For Newton artist Aaron Jackson Bowman, a real estate developer by day, art has always been something he has done on the side — though it has become a little more prominent endeavor in the past year.
"Whenever I get a chance, it's sort of like a meditative type hobby. I never really sold anything. It was just more for my own personal interest or outlet, but I hadn't really sold anything until recently," Bowman said.
This year also saw the completion of Bowman's new studio at his home in Newton, which will be one of seven featured as part of the second annual Studio Art Tour sponsored by the Carriage Factory Art Gallery on June 29.
Bowman shares his studio with his wife, an Olympic power lifter. The couple took on the project in late 2018, and there were some similar features the couple wanted — such as a lot of natural light — while Bowman was also looking for more wall space so he could work on bigger pieces.
Usually, Bowman said, he remains in his artistic wheelhouse while creating pieces, but he has been known to experiment, which is part of the reason he was wanting more space.
"Generally, most of my work is on canvas. My medium is primarily oil and acrylic, but sometimes pencil makes its way in there, crayon, pastel, sometimes even lipstick will make its way in," Bowman said.
Art may not allow him to quit his day job, but Bowman has always appreciated the opportunity to pursue a passion that has been fostered since his high school days. His genre is broad, but Bowman draws inspiration from a lot of the historically well-celebrated artists (such as Picasso), though elements of his profession are something he admits are also part of his artistic process.
"My college schooling is in architecture and business, but architecture is very much problem solving," Bowman said. "As the artist you're sort of creating the problem, but as you're refining it and bringing it to a true end composition it's all about problem-solving, so I enjoy that, too."
Pieces can take any amount of time for Bowman to complete. He estimates he will put 20 to 40 hours into each one if measured continuously. However, as he is often working in spurts, the overall creative process can take a bit longer. In fact, he noted that he just completed one piece that he started 20 years ago, after a coworker's brother requested it after seeing it in a photo of a commissioned piece he was finishing.
Those pieces can often evolve, as Bowman noted his creative process may start with just marks on a canvas. He said the other typical way his pieces start is taking one idea from his sketchbook and deciding to transfer that to canvas.
Being part of the Studio Art Tour, Bowman is eager to open up his space for the first time. While he has pieces displayed at Carriage Factory and attends various art fairs, he is looking forward to giving people a look at the work that goes into that finished product.
"Not just with art, but anything, I think it's cool for people to kind of peek behind the curtain and see how the sausage is made, so I'm pretty excited about it," Bowman said.
Additionally, Bowman admitted that while he likes being a stop on the tour, he would also look forward to going around to the other studios in the future. This year, those other stops include visits to the studios of Newton-area artists Andy Brown, Constance Gehring, Duane Graham, Juris Krievins, Beth Vannatta and the Newton Murals and Arts Project.
Happy to open up his studio to art enthusiasts, Bowman said he will answer any questions tour members have and hopes they find value in having the chance to witness the artistic process.
"I'm not an art historian and I'm not going to expect — for myself or anybody else — to look at a piece and there's only one way to view it," Bowman said. "Whatever you get out if it, you get out of it, so I hope people can get something out of these pieces."
The Studio Art Tour will begin with a lunch served at 11 a.m. at Carriage Factory Art Gallery, with participants heading out for the studios starting at noon, and last until 5 p.m. Tickets cost $30 and must be purchased by June 25. For more information or to buy tickets, call 316-284-2749 or visit www.carriagefactoryartgallery.com.