The Man Behind the Mania
…Just do something different.
Judson’s approach to design was primed by an instructor in art school who challenged Jud to do whatever he wanted for a sculpture project. This turned his mind inside out: until then, Judson had believed that in order to design and build anything, you had to get a set of instructions from a book or a magazine. He had always assumed that someone else had to come up with the ideas and then he was supposed to build it that way.
I wonder if that instructor had any idea what kind of delightful insanity he was unleashing into the world? A man who turns furniture into whimsical companions; creates artistic pieces that provoke laughter and astonishment; designs rooms that are a child’s dream realm. Judson’s joy is to take a crazy idea and make it happen – to make it possible.
My rule is: if you can draw and design it, you can build it. I love it when someone tells me, ‘You cannot build that’ or ‘No one would want that’. These words only encourage me more.
Judson Beaumont was born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in 1960. He came to Vancouver, BC to study art at Capilano College, completing his studies at the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design. He graduated from their 3-D department in 1985 and that same year founded Straight Line Designs Inc., creating one-of-a-kind furniture pieces and commissions. Jud began with doing hard-edged, geometrical, straight pieces; after five years of that, Jud got really bored. He decided to shake it up and try something different.
Examples of Jud’s Early Work
Judson is motivated by a desire to make people question the objects around them. The challenge is to design pieces that are unique, inspiring and always highly functional. “A person must dare to drift away from the tried and true in order to give a piece energy and interest. Be influenced and inspired by the norm, and then challenge it, change it, melt it, stretch it, alter it for the better” says Judson. Taking a different path with something that has been done over and over again, Judson demonstrates that anything is possible and that ideas set limitless boundaries.
Interview with Jud by Design Lives
Wood If - Documentary Short
Judson’s quirky work has opened doors for him around the world; he is celebrated in Japan and Dubai, and has made several trips abroad to enjoy showcases of his work as well as to develop to new lines and designs. His work has been featured in hospitals, libraries, and airports, and never fails to bring smiles of delight and a desire to explore to those who encounter his work. Read more about his adventures abroad here.
Judson has donated many pieces to charitable organizations including Arts Umbrella, the Vancouver Art Gallery, BC Guide Dog Services, AIDS Vancouver and BC Children’s Hospital. In addition to his donations, Judson takes time out of work to give talks and slide show presentations to students of all ages as well as design professionals. He is an active member of BC Wood, Woodlinks and the Furniture Society and a regular speaker at woodworking related workshops at BCIT.