‘The Observer,’ a startling self-portrait by David M. Bower, 2011.
“Making art has always been inside of me. I think most artists would say that art choose them and not that they had chose art.”
—painter David M. Bowers.
Two paintings by artist David M. Bowers are a part of the permanent collection of the National Portrait Gallery—which is no easy feat by any measure. Though some of his works have surrealist qualities, Bowers’ paintings also possess similarities to the craftsmanship of the great masters of the Renaissance such as Sandro Botticelli, and Flemish painters Peter Paul Rubens and Robert Campin. Bowers himself likes to describe his work as “realism with an edge,” words which pretty much nail his impactful, breathtaking paintings.
Once Bowers graduated from art school in 1979, he immediately landed a gig working as a staff artist in and around his native Pittsburgh. A couple of years later he would accept a teaching position at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh that lasted a decade. His official career as a serious artist didn’t begin until he was 35 at which time he created artwork for over 100 book covers as well as work that ran on the cover of TIME magazine. All this makes it very possible that you’ve seen Bowers’ extraordinary artwork before but perhaps were not entirely sure who was responsible for creating such ethereal and mind-bogglingly realistic paintings. Here’s more from Bowers on his vibrantly imaginative concepts:
“People always want to know what I was thinking when I create one of my more unusual paintings. My answer to them is simple: I just really wanted to paint that girl wrapped in plastic, holding a dead rat. The story sometimes just happens during the painting process. Sometimes the hidden narrative or true meaning is in the title itself. I am often inspired by an image that I see and my painting materializes from that image. It will often morph into so much more.”
Bowers’ long list of contributions to the art world have received an equally long list of accolades, and when he officially moved into the world of fine art, he would be recognized by The Art Renewal Center as a “living master.” Some of Bowers’ work that I’ve featured in this post is NSFW, but I do hope that doesn’t stop you from exploring the images of his extraordinary paintings below. If you like what you see then you’ll also be happy to know that Bowers’ work is the subject of the 2006 book, David Michael Bowers: The Evolution of an Artist.
‘The Three Graces.’
More after the jump…