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 David Bowers  (1964 - )

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Lived/Active: Australia      Known for: found object, collage and other mixed-media abstraction, graphics

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

David Bowers was born in Geelong (Victoria, Australia) in 1964. He studied illustration and life drawing at Monash University, Caulfield, and graduated with a degree in Graphic Design in 1986, and from that time pursued a fine-art career.  He first worked as a graphic designer but of this activity said:

"I always felt like a fake as a graphic designer because I could never put a brochure together, and basically all the work I've ever done has been by hand with a paintbrush or pencils."

He created art/ street label Umgawa with partner Nick Morris in 1992 and his quirky, bold, colourful style quickly caught the eye of Mambo head, Dare Jennings. After selling Umgawa, Bowers became a Mambo regular and thrived in the Mambo environment of wild colour and irreverence.

He has had exhibitions in Melbourne, Sydney and France.

Bowers works with acrylics, enamels and oil sticks. He also uses found objects, signage and collage, including cardboard boxes salvaged from Asian supermarkets, with their striking commercial symbols and bold exotic scripts. Another source of inspiration and materials is street combing, picking through the detritus left by the passing, multicultural human tides of his home suburbs in Melbourne's inner west.

Bowers ranges freely across media and themes, skipping playfully from rural behemoths - majestic bulls and semi-trailers - to Melbourne streetscapes in close-up, to pop icons and the unexpected poetry of spam. A strong feature of his work are cartoon or graffiti-style characters - a legacy of his Mambo years - which challenge the saccharine ‘Walt Disney' view of the world. Bowers refuses to be defined by a single style: his gleaning of materials, words and colours from his immediate world leads him down many stylistic paths.

He said: "Aesthetically I find inspiration comes from anywhere any time. I am mesmerized by what I call incidental urban micro landscapes, like the patterns of road repairs, or chewing gum on the footpath; symbols, numbers and letters on power poles; the accidental tracks and patterns we leave as a species. I find the process of decay quite beautiful-rust, peeling paint etc. I'm drawn to the fine line between beauty and ugliness. The Unintentional Poetry of Everyday Life."

His work is featured in King Brown Magazine (issue one), Desktop magazine (issue 223) and We Are The Image Makers online magazine (

He collaborates regularly with long-time friend and colleague, Torquay-based pop artist Nick Morris, under the joint pseudonym Doug Bartlett:

I get a huge kick out of sharing canvases because of the chaotic momentum. Working alone you can sometimes labour over a detail for hours, but with a shared canvas, someone else (Doug) will just boldly paint right over it and I'll think what a bloody relief.

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These Notes from AskART represent the beginning of a possible future biography for this artist. Please click here if you wish to help in its development:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Doug Bartlett was created  by Australian street artists and designers Nick Morris and Dave Bowers as a pseudonym for their collaborative efforts.

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