Meet Lawrence Bowden
Q. Tell us a bit about your background.
I began painting in 1996 while studying Zen with Kazuaki Tanahashi, an internationally recognized scholar of Zen Buddhism and master painter. He helped me to understand that the Way of Zen is a Way of Art, and so I began my art by doing Zen brush painting — ink on rice paper. I did this exclusively for about a decade and then decided to extend my art by exploring with the medium of acrylic and canvas.
Q. Describe the art that you make.
My art is rooted in the Zen aesthetic of directness and simplicity. The images are simply what they are as they meet the eye — satisfying, peaceful, expansive or just not. Yes ... I hope they offer meaning and depth beyond what meets the eye (they, in fact, all have a certain Buddhist frame from which they peer), but that's less significant than their presence as an object worthy of contemplation.
They're no more to everybody's taste than any other form of meditation, contemplation, or spiritual exploration. The point of what I do is to offer a visual moment that is pleasing, a bit intriguing, and — if you want to expend the effort — a bit informative.
Q. What is your creative process?
I don't understand "the creative process" so I don't know how to answer this question. Creativity is the Daemon and it works its way uniquely in every individual. The "artist" gets more credit than deserved for "being creative."
Far be it from me to explain it.
Q. What/who inspires you?
What I know about color theory and the spiritual qualities of the abstract I learned from Mondrian. What informs my composition is an Asian aesthetic rooted in Zen Buddhism. And what inspires me most are artists who are unafraid of being a bit unconventional, still care about craft, see beauty in simplicity, and who need not be profound to speak.
Q: What brought you to Riverviews Artspace? What keeps you here?
The search for a Studio space I could afford outside the home. There's something very nice about having a place to go, a kind of sanctuary, where I can do my art. RVAS made that opportunity available by being affordable for someone who does not make his living exclusively by selling art!
I "stay," frankly, because I believe that RVAS is devoted to making artspace affordable to artists, primarily. And because I believe that RVAS realizes that "art" is protean — it takes many forms of expression.
Q: What has your experience been like at Riverviews?
It's been a wonderful place to work. I've met a wide variety of thoughtful and creative people who are a pleasure to know, talk with, and create alongside.
Q: What are your thoughts about working and/or living within an artistic community?
I'm old fashioned. I still believe that original art is largely a solitary experience. BUT it is one that absolutely requires exposure to art other than one's own and to others who endeavor to be self-consciously, deliberatively creative. So it's great to have a space where you can go into your studio and shut the door to work ... but also open your door and find another artist doing their thing right there with you.
Q: What sort of people would you like to see involved at Riverviews?
I enjoy the people who are already there. But it would be great to have more people who have a large and less conventional orientation to art.
For example, I've always been confounded by those who want to distinguish "craft" from "art"? Or those who think "if it's not in a gallery or a museum it isn't art."
Q. Anything else you'd like to share?
Yeah ... why not be a little adventuresome and take in, maybe even purchase, some art that stretches you out of the ordinary? And, if you believe in "living local," why not visit RVAS and discover the Riverviews Artist's Co-op Gallery?
Support your local artists!