Alan Beckstead


 I have always enjoyed coming to San Francisco during the June Pride Parade. The whole city seems to embrace the LGBTQ community. Major segments of the LGBTQ and allies are front and center. The parade also provides a venue for many smaller groups and individuals that might be considered on the fringe of the community. For that few hours in June, they are provided a voice to a million-plus parade watchers along Market Street.  I have always felt the parade represent a way for us to honor all the LGBTQ leaders from past decades.   A celebration of our successes and advancement along with the continue struggles.

My paintings reflect SF Pride participants from 2010 forward. They represent a period when California Proposition 8 was overturned and the Supreme Court opened up the rights to marriage for all 50 states. It was something I never imagined would happen in my lifetime A true celebration of the progress for equality. Every Americans’ dream and rightful expectation.  The works also capture the sadness but solidarity from the Orlando Pulse tragedy.   A reminder that in many ways we still face the same intolerance from the 70’s. I started bringing my camera to the parade and taking hundreds photographs of almost anything that moved. I had many amazing pictures but I wasn’t quite sure what to do with them. I finally concluded that making compositions of the people in and out of the parade could make an interesting subject. My goal was to capture the magnitude of the event on an individual level.

The first two in the series were an experiment on doing figurative art. I was fascinated with trying to capture the movement of the people, vehicles, and bystanders in a static mode. The new work began to incorporate wider ranges of people. I wanted to paint people that took their own creativity to a higher level than most. I hope these paintings do capture a moment in the history of San Francisco’s LGBTQ community at a time of equality history. I want them to tell a story, provide some humor, and a little sarcasm. Smile or shed a tear when you look at the work.

I was inspired to keep expanding the series to include LGBTQ events in the Russian River and a new series Mirror-Mirror paintings of Male Selfies.