We had the good fortune of connecting with Greg Bháird and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Greg, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I had been really in to creating art all throughout my childhood. There was always some societal viewpoint stuck in my head that making art was not a good career choice, and I’m not sure where that came from because I don’t ever remember learning that from anyone directly. So, when I became an adult, I got a job, and I had many jobs over the past 25 years, and with every job, in the back of my mind I really just wanted to be creative again. So, when the pandemic came and after that first year, I had read something online about how well artists had been doing, I had my “a-ha moment”; the moment when I knew the time was right. Luckily, the place I was working at the time let me go and I set out to start my art career. I’d get a part-time job and just paint when I wasn’t working. I researched everything I could on what I didn’t already know about painting and business. I just wanted my artwork to be out there in the world, to stay creative, and put a smile on people’s faces, or at least give them a feeling of mirth. The world’s a sad place at times and art sparks joy and even inspiration in everyone. That was my thought process behind starting my business: I wanted to be a part of the crowd who was already doing that.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My focus is mainly abstract impressionist paintings although I also do realism, surrealism, and photography. When I started my first series, I really wanted to paint in colors you probably don’t see too often in abstract art or in any art, really. So I started with that and continued that with subsequent series. As for my photography, my main objective was to showcase Arizona, and the areas surrounding Phoenix, in particular. I’d explore metropolitan Phoenix and see how amazing it was, then I’d hear people complain about how boring Phoenix was and I needed to show them it was far from boring. So, I began photographing the mountains and certain spots that not too many people may know about, if you don’t explore. And we didn’t have a lot of money growing up but we went camping a lot all over Arizona. So exploring was one thing my family seemed to be able to afford, at least in this state. One of my photography series is the mountains of Arizona but I also take pictures in an abstract way of things in Arizona that I think would look really cool as a 30×40 in someone’s entryway or in a business hallway. I also get the impression that people around the world have an obsession with deserts and cacti so I’m willing to be an enabler to their healthy obsessions.
Getting here was some journey. I’m still new but I’m hopeful. Someday I’ll tell that story. I just want people to know that art has value and art is for everyone. So, my art is accessible to everyone and it doesn’t change the value of it. Throughout my 46 years, I’ve been dirt poor and I’ve had big bucks. I’ve lost everything I own and I’ve been spoiled to some degree. My value hasn’t changed. I’m still valuable. Art is the same regardless of what price is attached to it. The Mona Lisa is valuable, as are the prints people own scattered across the globe. They all have value. I want people to realize the value in art, if they don’t already know. And equally know they are just as valuable.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
If a friend is coming in from out of town, I would definitely take them to downtown Phoenix. I’d show them the Arts District: Roosevelt Row, then we’d eat lunch at Blue Fin on Central by the library, we’d spend the afternoon at the Phoenix Art Museum, then we’d eat at Hanny’s on 1st Street & Adams, then we’d have drinks at Cobra Arcade in the Evans-Churchill district and play pinball and ‘80s & ‘90s arcade games. I really love areas like Biltmore & Arcadia in Camelback East Village, & Fashion Square in Scottsdale, but I also like the quiet town feel of Laveen Village and driving through my old stomping grounds in Maryvale Village and seeing the changes that have happened since we left there in the ‘80s. Maybe we’d go hiking out in the Superstitions: First Water, Hieroglyphic Springs, or Peralta Point? It’s a difficult decision. We could try South Mountain or Camelback. We might pick up a record at Stinkweeds in uptown Phoenix on Camelback and Central and we’d definitely take the light rail. It’d be a fun few days.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My mom is an incredibly creative and clever person. She writes Western novels set post-Civil War era. The books are really good and I’m impressed with how fleshed out the characters are and how dramatic the situations are that they find themselves in. I learned a lot more about my mom from reading what came from her imagination. She’s always been able to make do with whatever comes her way and she’s resourceful in how she improves less-than-stellar situations. She’s always fostered a space for creativity to thrive in our home while I was growing up. That was key to me and my siblings being able to be full of imagination and wonder. So this shout-out is to Marsha Ward.
Photography by Greg Bháird Fine Art