In Living Colour:
Matthew Korbel Bowers

by Melissa Goldstein
With his pastels-on-steroids palette and ninja-like dexterity with space and form, it's not hard to see why we're taken with Matthew Korbel Bowers' prints. But once you find out what goes into the digital-meets-analogue creations, they become even more compelling: "I print out graphics or draw them, then I photograph them in a physical situation," the CCA alum explains--adding that said situations range from dunking the pieces in water to baking or freezing them. Bowers, who also works as Art Director for Communication Arts magazine, then imports the images into his computer and digitally adds colour, finally printing them digitally or as screenprints. The artist's subject matters range from secret surf spots to less tangible themes such as animal sounds, each rendered in deceptively simple, organic-feeling geometric motifs. "I guess in the end it is ironic that my minimal work doesn't necessarily show my labour," he says. We asked Bowers to dig into his approach with us, and curated a selection of our favourite prints below. Can you share a pivotal creative influence from your background with us? I grew up along the coast of Northern California, raised by post-hippie bohemian types. In the early '90s I was a Berkeley punk making lo-fi zines and surfing; somehow that is important to my creative DNA. What's your artistic mantra? Curious not clever. I experiment with questions. Is there a recurring theme that ties your work together? Colour, form, place. Whether it is an abstracted map or a decomposing pattern--that's what I tell stories about. Your titles are really compelling--do they come before or after you create the work?  The work and their titles are born in the same hospital on the same day. Secret Surf Map is a name I love. It's straightforward but exciting. The series is a tribute to the real maps my brother and I make each other on the back of napkins and on junk mail envelopes. These surf spots are too epic not to commemorate but too special to just give away to the world. What is inspiring you right now? Modernist cabins, pottery glaze, running. What are you working on right now? A few unique projects involving gilded glass, textiles, and a flag. dh-matthew-korbel-bowers-header-01
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 It's Peaceful at the Bottom of the Pool, $20 Goodbye Mountain, $18  Golden State, $20 
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 Secret Surf Map 002, $18  Born in the North, $20  Park Plants 002, $20

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