Kirsten Bowen In-Depth

Artist In-Depth: Kirsten Bowen

This week we sat down with Kirsten for a one-on-one interview to get to know the artist behind the art that has proven so popular with our clients. If you're not familiar with her work, click here to see her artist page. If you're already a fan, you'll enjoy this conversation we had with her!

Rumjahn: Your work is very wide-ranging: florals, animals, landscapes, people. How do you choose your subject matter? What makes you decide, on any given day, "I'm going to paint a horse," or "I'm going to paint a flower?"

Kirsten: Good question!  Too much time inside my head really, and relying on intuition! 
I have a great luxury of keeping consistency because of the layers of text that tie all my work together...
it's often the time of year that I crave certain imagery, flowers in spring and early summer, wooded landscapes in the fall and winter,
animals are a little less prevalent in my work now that I live in the city. I like the shapes of them in their profile often.
Occasionally I paint an iconic food or person. I sometimes have trouble painting a whole series of one subject matter all in a row and like the variety
of change. Sometimes the paintings include no imagery at all (like the "love" painting shown here) and they just stand on color, texture, lights and darks.

Rumjahn: Your Artist Statement describes in great detail your creative process. I've even seen an Instagram video of you at work. How long does it take you to create a painting?

Kirsten: My paintings take anywhere from a couple days to a month depending on scale and complexity.

Rumjahn: Your bio states that you have an extensive background in textiles. How has this experience informed the creation of your art today?

Kirsten: My first art job out of college was carpet design and then I did textile design for several years for the garment industry. I have always loved pattern. My paintings have pattern in the texture. I graduated from college with an illustration portfolio with richly patterned clothing on figures and that's how I fell into some pattern design fields. In my schooling, I also took extra lettering classes and poetry which seems apropos now.

Rumjahn: You’ve owned your own gallery. What do you miss the most about running an art gallery?

Kirsten: I really miss promoting other artists work. I'm such an admirer of other artists and like to see them do well. I also liked having carte blanche about marketing and choice of exhibitions.

Rumjahn: What do you see yourself doing differently in the future?

Kirsten: I don't know!   [Laughs]... but maybe I'd say working on epic scale paintings for nice hotels where many eyes would see them and not
require formal jurying, exhibition, and pageantry hoopla. After owning a gallery I'm "over" hosting or being featured at receptions. I do love going to other people's though! 
And I sometimes fantasize about having a huge studio full of interns and assistants all working together on something. but that sounds like more responsibility than creativity. 


Rumjahn: What's your guilty pleasure?

Kirsten: Actually, One of my guilty pleasures is working from a photo of someone's interior. I'm supposed to think that decorating with art and matching sofas is taboo and I understand that philosophy but love to decorate as a hobby. On my bios I typically downplay the number of intense years I was doing interior faux and murals, because customers were so gaga about it, and I wanted to move on to fine art. I was honestly super busy with that and that is where most of the money to fund my gallery came from...  but I eventually created a body of fine art that was well received and over some years i became as successful at fine art as I  had been at faux painting. To this day I keep two different color decks to help me work through color schemes and I invite design people to give me a color palette for their commissioned painting. Speculative paintings are also a fun gamble for me, and often the impetus comes from an art dealer's tip.  They might say "so and so needs a painting a certain size and here are their colors."   This openness lets my paintings evolve organically instead of being prescriptive. They tend to feel very inspired and always sell, whether to the intended customer or someone else.
I am lucky to survive as a painter, but they say the harder you work the more "luck" you have!

We at The Rumjahn Gallery loved this last answer, as we have quite a bit of experience putting clients together with artists for commissioned works. If you have an interior design challenge or are looking for that special piece of art to fit your space, talk to us about finding, or having an artist create, that very special piece.