Q&A with Joel Berman
Family Office Insights sits down with artist and creative thinker Joel Berman to discuss his program coined Art of Freedom and how he hopes to change the world through creativity and positivity.
Family Office Insights is a voluntary, “opt-in” collaborative peer-to-peer community of single family offices, qualified investors and institutional investors. Join the community here www.familyofficeinsights.com
What was your life's journey that led you to becoming an artist?
It’s been a real crazy journey. I went from being a Jerky making boxing promoter in Vegas, to a vegan artist living in NYC.
As a young child I dealt with severe physical OCD, which in later life manifested into OCD of thought. I am an existential thinker and my thoughts kept me in a constant state of anxiety and depression for most of my life. One miraculous day, a feeling of peace came to me and the joy that I felt needed to be expressed. I was drawn to the canvas like a moth to a light and after the years of darkness, I had a lot of color that came out of me.
With all that being said, my main motivation for painting is to give back. For every painting I sell, I donate one to an NGO for auction.
What services do you offer?
I sell my original artworks to private clients and companies and I do commissioned paintings. About 25 percent of my work is commissioned. I work directly with my clients and I also work with interior decorators and architects. I have been fortunate not to have needed a gallery.
I also work with companies as a motivational speaker and WeWork is my biggest corporate client at the moment.
The program I developed is called the Art of Freedom. It has literally exploded and is really exciting. I help people express the individuality and creativity through art and work with companies that have 10 employees up to large scale Fortune 500 companies.
I’ve created an inspiring and motivational program that gives people permission to be themselves and express their inner self through the creative power of art. We provide everything you need to promote the event. Paint, brushes, take home easels, canvases , gift bags, limited edition Bermano prints, set up, clean up and music.
I have also started to do private and small group sessions using art and my life's journey to give people a sense of pride in their paintings, which ultimately means they have a sense of pride in themselves. Everything about the person’s being form the smallest blood cell to their soul is miraculous and I help people realize how special they are.
Tell us about your art commissions. How does that work?
Generally speaking I do commissions because people want similar paintings to what I have done in the past or the client has a specific theme they want painted in my style. Different clients require different sizes and color schemes. I work with the client and/or designers and establish what they want to achieve in their personal or business space.
All my paintings bring life, energy and joy; that is my signature. I paint free, so my freedom is always captured in a piece no whatever what I paint.
My works hang on the walls of some of the world’s top celebrities and business people including the Royal family of Monaco. That being said, I have never lost a client due to price; it is always such an honor that someone wants my paintings in their life, so I will always work out a plan for someone to purchase my art if they really want it. That means painting an original with a size that is realistic to their budget or producing a limited edition print.
What do you believe art freedom to be?
Authenticity is a rare thing. Being able to make something from nothing on a canvas can be intimidating, but it brings out the utmost authenticity thorough the creative process.
Art of Freedom gives a person permission to be totally free without being judged. They can be their authentic self even if for only a few hours. We are all so different as human beings and I absolutely believe that people should express who they are inside through their art.
Painting allows the right side of your brain to operate, which in turn leads to more lateral thinking, which allows you to eventually analyze and see the world through a different set of eyes.
Unlike the traditional painting events where everyone copies the same painting, the Art of Freedom encourages people to express themselves through their own special creativity. You can literally see the change of energy from before the event starts till after it ends. People leave amazingly positive and inspired. I could relate the Art of Freedom experience to doing six hour Yoga sessions, four hours of meditation, a full day of fasting and a three hour steam bath. That's how powerful the effects actually are!
Who can benefit from Art of Freedom?
There is not a person who cannot benefit from Art of Freedom. Every human has creativity built into their DNA. People who come to me and say “I am a terrible painter,” are so blown away by their painting. It gives me so much joy to see the transformation in such a small amount of time.
What's next for you and for your company?
I am going to have thousands of Bermano Art of Freedom events around the country and the world in the next few years. It has taken me a lifetime to realize I am the real deal and as authentic as you get and what I have created cannot be replicated. Bermano's Art of Freedom is one of kind and I want as many people as possible to share in this amazing process.
I am on the path to becoming a keynote motivational speaker. I believe that everyone has a keynote talk in them and I want to tell people about my life and my story and help people change their lives and thought process. Through my own journey and understanding that most people suffer from some form of depression, anxiety and despair I have a very powerful message that being "everything is going to be OK" and you need a bit of faith to get through the rough times.
I was born in 1971 in Johannesburg South Africa. My name is Joel Berman and when I began to paint people called me Bermano as in Picasso, Michael Angelo and Van Gogh. I have no art training at all and I had no interest in art whatsoever, but one day that all changed, I started painting by a miraculous chance of fate and never stopped.
I come from a boxing background, so most of my life I have been surrounded by a blood sport. I made a long journey from being a Beef Jerky making boxing promoter in Las Vegas to becoming a leaf eating Vegan artist in NYC.
One day a friend of mine who happens to be a very successful artist, came to visit me in Dallas, when he departed he left a tube of paint next to my television set by mistake.
As a young child I dealt with severe physical OCD, which in later life manifested into OCD of thought. I am an existential thinker and my thoughts kept me in a constant state of anxiety and depression for most of my life. One miraculous day a feeling of peace came over me and the joy that I felt needed to be expressed. One night I decided I had enough of watching adverts on TV, so I literally got up put some paint from the tube that was left next to TV in my hand and smeared it all over the screen. This eventually led to me painting my car my motorcycle and my watch.
After that I went to buy a single canvas and was drawn to painting like a moth to a flame, after the years of darkness I had a lot of color that came out of me.
I work with amazing NGO’s and donate a painting for every painting I sell to be auctioned for a worthwhile cause.
I have exhibited at Art Basel twice the most recent being 2016, the Hamptons, Manhattan, London, Monaco and South Africa. This year I have been chosen as the art patron for a big Charity event being held at liberty National golf course where they are playing the presidents cup.
My works hang on the walls of some of the world’s top celebrities and business people including the Royal family of Monaco.
When I feel alone I paint, when I’m bored I paint, when happy I paint when I’m sad and down I force myself to paint, and get clear minded and happy! I paint with passion and emotion with explosive vibrant color. I paint like I’m trying to find a color that does not exist in this reality.