We had the good fortune of connecting with Mitchell Bowen and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Mitchell, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
I love the word balance. It has become one of the most important elements of my life and my art over the last couple years.
I started as a teenage realism artist. I found picture after picture on the web, and I loved recreating them as realistically as possible. Every little detail had to be believable. Every little detail mattered, but I got to choose what those details were. It was not necessarily about having a perfect replica of the original for me, but instead about creating a believable representation, and in this slight freedom from reality, I could create balance in my art. I quickly grew bored of the realism and the required hours in unoriginal details so I began to messily create my own work. I went through school developing an art style and trying just about every media. I thought I landed on something when i discovered letter press, screen printing, watercolor, or oil painting, but it was always on to the next thing as quickly as I had come. The one element that has carried with me as most vitally important is balance. I cannot call a piece finished unless it is balanced. Without balance, art feels incomplete to me. Balance is not found in perfect symmetry or a flawless rule of thirds but it is found in a flow and distribution through the work that leaves one feeling complete.
Balance in my life and work is quite similar to my art, it may not look perfect, it may actually be kinda messy, but I need a flow through my days that leaves me feeling complete at the end of the them. Art is important and quite exciting, but there are also some incredible pieces of life to be experienced besides what we traditionally think of as art. Relational, spiritual, and physical pieces of life are what brings new life and joy to our art. I often find myself wishing that I could only work on my art, but I often find that when I take breaks, enjoy life, rest, and don’t think about my art for periods of time, coming back to it brings completely new life and excitement to creating. In order to create something valuable in our lives, I think we must choose to participate in our lives.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I have by no means “made it” yet. I am young, about a year out of my bachelors degree in Graphic Design. In my last year of school, I started a small business that creates travel poster designs for small towns around the country. This allowed me to spend a good amount of my time fresh out of college on the road exploring new states and new towns. The business is growing slowly though and it is not sufficient to pay all of my bills, but I am excited about what it could hold in the future. It has been quite a challenge, I work 6/7 days a week, with a few of those days each week easily being 12-16 hour days. I have also had to take on a part time job to build my savings back up. This year though has been the most incredible year for me to just have an adventure and experience life and learning in the real world. My art has grown more in this year then it did through a good amount of my collective artistic education. My artistic style is developing faster than it has at any other point in my life because I have been creating and exploring art on an almost constant basis. A year ago, I simply loved travel poster designs, especially those in similar styles to the WPA national park posters of the 1930s, and that made it such a joy to learn and develop my own vintage travel poster style. More recently I have been exploring the incredible world of NFTs and I have devoted most of the last couple of month to creating a collection that was just announced in late February 2022. It’s called Plant Pals Greenhouse.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
If my best friend was visiting for a week and I got to choose what we did, I would go to King Soopers, grab enough food for a week and head to a National Forest. I think that’s it.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There are a couple individuals in my life that support me whether I am failing or succeeding in that day. Those include my Mom & Dad, Ry, and my good God.