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Artist Entrepreneur

The Unmade Room - FAT Village Art Exhibition 2013

 The Unmade Room explores that which exists without being made. The unmade is something that is whole but not complete. The room is the space, moment, or memory where this element exists. These are the qualities that are explored in the exhibit through full-scale immersive and interactive installations.

Beju and the Artist as an Entrepreneur Institute: A Perfect Match
by Susan Davis 

You may find yourself trying to ascertain what a sculptor who was born in France has in common with Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

The answer is simple – it is the Artist as an Entrepreneur Institute (AEI). Beju Lejobart, or simply Beju, has a story that definitely needs telling. The AEI has the means to help him, and other artists, achieve this goal.

Beju was born in Cognac, France. When he was in his late 20s he was asked by his grandmother to repair some furniture that had been damaged in World War II. One of these pieces was a table, which he discovered was missing a piece. At this point, as he duplicated what should have been there, his vision as an artist was born. As he carved the piece of wood, he realized that not only was this something he could do, but it also was something he felt an immediate love for doing.

 "I want to mimic the environment. All of my work is born from there."

BEJU
Thus, Beju became a sculptor. He is totally self-taught, which makes his work that much more impressive.

Pairing together elements like metal and wood, he concentrates on the shift in perception of the object. "Wood no longer is organic while the metal takes on a life of its own – becoming more and more organic," he continues. Carefully balancing these materials and his techniques, he brings them all to life. Throw in a dash of humor and add a pinch of sentiment, and you have Beju’s exact style.

Since Beju grew up in a military family, he traveled constantly as a young man, and then as an adult. "I never had the traditional roots that most kids had. I credit this lifestyle with helping me make quick moves and relocate easily," he says. The travel, the chances to observe art and artists and the different cultures have shaped Beju into the artist he is today.

When Beju first arrived in Fort Lauderdale, he came as a businessman, not an artist. Eventually, though, he knew he would have to follow his heart and return to what he loved – sculpting. Fortunately, he never lost touch with his artwork.

There is nothing Beju likes better than to work in his own home, particularly on his patio. "I love working outside regardless of rain, humidity or heat," he explains. He is known to canvas the area looking for discarded wooden pallets. "Finding stainless steel is a little more difficult," he says. But, he keeps looking as he frequently tests other mediums, seeking to expand his repertoire.

 BejuPetuflette

Beju Pitouflette "In us we trust"

Another project originated by the graduates of AEI is the DBA Exhibitions. Beju’s works - along with other featured artists’ projects - were displayed at gallery six, located on the sixth floor of the Broward County Main Library in Fort Lauderdale.

Beju’s resume is an impressive piece of work in and of itself. At FAT Village in Fort Lauderdale in 2013, he presented an interactive, immersion piece with eight other artists called the "UnMade Room." He has exhibited in a juried show at the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County. He was commissioned by the Italian city of Segni to create "Auguraculum Collettivo," a work of art to help facilitate communication between city officials and citizens. Currently, he has submitted an application to create a mural as a part of the
Broward 100 Mural Project. His credits, like his vision, are both impressive and unlimited.

As most artists know, however, being talented, working with the medium you love and simply loving your craft is just not enough. That is where the AEI comes in.

The Artist as an Entrepreneur Institute is an artist-focused course of study designed to assist individual artists of all disciplines by cultivating and improving their business skills.

Artist as an Entrepreneur Brochure - Links to PDFBeju, who attended the institute in 2013, describes it as, "the most wonderful tool box needed to face the real world." The most important thing he says he learned is also one of the main goals of AEI - to teach each artist how to identify and develop his or her personal brand.

To date, more than 400 artists have graduated from this program, which is presented by the Broward Cultural Division, ArtServe Inc. and the Community Partnership for Arts and Culture, based in Cleveland, Ohio. The artists receive instruction on reaching their target markets, raising capital and identifying ways to protect their work legally. These are, according to Beju, "questions most artists don’t even know they have. The benefits of these practical applications are just too numerous to list."

Beju probably explains it best when he says, "If van Gogh had attended AEI, he would have died a billionaire!" This remarkable sculptor and the other graduates of the institute can certainly testify to the benefits of this practical and effective approach to becoming artists with strong business senses.

CQ

 

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