Mark Basehore and James McConnell
Location: Beep Beep Gallery
Date taken: January 26, 2013
In 2006, Mark Basehore and James McConnell put together their first art show with a few friends. The show, which doubled as an open house party for their friend’s new Oakhurst home, featured art of people they knew hung on the empty walls of the house.
“I remember receiving lots of feedback about that event,” said Mark. “But people didn’t tell us to host another party. They said ‘You guys should host another art show.”
Mark and James followed their advice. After a few more arts shows at the Oakhurst home and one at a restaurant, the two friends, who met while working together at Aurora Coffee, opened Beep Beep gallery in its present location on Charles Allen Drive in August 2006.
From the beginning, Mark’s and James’ vision for Beep Beep has been to focus not on the desire of customers, but on the needs and creativity of artists, specifically emerging artists.
“Beep Beep’s purpose has to do with providing a place for artists who might not be established to show fresh art,” said Mark., a native of Danielson, Conn., who moved to Atlanta in 2001 to attend graduate school. “Our shows give artists an opportunity to learn some of the basics of a show, what things look like on a wall or what sells.”
Their partnership has expanded from Beep Beep’s monthly art shows to Artlantis, an annual arts festival held the first weekend in June, and now, to opening a bar on Edgewood Avenue. Mark and James both recently resigned from their full-time jobs to focus on Beep Beep and opening the yet to be named bar this year.
“Our partnership works because we avoid talking about the stuff we aren’t actually going to do. We focus on the ideas that we want to see to completion,” said James, at native of Atlanta. “And, I think we balance each other well. The things one of us is good at … the other might not be.”
While both Mark and James grew up with an appreciation for art, Mark has spent a good deal of his adult life making art in some form and searching out new forums for creative expression, including hanging shows at Beep Beep. And, James talks passionately about the value of creating and managing their own projects and visions.
“There is something about being your own boss and creating something people like and respect,” said James. “We’ve created opportunities for ourselves because we could create them for ourselves. And now, with the bar, we are trying to add to it.”