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Meet Elana Bowsher

Today we’d like to introduce you to Elana Bowsher.

Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
I grew up in the Mission District in San Francisco, California. In the 90’s, the Mission still felt grungy and edgy, full of dark cafes with bad coffee and Italian soda bars, punks with rainbow Mohawks, weird sex cinemas, taquerias, old hippies and lots of color everywhere. I loved it. I’m also lucky to have a family who also cares about art, and every kind, including writing and theater and dance and so on. My dad is a retired English teacher, and my uncle, John Bowsher, worked at MOCA and LACMA and Dia:Beacon. We visited him as he moved around.

I was especially interested in ceramics as I got older. My high school art teacher, Matt Scheatzle, still lives and works in the Bay Area, and was a big influence on me. He got me excited about Voulkus and Ron Nagle and Ken Price. I still look at their work. I was also a very serious ballet dancer. I like the contrast between the rigor and discipline that it takes to do ballet and how easy it looks on stage. I see a connection to that and my work now. I stopped dancing when I went to UCLA for Fine Art, but it has come back into my life more recently through my paintings.

After UCLA, I left Los Angeles for a couple of years to live in New York, but I now live and work as an in East Los Angeles. I am part of a special community of artists here. A lot of us went to UCLA for undergrad or grad, but not everyone by any means. We support each other, and our ideas feed off of each other, and it’s quite a tightknit group. I feel lucky to be a part of it.

Please tell us about your art.
I am a painter and a ceramicist. My recent body of work includes paintings of dancers, inspired by my experience as a ballerina growing up, and ceramic vessels that are glazed with figurative imagery. While the paintings and vessels do not necessarily look alike, they are connected in their lighthearted and autobiographical nature. Sometimes I’ll be working on a vessel, and I will take an image from it, maybe a pattern or a certain way a line looks or a color combination, and use that in my next painting. And vice versa. I’m always bouncing ideas between the two mediums.

The forms of the ceramics tend to nod to ancient Greek pottery, but I don’t take a rigid approach to the shapes at all. It’s the same with my paintings. The dancers reflect a familiar subject matter in art history, but for me, these works vacillate somewhere between self-portraiture and a fictional narrative. I’m visually representing memories and also taking imagery from stills, recorded performances, movies and even Instagram and Tik Tok. For both mediums. I try to leave everything open-ended so I have room to explore and stay excited about each piece.

We often hear from artists that being an artist can be lonely. Any advice for those looking to connect with other artists?
The best way to connect with other artists is to go to gallery openings. Even though it can be intimidating, go alone without the comfort of your best friend (unless they’re as interested in art as you), and try to talk to at least one person each night. Soon enough, you’ll see familiar faces, and it’ll get easier to be out on your own and make connections. There’s a great app called See Saw that lists the openings in every major city.

How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
You can see my work on my website www.elanabowsher.com and on my Instagram @elanabowsher. For inquiries, please contact me via email.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Image Credit for the main photo: The Macedonia Institute

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