Imagery courtesy of Wendy Bowman. Feature Image photography by John Silva.
Human connectivity drives me above anything else. I want to learn and capture people’s stories. That need for exploration, adventure and camaraderie that we all develop in our childhood and adolescence never left me. When I realized that every experience is both precious and transient I had an overwhelming desire to manifest these moments into permanent objects. With photography and video I am able to freeze time and space forever. We all have an intense relationship to nostalgia—the best films, photographs, advertisements and songs touch on that inner child spirit within each of us. The work that brings us together and strips us down to our basic human emotions—that is the most successful work and the driving force behind everything I produce.
I moved to New York City a week after I graduated from university and started working as an intern for an internationally acclaimed artist named Sarah Morris. I remember the day I started working for her she had a film opening in a group show at Sotheby’s. She was kicked back on the floor in a long red jumpsuit sipping champagne and whispering secrets with Uma Thurman and I thought to myself—“I have arrived.” I had not ever seen or experienced anything like the high art world in my entire life and more importantly I had yet to discover my capabilities to successfully work inside of that world. After 4 months of interning I burned some of my paintings onto a CD and asked to apply to be a painter for Sarah. She gave me a trial run to produce one of her “small” paintings (4 x 4 ft.) from start to finish. She was impressed with my skills and potential and hired me full time. I painted for her and led the painting production team for the next six years. I also traveled with her across France, Abu Dhabi, LA, and Germany to do the still production photography for 3 of her films which covered content from the Liwa Desert to the Dior Perfume Factory to architect Frank Gehry’s studio. I learned everything about being an artist from her—mostly about how to get where you want to be, when you want to be there, and not accepting “no” for an answer. We still work together today and remain great friends. I would not be where I am now without that one pivotal moment of taking the job to work for her.
Sarah Morris in her New York studio photographed by Wendy Bowman for Muse Magazine, 2017
Wendy Bowman shooting on location in the Liwa desert for Sarah Morris’s 2016 film “Abu Dhabi”
Falcon Training in the Liwa Desert, photographed by Wendy Bowman for Sarah Morris’s film “Abu Dhabi” in 2016
What makes you unique in your industry?
I am a chameleon. Professionally, I am a photographer, videographer, and painter, but I am also a writer, a graphic designer, and started as a singer/ songwriter when I was a kid. I see my work as two limbs growing from the same tree that constantly intertwine and effect each other. One is my fine artwork and the other is my commercial work. I do not discriminate against the corporate world. In fact, I believe that bringing my experience and multidisciplinary skill set to a company that is outside of the creative field is part of my duty as an artist.
“Greenpoint Rain” by Wendy Bowman for her solo exhibition “Nocturnal,” on view September 1-30th, 2019 at Mercury Project in Southtown
Jillian Mercado for UNMUTED, a video series shot by Wendy Bowman in the New York City subway
What is one way you hope to impact your community in the future, either personally or professionally?
While living in New York I started to see my hometown of San Antonio through a different lens. I became enamored with Southtown’s vibrance and soul and began photographing the sun-saturated architecture which turned into my solo exhibition “Southtown” at Anarte Gallery in 2016. My goal is to create elevated and tasteful artwork for local companies and people so that the world may see San Antonio for its same beauty and charm that I saw when I left.
“Southtown I” by Wendy Bowman
If you could sit down with any woman in the world–either from history or who is currently living–who would that be and what would you discuss with her?
I would like to meet my great, great paternal grandmother Anna Laurie Rose. She was an artist and the first of three generations of women to own and manage our historic family ranch which was once a fort during the Civil War. She left it to her only daughter (my great grandmother Eleanor Lewis) who left it to her only daughter (my grandmother Mary Ann Bowman). I would ask her what trials she had to face as a single woman widowed twice and managing a property in the beginning of the 20th century when women weren’t allowed to purchase land without a man. I would discuss how she found balance between motherhood, managing her property alone, and creating artwork. I would ask her about what gave her strength, what she feared, and how she persevered through many of the same adversities independent professional women still face today.