The Observer (self-portrait)
29 x 18½ in.
oil on hardboard panel
David Michael Bowers was born in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania in 1956, and graduated from art school in Pittsburgh in 1979. Soon after, he began working as a staff artist at various studios in Pittsburgh, and within two years, began teaching at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, where he lectured for the next ten years.
In 1991, David began his illustration career, working mostly with publishers in New York City, and over the course of the next ten years, completed over one hundred book covers. His illustrations also graced the covers of many, prominent magazines, including TIME. The awards he received were numerous, including three Joseph Morgan Henniger Awards, a “Best of Show” from the Society of Illustrators of Los Angeles, and two Patrick Nagel awards. These awards recognized Bowers as having the best, published illustration of the year. Additionally, Bowers has received medals and Merit awards from the Society of Illustrators in New York, Spectrum: The Annual of the Best of Fantastic Art, and from Communication Arts Magazine.
In the mid 1990s Bowers began to focus more on fine art, splitting his time between his illustration assignments, and personal paintings. He had his first solo exhibition at the James Gallery in Pittsburgh in 1995. Since then, Bowers has had exhibitions across America and Europe, including the Mendenhall Gallery in Pasadena, CA; Gallerie 224 in Laguna Beach; Klaudia Marr Gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico; Gallery Brusen in Denmark; Halcyon Gallery in London, England; Marcel Salome Gallery in The Netherlands; The Butler Institute of American Art; and The Westmoreland Museum of American Art. His fine art awards include: Best of Show from The International Guild of Realism in 2011; The Best Tromp L’oeil award in 2010; the Pioneer in Realism award in 2009; and a first place award for the painting titled, “Made in America” in the Portrait Society of Americas Members Only competition. Bowers was also a semifinalist in the 2009 Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition at National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution.
His realistic paintings have been described as a blend of Renaissance master and figural surrealist, with a touch of fantasy art mixed in. Upon first glance, Bowers' work seems to take you back to periods of painting long gone. However, Bowers' paintings incorporate modern themes and ideas. There is always a message in his work. For him the idea is the most challenging and rewarding part of the painting.
Bowers lives with his wife Kimberlie in the Pittsburgh area, where he paints very slowly and methodically, day in, and day out.
"My paintings reflect my observations of humanity and the never-ending trials and tribulations we subject ourselves to. They are a tribute to the artist who went before me. In each age, these men and women have acted as observers and chroniclers of the human condition. As their work inspired me, I can only hope that my paintings will act as a guidepost to those who follow."
More of Bowers' work can be seen at his website, www.dmbowers.com.
Sources: D.M. Bowers' website, Beinart International Surreal Art Collective, and the Art Renewal Center: Living Master biographies.