“Where else can you live off of $10,000 a year?” he responds as he recounts his early career as a “starving artist” in Fresno, which indeed boasts one of the lowest costs of living in California. This allowed him to work for just three months and spend the other nine creating art and pushing the boundaries of his own craft.
“Living here in Fresno permitted me to develop as an artist without the influence of other artists that I would have been surrounded by had I lived in L.A. or San Fran,” says Bowers, eyes twinkling at the irony that a relative lack of culture could stimulate one’s creativity.
Yet, stimulate it seems to have done. The merger of natural and man-made materials seems to be a recurring theme in the Fresno art scene, but the sculptural wood wall piece that greets those entering Gallery 1821 is a tribute to Bowers’ unique artistry that has been incubating for several decades here in the Central Valley.
The slender twigs inlaid with rhinestones have been shaped and placed to suggest a skyward gaze by one stretched out upon the grass on a summer’s night.
Craving the back story, I asked Phil where he had found the twigs used for the exhibit. Perhaps gathered on a walk in the woods? No, they have a much more poetic history.
“I spotted them on the side of the street one day during Fresno’s semi-annual trash pick-up day.” Shaped while still supple and left for a year, these scraps became the shapes transfixing locals at last night’s Art Hop.
Catch Phil Bower’s exhibit during January’s Art Hop on January 8th or through the duration of his exhibit ending January 17th, 2015 at Gallery 1821 – 1821 Calaveras Street, Fresno.
This much aesthetic can really make a girl hungry. Thankfully, our docent and friend, Gerry guided us from a fantastic experience at Gallery 1821 to Cosmos, a longstanding West Fresno eatery. Two amazing experiences we never would have discovered ourselves. When in Rome…
As Gerry listed off countless Fresno establishments we’ve been missing so far, some magician in the kitchen whipped up the most delicious pie I’ve had the privilege to enjoy this side of the Mississippi. The Gemma boasted fresh tomatoes, carmelized onions, basil, olives and goat cheese over a cracker thin crust.
It was one masterpiece after another on an unassuming Thursday evening in the Fresyes. Many thanks to Gerry for showing us around (and inspiring a few dozen future posts).