Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Featuring International Artist Lee Bowers

Recently my friend Lee Bowers was in town for the opening of her fine art exhibit at MLB Designs and Boutique in the Kansas City Arts District. It was so good to catch up with her.  Please enjoy our conversation, some of her fabulous art, as well as her new venture!

Lee's art will be on exhibit for the month of October and I will also include her own website links below.

1) Lee, when did you first become interested in the arts and find that you had a creative side to unleash on the world?

When I was 8 my Mother commissioned a very well known Topeka portrait artist, Margaret Wakeman, for portraits of my older brother and myself.  I sat for her in her studio and she showed me her materials and talked about her techniques.  I told my parents that day that I wanted to be an artist just like her.  Taking me seriously, and also because we have other professional women artists in the family, they signed me up for drawing classes at Washburne University on Saturdays.  I never changed my mind and the the skills came naturally to me.

Artist Lee Bowers

2) Do or did you have mentors who encouraged your interest in art?

All of my teachers encouraged my talents in drawing and painting through grade school up through graduate school.  Mentors though were only three, Larry Schoulder, my printmaking teacher at SMU, Carmelita Maracci, my ballet teacher for ten years after Cal-Arts in Los Angeles, and Jules Engel, my animation mentor at CalArts.   

Carmelita possessed a brilliant mind and took me under her guidance regarding, not only dance and music, but also art history and philosophy and literature.  She was great friends with artists such as Frieda Kahlo, Rico LeBruen, and Edward Weston.  While in graduate school at CalArts I had the great pleasure to have Jules Engel as my official mentor.  He was from Budapest and after escaping to Hollywood, was hired by Disney to design for Fantasia.   

Mentor Carmelita Maracci

3) Are there certain artists past or present that you especially admire?

I admire many artists and it is always changing depending on who I have been exposed to.  In the early days, Georgia O'Keefe, of course, and I visited her home and studio in 1978.  Early also are MC Escher, Magritte, Goya, and all of the french landscape artists like Millet etc.  

Later I fell for the abstract expressionists and today I love April Gornik's landscapes, Walton Ford's wild and provocative watercolors....and a French painter on my SpartaApp, Patrick Boussignac....truly the finest Surrealist Figurative artist living today.  John Singer Sargent, Edwin Church, Helen Frankenthaler, Motherwell, Hudson River School gang, Degas.....I also have great admiration for Kansas artist and friend, Lisa Grossman.  This could go on and on...but not now.

Cerro Gordo

4) You have lived in many wonderful cities around the world, How did this inspire you art? What else inspires you to create paintings?

My inspiration has always been nature.  Wherever I am the landscape wraps around me and then I interpret.  It is very simple. Additional Landscape Influences:  Bierstadt, David Hockney, the skies of Gainsborough.

Flint Hills

Seated Clouds

5) Lee, would you tell our readers about your exciting venture, Gallerie Sparta?

I co-owned Gallerie Sparta in West Hollywood with my partner, Stephan Sparta.  We represented both International established artists and celebrity artists...and me, of course.  It was a wild ride.  Google Gallerie Sparta to see thirteen pages of our openings and press.  We even held an exhibit of the late Dr. Jack Kevorkian paintings....yes he painted...and quite well. 

In addition, my personal website is 
Our online site is Gallerie Sparta

6) What else is in the works for the near future, upcoming exhibits, etc? I know you are the featured artist at MLB Designs & Boutique for the month of October, for anyone in the Kansas City area.

SpartaApp, SpartaApp, SpartaApp.  We launched our new International Art App that connects collectors directly to artists....worldwide in March and are very much consumed with it.
You buy directly from our artists without any commissions.  We empower artists in over 55 countries and adding daily.  Free download to iPhone and Android in the works.  I think that I have been training for this adventure my whole art life.  I know what artists desire.

7) How do you like to spend your down time to relax and recharge? 

What down time?  Yoga in the mornings by myself, walks with Lilly the Golden Retriever everyday, cooking with Stephan each evening.  We do get to travel quite a lot as well.   

I am taking sculptures classes here in Palm Springs in clay.  It is one medium that I had never tried.  Working on a large "Boteroesque" like horse.

Lee and her partner Stephan

8) What advice do you have for the beginning artist of any age? 

We just started representing a new artist who began only one year ago with her whimsical and sensual "Assemblage" artworks.  She is 75.  Just do it if you have the calling.

Lee, thank you so much, and I really love your last thought on advice for the beginning artist!

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