Regular readers of duPont REGISTRY Tampa Bay have already been introduced to the remarkable work of David Michael Bowers, who’s been featured in both our A to Z and Holiday issues. But we haven’t yet explored how this award-winning artist, who last year relocated from Pennsylvania to Madeira Beach, developed his signature style.
Bowers began teaching his craft at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, where he lectured for 10 years, and then started an illustration career working with book publishers in New York City. Over the course of a decade, he drew more than 100 book and magazine covers, his work appearing on such prominent publications as Time, Cigar Aficionado and Wine Spectator, where he painted portraits of J. P. Morgan, the Rothschild family, and the Chateau Latour Winery.
He was later approached by the Halcyon Gallery in London to start displaying his paintings. As he transitioned into fine art, his work came to be recognized by organizations and institutes around the world.
While living in Pittsburgh, an attorney commissioned him to paint a portrait of his wife. At the unveiling at his home, Bowers met Pittsburgh Steelers scout Art Rooney, Jr. who was taken by his art. He would later call Bowers to do a painting called Art’s Vision (above), which incorporated parts of his life to create a legacy on canvas.
This relationship would continue over the years, as Bowers would go on to paint a total of nine portraits for Art Rooney Jr, of different members of his family in various settings depicting their personalities.
Bowers’s style is reminiscent of the Old Masters, but he often describes his painting as “Realism with an Edge.”
One collection of his work was inspired by a visit to a museum in Seattle that was showing busts of Caesar in different stages of decay. Bowers would go on to create “Tears from Heaven,” an oil painting on linen showing six busts of rock stars that died before their time.
One couple who bought that painting would go on to purchase two others that he created: “Dreaded Silence,” depicting comedians who have passed away, and “Fallen Starts,” showcasing actors gone too soon.
He recently finished a fourth — my favorite in the series — called “Cheers to Tears,” featuring Kobe Bryant and other professional athletes who were taken too young.
Bowers has an amazing ability to create a portrait of a person in a unique environment. He showed me a painting he did called “Lisa, The Shield Maiden,” which would go on to win a competition at Fashion Week San Diego this past summer.
In The Art and Beauty Behind Fashion, 8 FWSD designers created an original couture outfit paired with and inspired by artworks.
David entered “The Shield Maiden,” and it made it into the finals. The fashion designer won 1st place for her outfit, which was inspired by his painting.
Another person inspired by this painting was Christy Johnson, who commissioned David to paint her as a “Warrior of Light.”
I went to the unveiling of her painting at Bowers’s house recently, where Christy saw it for the first time, and she was blown away. To me it felt like Bowers had captured her perfectly.
I recommend you check out David Michael Bowers’s new website at www.dmbowers.com. With him living so close by in Madeira Beach, you can meet him and see what inspirational painting he can create for you!