I began in 1996 – painting, that is. I was studying with Kazuaki Tanahashi, a Zen master calligrapher and internationally recognized Buddhist scholar. The way to Zen, he said, was through the brush, to develop “brush mind.” So for ten years I tried, working only with ink and rice paper practicing Zensho, Zen brush writing. I did so primarily as meditation. Then something happened. I decided to take a sabbatical to move more deeply into my Zen painting and—like so many others cajoled by fantasy—to write the Great American Novel! And here was Riverviews Artspace, newly opened and eager to cultivate a living/working environment for artists, and others oriented by or enthusiastic for the arts, to do their own thing together. So in January of 2007 I rented a studio on the second floor and established ART daisetsu. (If you really want to know what that is go to www.bowdenartworks.com and hover on ART daisetsu—you’ll find out).
It may be from studying Mondrian or Duchamp, or it may be a love for modernism and art deco, but I’ve come to realize that brush mind is not just about ink and paper. It’s also part of a community where we work, exhibit, and discover art…where a critique or a fun conversation is just down the hall. However you account for it, my studio and my art are no longer just a sabbatical, they’re living. I’ve found only one other place where serious work was so satisfying I wouldn’t really call it “work.” And that’s why I’m at Riverviews.
Oh…the Great American Novel? Have you read it yet? If so, I’d love to hear what you think. Drop by Studio 210 or visit the web site and leave me a note on the “Contact” page.