Down on Julia Street in New Orleans, fine artist Alex Beard has a gallery where his gorgeous nature-inspired paintings and drawings are on display.
Elephants, birds of paradise, and flowery fish are among the colorful creatures drawn out by Alex’s hand. Some are portraits, and some are whimsical landscapes of these exotic creatures interacting with the familiar street scenes of New Orleans. Imagine giraffes, tigers and peacocks strutting among streetcars, Mardi Gras floats and French Quarter balconies!
There are also fine art children’s books and jigsaw puzzles for sale at 608 Julia, geared toward the young and the young at heart, for Alex is an artist with a mission. He wants to educate children about the importance of preserving the Earth’s wilderness and saving endangered wildlife.
His first children’s book, The Jungle Grapevine, debuted in 2009. (Listen to Alex narrate this story.) It’s a comedic game of telephone between animals in the savannah….. “When Bird mixes up something Turtle says, he accidentally starts a rumor about the watering hole drying up. One misunderstanding leads to another, with animals making their own hilarious assumptions.” There are two more books in the Watering Hole Trilogy: Monkey See, Monkey Draw, and Crocodile’s Tears.
In 2012, Alex established The Watering Hole Foundation. The first project of the foundation was centered on protecting the Wild African Elephant in Northern Kenya. Today, the foundation funds conservation efforts locally in Louisiana, nationally, and internationally.
Enjoy this interview on Confetti Park, where Alex shares the secret of how he first landed a children’s book publishing deal. Other aspiring writers—and anyone with a dream, really—will enjoy his advice.
“There’s no single path,” admits Alex, “But I try to make it so that whatever meeting I go into, for whatever goal I have, I try to figure out…how do I make it that I have checked every box that they require to get it through the corporate structure? I’m trying to give ammunition to the people who would like to sign me up, so that they can sell it to the people they work with, who will have never met me.”