Artist Spotlight #81: Caitlin Bowe

Studio low res
Adelaide emerging artist Caitlin Bowe.

Q: Hey Caitlin! Please tell us a little about yourself.

A: Hi! My name is Caitlin Bowe and I’m a 22 year old emerging artist. Last year I graduated with First Class Honours from Adelaide Central School of Arts and I’m currently a member of Switchboard Studios. When I’m not working on art I’m catching up on the latest seasons of whatever I’m watching, playing video games, or going on hikes with friends!

Q: What form does your inspiration take? Is it people, travel, atmosphere, historical figures, memories or something else?

A: I take inspiration from a number of sources. Personal trauma and mythology have been the main source of inspiration for my work over the past 2 years. In 2011 I was hit by a car and as a result I’ve permanently lost a range of movement in my left shoulder. I blend my experiences of trauma with mythological stories from my Celtic heritage. These stories allowed our ancestors to explain the world around them and now I use and create symbols from these myths to situate events in my own life amongst a much larger cultural narrative. Most recently, during my Honours year, I was also inspired by the Gothic Victorian aesthetic, a style that responds to themes of loss and grief with beauty. I’m still exploring these themes but all in all I just love to research and I can’t wait to find my next source of inspiration!

her hands fluttered white and desperately needful
‘her hands fluttered white and desperately needful’ by Caitlin Bowe. Photograph by James Field, courtesy of Adelaide Central School of Art.

Q: How would you describe your style and its progression throughout the years?

A: Unsettling, abhuman, and layered. Somewhere between my 3rd year and 4th year of uni my colour palette (or lack of) transitioned from white to black but looking back, personally I can see a point where my work became more focused, it demands attention because it has a story to tell to the people who know how to listen.

Q: Can you please describe your artistic and creative process, i.e. from lingering idea to putting it into practice?

A: Usually my process starts with research, I find stories and symbols that I want to translate into a sculptural form. Next I do some rough sketches and then the fun part comes when I actually start making. I may start out with an idea but that’s never how it turns out, I work with the materials and eventually the work just does what it wants to do. I’ve been criticised before by friends for not starting out with a solid plan when I complain about cutting timber to the wrong length or not buying enough material, but I think I just love making through trial and error. Everything comes out just how it’s suppose to, even if that means it’s not what I planned at the beginning.

My Banshee
‘My Banshee’ by Caitlin Bowe. Photograph by James Field, courtesy of Adelaide Central School of Art.

Q: Why do you make art? How does it make you feel?

A:  I just love to make! I love starting with a spark of an idea and helping it to grow into a fully realised form. During the day I might be feeling anxious or upset but as soon as I walk into my studio all of that goes away because I’m doing something that I’m so passionate about.

Q: Please tell us about your recent work or collaborations. Any other projects in the works?

A: Recently I exhibited some works at Signal Point Gallery in Goolwa for the ‘Threads of Thought’ exhibition as well as being selected as a finalist in the Emma Hack Art Prize. I also had the opportunity to paint some digital portraits of a couple of Dungeons & Dragons characters for the workshops being run at the Art Gallery of South Australia’s First Fridays event run along side the amazing D&D inspired work by Roy Ananda. At the moment I’m working on a new sculpture which will be exhibited at Gallery 1855 for ‘The Doll Redefined’ exhibition.

she did have held my hands so brave and gentle
‘she did have held my hands so brave and gentle’ by Caitlin Bowe. Photograph by James Field, courtesy of Adelaide Central School of Art.

Q: Where do you see your art practice taking you in the future?

A: Well, in August my art will be taking me to Japan to undertake a two month residency at Studio Kura. Past that I just really want to continue to exhibit my art and to travel to more residencies, there are so many beautiful and exciting places to experience! Recently I’ve also been thinking about undertaking my Masters, although after 17 years of study I think that can wait for a bit!

Q: Where can we find more of your work (social media, personal website, current/upcoming exhibitions, etc.)?

A: You can find me on Instagram. Also you can catch my work at ‘The Doll Redefined’ which will be running from 18th of April until 26th of May.

her hands upward to my shoulder, and did steal a little look up
‘her hands upward to my shoulder, and did steal a little look up’ by Caitlin Bowe. Photograph by James Field, courtesy of Adelaide Central School of Art.

Q: What thing or concept scares you the most?

A: Well there are two answers to that question.

  1. There’s not much that scares me, I love the darker things in life, scary movies, ghost stories, things that go bump in the night. I think I just love all of the story telling and theatrics that go into making things scary.
  2. Spiders…. the bigger the scarier….


Katerina Grypma

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