“I think that every painter is more or less obligated to re-enact, very rapidly, the entire history of painting in his or her own development - that is to understand and pass through classicism, the 19th century, the Harlem Renaissance, impressionism, surrealism, and abstraction. Contrary to the myth of the artist as an exceptional being neither parents nor conditioning, I am persuaded that there is a precise theoretical logic in the history of painting.
The most important dimension of painting lives in the zones of silence, emotions, and mystery created by the forms, the lines, the colors, the materials, the brushstroke, and the frailties forged by chance. No one would dare say that a painting by Rembrandt or Monet is not an accumulation of abstract passages even if there is a figure. You need simply observe the picture surface to understand the extent to which, if you isolate any given square centimeter, you are immersed in an abstract canvas.”
Born and raised in Oakland, California, Bowens is the fifth boy of ten children. He began his formal art training at the Renaissance Art School in Oakland, CA during his junior and senior high school years. On completion of High School, he was awarded a scholarship to attend the California College of Arts and Crafts, but enlisted in the United States Armed Forces and became an Illustrator. He received his Associates Degree in Commercial Art under the Army’s College Education Assistance Program. Bowens continued his education in the Arts, attending both Austin Peay State University, TN and Fayettevile State University, NC while serving his tour of duty in the military. During this time, Bowens’ work was collected by two of the military’s most prestigious museums: the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Museum, Fort Bragg, NC, and the Don F. Pratt Memorial Museum, Fort Campbell, KY.
After serving his tour of duty, Bowens returned to the Bay Area and continued his art training under the mentorship of fine artist David Bradford, Head of the Art Department and lecturer at Laney College, Oakland, CA. Inspired by such greats as Jean Michel Basquiat, Robert Rauschenberg, Romare Bearden, Jacob Lawrence and Andy Warhol, Bowens changed his focus from illustration to fine art. He has evolved into a significant figure in the Bay Area art scene, not only as an artist, but also as a powerful speaker and art activist. He has consistently worked to “keep art a vital part of public education and a tool to help rebuild self-esteem in youth”, he says, and “to try to bring about a level of civility to a community in need of inspiration.”