Jason Bowyer, war artist, teacher and Fulham supporter
In the fourth of a series looking at quirky Brentford businesses in partnership with Brentford Chamber of Commerce, we interview Jason Bowyer, renowned portrait artist.
Who are you?
I have lived and worked in Brentford for twenty five years. I was born in Chiswick
and went to Chiswick school before Camberwell School of Art and then the Royal Academy Schools. I have really enjoyed living in Brentford and we have many wonderful
Samuel - 2015 Winner of Prince of Wales Drawing Prize
I am an Artist, teacher and lecturer. I am a painter and draughtsman working
in oil paint and mixed media. My paintings are figurative and I work from
observation and often on location.
Where is your business in Brentford and how did it get there?
I have a studio at the London Museum of Water and Steam. I have been there
for eighteen years. I went to the museum twenty seven years ago soon after
leaving my post grad and became the unofficial artist in residence. They had
an old oil store converted that I took on as a studio. I think I got my opportunity
by just hanging around painting and helping to organise the first ‘Made at Kew
Bridge exhibition’. I got there by erosion.
What brought you to this business?
I was the worst mathematician in history and disliked the dullness of trying
to pass exams. I went into the art room at school and the bell was ringing
almost as soon as I sat down…I thought there must be something in this art
study and decided at sixteen it was what I wanted to do.
Where do you live and why?
I live in Brentford and am delighted I moved here. The reasons were a pub
on nearly every corner, the river, the football club (I love football). It is a
real place and is only now being completely re developed. I am trying to
embrace this change but I fear the place could lose its character to the town
planner and property developers' vision…Far Kew.
What about Brentford helps your business?
I have been able to be near to central London without being crippled by
housing and business costs.The people who live in the area are diverse
and my contacts have spread across the social and financial spectrum.
How do you like Brentford?
Brentford needs to have more of a sense of irony about its value. It's
not Brilliant; it's best dressed in Nylons.
What’s your favourite part?
The market square could be its meeting point but we need a statue to a
notable Brentfordian. Turner lived in Brentford for two years and made his
first watercolour experiments here as a boy.Chiswick has Hogarth but
Brentford could have Turner.
How are you involved in the community?
I go to my local and teach from my studio. I have painted a number of local
characters at my studio including Eamonn Sylvester in his Brentford shirt to
represent a true loyal supporter [see above]. This painting is in the People's Portraits collection in Cambridge. I also painted Greg Dyke [below] while he was chairman
How do you see your future?
Keep on painting and drawing at my studio.
I support my boyhood family club Fulham and when I first came to Brentford
Fulham were below Brentford in the League. I was artist in residence at Fulham
in the 80s. I have been very impressed with Brentford's rise in recent years but enjoy the ride as the madness created by the money in the premiership de-stabilises most of the clubs that enter the franchise. Yes I did go to the 1-4 match [when Brentford beat Fulham last season] … I also watched Fulham beat
Juventus 4-1; things can turn round in football very quickly !!.
Would you move away and if so, why?
Why move away from Brentford, I have everything I need here to develop
my work and continue to sell paintings.
Three words describing Brentford?
Bold Beautiful Bonkers.
If you think you have a quirky Brentford business and would like to be profiled please email firstname.lastname@example.org
July 22, 2015