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Thursday, August 2nd, 2012

Larry Beat Celebrates 50 Years in Art with Beachcomber Cover, Full Circle Exhibit

Larry Beat hails from Toledo, Ohio, but he’s called Florida’s Emerald Coast his home for 21 years. He has worked for the City of Destin for a decade, first in Engineering and now in the Planning Division.

In addition to planning administration, he also serves as the city’s photographer. His photos are periodically published in The Destin Log and the Northwest Florida Daily News. Beat also photographs for the Greater Fort Walton Chamber of Commerce. His photo “Gathering Geese in the Gloaming” is featured in the Mattie Kelly Environmental Institute’s 2012 calendar, and his “Sunset Supper” took second place and will appear in their 2013 calendar.

Beat has been an artist for over 50 years, starting his artistic ambitions as an eight-year-old attending Saturday morning art classes at the Toledo Museum of Art during a five-year span. Later, at the University of Toledo, he continued to study art, as well as French literature. He completed a BA in French at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) in 1984.

After two summers traveling around France and Europe, Beat joined the Air Force and became captivated by many exotic cultures. During his 20-year career, he was stationed in Germany, Las Vegas, the Philippines, Korea, and Thailand. He retired at Hurlburt Field in 1997.

The name of his studio, the Bad Habits Lounge, was borrowed from a dusty, old honky-tonk GI tavern near Clark Air Base, Angeles City, Philippines.

Beat works tirelessly to capture the best of what our area has to offer, focusing the imagery through the lens of his unique perspective to create surreal, pop art inspired prints that never fail to turn people’s heads. The high-contrast and bright colors in Larry’s digitally manipulated images provide a fascinating outlook on the people, places and wildlife he most admires about the Fort Walton Beach and Destin areas.

His images grab your attention and oblige you to ask, “What am I really seeing here?” When you figure it out, you have to smile, because in catching a glimpse of what Larry Beat sees, you gain a new appreciation for things you might otherwise take for granted.

Beat has been an enthusiastic participant in the Downtown Fort Walton Beach ArtWalks for the past four years. Instead of the normal third Friday ArtWalk, Beat sells his photos on the sidewalks of downtown Fort Walton Beach every Friday evening in front of Artesano Jewels on Miracle Strip Pkwy. The signature drinking cup party lights he uses to light his Art Walk tables make people smile.

His exhibition, Surreal Surveillance, can be experienced at Fort Walton Beach’s Full Circle Gallery through Aug. 19.