Multimedia creations by Leonard Beam exhibited at the Pinecone Art Gallery

Leonard Beam opened the Pinecone Art Gallery in M’Chigeeng last year, but is looking forward to a boosted tourist season this summer. He is pictured here with some of his works. photo of Michael Erskine

M’CHIGEENG—The walls of Pinecone Art Gallery in M’Chigeeng are adorned with an eclectic mix of mixed media artwork by Leonard Beam. Mr Beam opened the gallery located at the bottom of the hill in M’Chigeeng next to the former Susan Hare law firm.

“I actually started out wanting to learn how to paint furniture,” laughs Beam, who earned his BFA from Vancouver’s prestigious Emily Carr University of Art and Design. “I got hooked soon after I started classes,” he said. “I haven’t looked back since.”

Mr. Beam spent 20 years in Vancouver before returning home to M’Chigeeng. “It must be so expensive there,” he said. “It’s crazy.”

Although based in the west, the artist still moved around a lot and said he drew a lot of inspiration for his art from these trips, mainly to Canada, although he enjoyed a stay in Italy. . “I really like the west, especially the badlands,” he said. “Italy was amazing, the sculptures, not just one by one artist, but so many.”

Mr Beam comes from a family of artists, his brother, the late Carl Beam, was an internationally renowned artist whose works are exhibited at the National Gallery and his sister-in-law Ann Beam and niece Anong Beam are accomplished artists in their own right.

Mr. Beam hasn’t completely strayed from his own roots, with some of his art on functional furniture, while other platforms range from traditional canvas (“I stretch my own canvas”) to museum quality paper.

The price of his works ranges from several thousand dollars for larger format paintings to smaller works more accessible to a limited wallet. “I like to have something for everyone,” he said. “Not everyone has room for bigger paintings.”

To this end, Mr. Beam had some of his work reproduced in prints by OJ Graphix at Espanola. “It’s good to keep things local when you can,” he said.

One of his most popular formats are works mounted on small square panels.

The subjects of his works are wide ranging, usually juxtaposing divergent images to create a message to the viewer at their intersections.

Although he has the gallery/workspace on Highway 540 at the bottom of the hill leading to M’Chigeeng, Mr. Beam said he currently mainly works in his apartment. “It’s quiet in the winter, so I don’t bother going into the gallery if I don’t have to,” he says. “I plan to have internet here soon so I can set up my computer.”

Although the studio is expected to open around May, those wishing to come should make an appointment by calling 705-348-2770 or emailing [email protected]

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