Along with the second of three outdoor concerts, featuring a talent packed line-up of musicians, Central Square will host a reception sponsored by Rolling Forks Vineyard for Minneapolis-based artist, Jules Bowman, this Saturday from 1:30 pm to 3:00 pm during their Makers Market. The day of festivities begins at 10:00 am with a fundraiser Yin Yoga class, led by the artist. A songwriter/musician instruction hour, open to all, begins at 11:30 am, followed by the concert sponsored by The Pope County Tribune at 1:00 pm.

Bowman has earned acclaim for her works specializing in whimsical painting and use of mixed media to create personal observations of the human experience. This solo exhibition, on view at the Art in the Square Gallery from July 5th, 2022, to August 26th, 2022, features 18 paintings.

“Jules’ quirky yet tender paintings are explorations of line and form,” says Central Square’s program director, Marie Chan. “I’m particularly drawn to her use of maps. I’ve always loved maps; I see them as art in their own right. She transforms maps into something interpretive, creating a sense of grounding and connection that infuses a layer of the familiar into the more fantastical elements of her work,” Chan adds.

As a child growing up in a small town in Northern Minnesota, Bowman found solace in art. She found that her imagination and painting helped her explore her emotions. “I’m often inspired by wanting to soothe something, usually something inside of me. The subjects and concepts of my work generally tend to be abstract or whimsical. I think that’s what art does. It translates emotions and thoughts into something tangible. It creates its own language.”

After many years of leaning into the comfort that creating art provided, Bowman began to explore the possibility of sharing her work with an audience. As a way of creating accountability and committing to her work, she rented studio space in the famed Northrup King building, located in the Northeast Minneapolis Arts District. Once her studio was established, she stepped out of her comfort zone and took on a few commissioned projects.

With commissioned pieces, she was creating art through someone else’s vision. This helped shift her perception from art as pure self-expression to art as commerce. She found that her talent could possess a duality. It can serve her creativity and create revenue. Navigating the business side of selling art allowed her to employ her career skills and encouraged her to embrace art as a solid side-hustle, and possible career.

Asked if she painted with an audience in mind, Bowman says, “Yes, I work with the hope to connect with others. However, thinking of my work in a more professional way helped me be braver in expressing myself without thinking as much about an audience. I think I gained confidence through selling pieces and that helped me go deeper into my own creative space. Regardless of how or why I create a piece, it always comes from me, from my mind, and my perspective, but I will always consider the viewer. It’s meaningful, for me, to connect with people in that way.”

Regarding artistic influences and inspiration, Bowman lists a variety of artists. “I love Matisse, his work feels like a daydream to me. I really love Miró. I’ve always been drawn to lines. His work is like a map of sorts, for me. I am inspired by Basquiat; his pieces are free and bold. I love Frida Khalo. Who doesn’t love Frida? Her strength, and fearlessness appeal to me. Locally, I admire Ta-coumba T. Aiken; he is a great storyteller, an amazing presence. I had the opportunity to work beside him and visit his space. He pulls creativity out of me. His work is layers, colors, and lines. I also love Tim Burton; I have a deep love of the peculiar.”

Bowman’s advice for anyone considering art as a career is to “not let anyone tell you that you can’t do it. Be fearless, believe in yourself!”

Central Square’s executive director, Chery Larson, is looking forward to Saturday’s events. “At our last market and Music on the Lawn concert, people approached me with a bit of surprise at the how exceptional the music and storytelling were,” Larson laughs, good naturedly. “I hope the word has spread that what we are doing here is special. I’m very excited to have Jules Bowman in the gallery. I think people are going to be very interested in her art, and in her as a person. We’re thrilled to have her here and hope that our community takes the opportunity to meet her and see her work. Come for the art and stay for the music! It’s going to be a great day. A day made possible by our amazing sponsors, The Pope County Tribune and Rolling Forks Vineyard. We are so futunate.” Larson adds.