurrent artist Jon Baker recently donated a limited edition giclee for the Difference Makers Luncheon at the Palm Restaurant located at The Tropicana Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, where his work raised $950 in a silent auction.

The luncheon is hosted by the local Gilda’s Club chapter. Keeping the Red Door open is a vital component to offering care and support for those in our community battling cancer and who otherwise would not have the resources to find comfort.

Thanks for doing more with your art Jon Baker!

Music Festival Artwork helps Save the Waves

grass-fed-1500x2000pxArtist: Matt Stanton Beard
Funds Raised: $230
Nonprofit: Save the Waves Coalition

There is an incredibly rich visual tradition in music festival posters. This original painting by Matt Stanton Beard was his most recent contribution to that tradition when he donated the use of the art to the Save the Waves Coalition’s annual Redgate Ranch Music Fest 2016.

In regards to creating artwork for music events Beard states, “music event posters are a great opportunity for me to breakaway from my usual subjects and throw any curveball that comes to mind. There really are no rules or boundaries in the genre, so I always look forward to these pieces for the freedom they inherently provide.”

Speaking of operating without rules or boundaries, we’re pretty sure there’s no rule against an artist donating 20% of the sale of an original painting to anyone they should choose. In this case Beard took the liberty of donating back to the Save the Waves Coalition, a nonprofit dedicated to preserving our coastlines.

Save the Waves Coalition’s Newest Artist Ambassador: Matt Beard

Artists are often asked to donate artwork for nonprofits’ events and fundraisers, and at AidCurrent we celebrate every success story where art can be of greater benefit to a world in need. We don’t often hear of nonprofits reaching out to develop long term mutually beneficial relationships with the artists though, so when we heard that Save the Waves Coalition had been doing just that with artists (and surfers even) ambassador program we took notice.

When asked about his new ambassadorial role with Save the Waves, AidCurrent artist Matt Beard responds a bit nervously, “Oh man, I’ve never ambassadored anything, I hope I don’t blow it. Will there be tacos?”

Putting two and two together though, it’s a perfect match when you consider Save the Waves Coalition’s role in preserving the natural state of coastlines worldwide, and Matt Beard’s emphasis in his art on documenting the California coast.

We’re looking forward to seeing where this collaboration goes in the future, but for now, we’d just like to congratulate Matt Beard on his fancy new title, joining the ranks of other Save the Waves ambassadors like AidCurrent artist Erik Abel, professional surfer Greg Long, and a host of others.

Artwork by Wade Koniakowsky Raises $10,000 for Navy Seals Foundation

hansens-navy-sealsArtist: Wade Koniakowsky
Funds Raised: $10,000
Nonprofit: Navy Seals Foundation

AidCurrent artist Wade Koniakowsky recently teamed up with surfboard shaper Craig Hollingsworth to create a unique surfboard-as-art tribute to those who have risked (and those who have lost) their lives while serving their country in the armed forces. The board was auctioned at the annual Navy Seals Foundation Gala in Hawaii on September 10, 2016 and sold for $10,000.

Congratulations Wade and Craig, many thanks for offering your talents to support the Navy Seals Foundation that exists to provide support to the families of soldiers.

Artwork by Wade Koniakowsky raises $1,100 for UCSD’s Moore’s Cancer Center

vip-partyArtist: Wade Koniakowsky
Funds Raised: $1,100
Nonprofit: UCSD’s Moore’s Cancer Center

In an annual tradition, AidCurrent artist Wade Koniakowsky once again set up his easel at the VIP party for UCSD’s Moore’s Cancer Center’s fundraising event, the Luau & Legends of Surfing Invitational. Each year he paints into the evening as the crowd of surfing legends and Cancer Center supporters watch. A few items are usually auctioned off that night, including his artwork which this year managed to fetch $1,100 for the cause.

In a world where nobody is untouched by Cancer in some way or another, we offer our highest thanks and appreciation to Wade for his ongoing efforts to help the folks at UCSD press on for a cure to the devastating illness in all of its forms.