Retiree Profile: Stan Bowman

I first came to Cornell to start teaching in 1973 in the Art Department in the College of Architecture, Art and Planning where I taught art and photography for almost 30 years. I also held several administrative positions including Department Head, Associate Dean and Acting Dean. During this time I was able to initiate a new program in photography in the Art Department in the 1980’s and introduced students to emerging computer digital imaging technologies in the 1990’s. These were great years which I thoroughly enjoyed and I have many good memories of my time at Cornell, my colleagues, and all my past students.

When people ask me about retirement I often say there is no such thing…. at least not for me. I am an artist and artists don’t really retire.The thing that has changed however is how I spend each day. Unlike some Cornell faculty who decide to leave Ithaca when they retire, my wife and I decided to stay here in the area near all our friends. Since I retired in 1999 art creation has become a main activity in life. I now have the luxury of being a full time exhibiting artist so that most every day is spent in my studio making art and preparing for the next show of my work. In 2001 I joined the State Of The Art Gallery in downtown Ithaca where I show works regularly, sometimes almost every month. I also actively display my artwork outside of Ithaca at other locations in the US and even abroad.

But the other thing that has happened since retirement is the creation of a small business that compliments my artist pursuits. In 2001 I had begun making  high end giclee fine art prints of my photography for myself. Then a former art faculty colleague found out I was doing this and asked if I could make some prints for him which I did. I thoroughly enjoyed our collaboration and the resulting prints were amazing to us both. As the result I began to see how this could become an enjoyable small business. Hence I have been doing fine art printing for the past 17 years and made fine art prints for over 200 clients, not only for artists but for others who simply love and appreciate art and want quality prints either for their home or office.

Moreover I also enjoy having visitors to my studio which happens all the time, both for my print business and to see my art work. My wife is an artist also who creates whimsical sculptural creatures and we are both long time members of the Ithaca Art Trail which not only brings many people to our studio every October but also to weekend open studios throughout the year. Any person is welcome to just give me a call at my studio, 607-277-4950 to set a time for a visit. And it you want to see a larger selection of my work visit my web site at www.stanbowman.com. My print business is Perfect Art Prints and can be found at www.perfectartprints.com. I can also be reached at 607-277-4950.

Attached are some examples of some of my artwork. Originally I started my art career in the early 1960’s as a photographer in California making black and white pictures of landscape such as the beauty of the iconic rocks and ocean at Point Lobos CA and the gorgous flowing dunes at White Sands NM. When I arrived in Ithaca in 1973 to teach photography at Cornell it consumed most of my attention and made it difficult to find time to pursue my own photography although I was able to complete and exhibit an exciting series of copy stand created color photographs in the 1980’s. However it was not until after I retired that I realized one day that I had been in Ithaca 30 years and never photographed any of the beautiful surrounding landscape. Beginning in 2010 and for the next few years I traveled throughout the northeast and began to take photographs of landscapes and started to fully appreciate the beauty around me. It started with a trip to Cape Cod and then continued with photographs of the Fingerlakes region.

algae-covered rocks on rocky beach
Cape Cod Rocks

fall scene with hay bales in field
Hay Bales on Turkey Hill Road

But then you never know what will come along. Recently my art interest has turned in a surprisingly different direction, towards photographic abstraction. As an artist I have always loved abstract painting and strong color. A few years ago I became inspired to attempt abstraction in my own work as the result of discovering how technology was being used by other artists for making art. Moreover recent changes in technology have stimulated this even more, specifically the emergence of iPhone picture capturing abilities and software apps that can take these iPhone pictures and transform them into startling abstract images unlike anything we have previously seen. 

For example I discovered a iPhone app that allowed me to take a picture turning continuously in a circle that results in a circular spherical image. While the image is still recognizable it presents a scene in a new and unique way, resembling a sphere. Then I discovered other new apps that allowed me to take and transform iPhone images into almost unrecognizable abstract shapes with exciting and colorful shapes and textures that no longer allow a viewer to identify what or where the picture is taken but the resulting picture still originates from a single iPhone image. Even more recently I have been using multiple apps that allow me to drag pixels into unusual shapes and textures.

Below is a photograph of a wall of my Pine Tree Rd. studio that shows some of my new abstracted works created during recent art explorations. Visitors are always welcome to stop by to see these pictures first hand which is always the best way to appreciate any art.

corner of room with circular photo and collages hanging
Pine Tree Studio

I started with photography over 50 years ago not only because of the exciting pictures I could take but also because of my fascination with the process and technology. And now in this evolving world of digital technologies I am changing again as an artist, looking excitedly forward to exploring what new technology will next present itself and how it can be used by myself and others to create a new art for the 21st. Century. 

-- Stan