Mark Bradley Bealmear (b. 1953) was raised in Portales, NM and attended ENMU followed by Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara CA. In the late ‘70s – early ’80s he owned a commercial photography studio in Santa Fe. In 1982 he married and shortly thereafter moved his family to New York City, living in Greenwich Village for 22 years.
While in NYC Bealmear was a prolific advertising and catalog photographer, working in large-format film and digital formats for top luxury brands. He was hired to set up and run the Tiffany & Co. studio on
the top floor of their flagship Fifth Avenue store where he remained for five years, producing images for ads featured prominently in the world’s fashion magazines. He worked with Jacqueline Onassis, who edited several beautiful books about Tiffany, along with many of New York’s other top art directors and designers.
Walking uptown to work one morning in the spring of 1989, Bealmear experienced what he has found necessary to describe as a “vision” – in the middle of 40th Street. Sitting on the steps of the NY Public Library to attempt to write about what he had experienced, he realized that his life had suddenly and dramatically changed. Although he would continue to photograph, mostly for luxury-oriented clients, the philosophy he had acquired that day would guide his life going forward. Meanwhile he would launch various start-ups (Bunjii Design in NYC; High Desert Properties, The Santa Fe Dreambook, and Honey P. Nutty in Santa Fe). It must be said these ventures were seldom very successful. They were mainly seen as possible ways to provide help in exploring Bealmear’s rather radical environmental ideas.
The philosophy seen in the vision is this: our species should be guiding every action by the question “Does this action harm life and Earth?” Anything else, by definition, harms the planet and its life, and must inevitably eventually lead to extinction. In recent years this has started to come into startling focus.
In 2004 Bealmear left NYC and after a short stay in Florida moved with his wife back to Santa Fe in 2006. He continued to photograph, both commercially and as fine art for several years. In 2014 he began to paint and discovered the medium allowed him to comment on his philosophy in a quiet abstract way that suited him. In 2016 he sold his photo gear so as not to be distracted, and began painting full time.
The artist prefers to work in series. Painting projects to date include Manifesto (2014, six works), Composition (2016, 13 works), Días de Trueno (2017, 41 works), Angel of Earth and Life (2017, seven works), Flowers (2017, 14 works), Noches de los Ángeles Vengativos (2018, seven works), Revisions (2016-18, 119 works), New Atmosphere (2018-19, 41 works), Astral Vagabond (2019, 17 works), Studies for a New Atmosphere (2019, 300 works), and The Reckoning (2018-19, 38 works). He completed a series of 150 large-format figurative illustrations, Mythical Creatures, in 2018. All may be viewed on his website, MarkBealmear.com.
Bealmear had two works included in the exhibition “Axle Indoors at Peters Projects” in 2015, and several works from his series The Reckoning were shown at City of Mud Gallery in Santa Fe in 2018. He donated 300 small dark works on paper driven by climate change, Studies for a New Atmosphere, to 231 art museums worldwide in the summer of 2019. 30 have been returned to date; the others are in the museum collections (or in the museum round files).
The November 2019 show at FOMA Santa Fe was Bealmear’s first solo exhibition. His paintings are found in collections in the UK and the US.