Image courtesy of Day Bowman
Interview: Day Bowman
Luca Curci talks with Day Bowman during ANIMA MUNDI FESTIVAL 2019 – RITUALS at THE ROOM Contemporary Art Space.
Day Bowman is a graduate of Chelsea School of Art and London University whose painting lies on the axis of abstraction and figuration. In 2012 she was commissioned to produce a series of giant posters for Weymouth Station, host town to the Olympic Sailing and Paralympic Sailing Events. Internationally her work has been selected to represent the UK at Nord Art Germany (2013) and her work was part of a four art museum tour in China with Contemporary British Painting (2018). Most recently, her work was awarded First Prize in the ANIMA MUNDI Painting Prize Venice Biennale 2019 and for the Bath Arts Open Painting Prize U.K. 2019.
Her work is held in numerous public and private collections worldwide including: Hilton Hotel Group, British Dental Association, St. Vincent and the Grenadines Art Collection, Dorset County Hospital and Yantai Art Museum China.
Image courtesy of Day Bowman
Luca Curci – What’s your background? What is the experience that has influenced your work the most?
Day Bowman – I am a graduate from London University and Chelsea College of Art.
Growing up in a small, West – Country, seaside town it is not surprising that much of my work has referenced the sea, the beach and littoral and from an early age, I was acutely aware of the life of the seasons with the tsunami of summer visitors followed by the closed-up, out-of-season, winter months.
On a more contemporary note, however, it feels as though the U.K. is preparing to close up and beat back visitors without the right credentials to its beaches: the 1950s boarding-house mantra of “no blacks, no Irish and no dogs” will now apply to all those who are not economically useful. Much like our childhood messages to the gods and castles in the sand, I fear this small island might well be erased from the global map with the incoming tide of bigotry and intolerance.
Whilst these are not overtly political works, through the transformation of paint, I find this current series of paintings squaring the circle of my life and reaffirming my sense of play coupled with a deep sense of unease.
LC – Which subject are you working on?
DB – In this new series of paintings entitled “Tearing up the Rule Book” I find that the large-scale canvases echo the marks, lines and shapes that we made in the wet, grey sand of my home town beach: thus the canvas becomes the beach that acted as the large- scale canvas of my child-hood.
In these works I have allowed myself to move freely from one work to another with a sense of play and random mark-making. Through the use of colour, of scribbled lines and drip marks, contrasting with the blocks of background painted areas, I have attempted to capture the tides and the occasional gleam of sunshine. In fact the most recent works reference the humble lugworm that my brother and I were fascinated by as children. The title of works “Plashy Place” comes from a line of poetry by W.B.Yeats from his poem: The Man who Dreamt of Fairyland.
LC – What is your creative process like?
DB – Over the years I have learnt that it is all in the doing: we have a current expression in English that reflects this thinking: “just keep on keeping on”.I do remember at university my philosophy tutor saying to me “Day, inspiration comes to well-prepared minds”.I think that’s a pretty good mantra to live by.
LC – How is being an artist nowadays?
DB – I don’t think it has even been easy being an artist. Of course, there are those who walkS out of art school and get noticed by some gallery and their works sell well immediately but, let’s be honest, this the exception and not the rule. Added to which, the gallery system that existed 20 years ago has fallen flat, certainly in the US and in Europe with rising rates and overhead costs. The art fairs have replaced the gallery districts in the major cities worldwide and because the costs of taking stands at fairs is so high the gallerists promote art that they know will sell; so no margin for experiment and chance there.
For me it’s all about doing the work, getting it out there, exhibiting with like-minded artists in spaces that might once have been an old garage or decommissioned church and getting the press to write about it and finally, working the social media.
LC – We were attracted by your last artistic production, has the artwork presented been created for the festival or as a part of pre-existing works?
DB – Yes, both Plashy Place 3 and Study 1 Plashy Place are part of an on-going body of work that reflects my interest in place, identity and belonging and on-going concerns about global mass-transmigration.
LC – Do you agree with our vision of art and what do you think about the theme of the festival?
DB – I think the theme of the festival ‘We Live in Interesting Times’ is very well considered and appropriate for 2019. The brief is wide but on my recent 3 day visit to the Biennale it was fascinating to see how many artists have responded to the global issues I have referred to above.
The ANIMA MUNDI title, referring as it does to the interconnectedness of all things is also well chosen and reflects the concerns of the Biennale.
LC – Would you suggest a collaboration with us? What do you think about our services?
DB – This is always a consideration. In the past 4 years I have curated two UK-wide group exhibitions that have been very well received by the public and press and so and international collaboration might well provide new opportunities.
LC – Did you enjoy cooperating with us?
DB – Yes. I found both Luca and Giulia very helpful at all stages.