by Donna Parker
In the middle of Austin, Brian "Bydee Man" Joseph, who received a master's degree in urban studies from Trinity in 1983, put paint brush to canvas, using his bright, cheery colors to spell out one word-HAITI. It's a canvas that will be auctioned off for HACAOT (Haitian and American Caribbean Organization of Texas) in May.
"The proceeds from this auction will help sponsor a medical mission to help the Haitian earthquake victims," says Brian.
"I was approached by a friend whom I met at Trinity to become a sponsor, and now my goal is to help sell 1,000 tickets to raise $5,000 for the medical relief effort."
It seems helping others and keying in on the life's joys have been Brian's focus for many years. The Bydees (Bringing You Delightful Entertaining Experiences) are a group of fictitious people that he created to bring happiness to the world. They are silhouettes-colorful figures with no faces-and meant to express happiness through their movement.
"My friends were always coming to me with problems. One day I asked a buddy why everybody kept calling on me and he said that anyone could tell me anything and I'd listen. I decided then that happiness is the way to go. Even now, there is always somebody coming by the gallery to ask advice or share something that they're doing. They know that I will be encouraging rather than discouraging."
Brian originally moved to Austin to work in public administration, but he began painting in 1986 and never looked back. He does, however, utilize his degree. Just recently, he negotiated to transform his gallery, located in a revitalized section of Austin, into a community gallery.
"I don't pick the artists. I don't charge commission. I did get my rent reduced this way," he laughs.
"After all, I went to Trinity, you know. Those studies at Trinity have always been at the forefront of my life."
Brian cites Drs. Earl Lewis and Cathy Powell - both in the department of urban studies - as being the most influential in his life choices.
"Dr. Powell loved the way I wrote and was always very encouraging, especially for my thesis. And, Dr. Lewis called me 'the veteran.' He knew I was behind the scenes encouraging others to question the status quo," chuckles Brian.
"The secret to happiness is doing what you want to do," he smiles.
"It's long been my blessing to give and I always get more in return."
You may contact Brian at bydeeart [at] hotmail.com.