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‘Anything I do I want to have beauty in it’

Mark Bowen's digital photography/mixed media show at Place des Arts is called Treetopia.
From Mark Bowen's Vanishing Species: Fiery Red Bear.

It’s fair to say Mark Bowen gets bored easily.

The Vancouver artist has jumped around in his academic life: He holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and an MBA in marketing, and studied photography at Langara College, painting at Emily Carr University of Art + Design and graphic arts at BCIT.

His resume is also busy, having been the president of Broadbased Marketing Inc. (the publisher for Canadian Builder Designer and Architect magazine) and of Bowen Communications Inc. as well as a photographer and painter for Now Fine Art & Photography.

So it’s no surprise Bowen likes to mix up his mediums, too.

He likes to play with resin, cold wax, and oil and metallic commercial paints, to name a few.

“It’s not your standard ingredients,” he said, adding, “I get to work with these different materials all the time so my next show could be completely different because I get inspired quickly.”

For his debut solo exhibit at Place des Arts, which opens Friday night at the Coquitlam venue in the Mezzanine Gallery, Bowen has created a display called Treetopia based on urban landscapes.

He presents a few pieces about sprawl, with images overlaying each other to depict how cities are overtaking nature.

There are also scenes of vanishing species, with bears disappearing from the forests, and images condemning global warming.

Still, while there are hidden messages, he insists each artwork be pleasing to the eye.

“Anything I do I want to have beauty in it,” said Bowen, who exhibits about a dozen times a year around Metro Vancouver and at interior design and home shows. “I want a piece that people can live with.”

And though he caters to a large demographic, Bowen said his clientele is largely made up of millennials as they seek sustainable environments.

For production of Treetopia, Bowen said he had the Joni Mitchell song Big Yellow Taxi running through his head and this quote from the Jim Rohn, an American motivational speaker: “If you don’t like how things are, change it! You’re not a tree.”

• Meanwhile, also opening Friday at Place des Arts (1120 Brunette Ave., Coquitlam) are Colour is Life (ceramics by Shohreh Sachs) and Contemplation of Forces (mixed-media works by Moira Calder). The three shows end April 28.