Sitting in her studio space, April Bowen, a sophomore art and design student, quickly watercolors a flower pattern that will serve as a background on an upcoming calendar she will be producing. On the walls of her studio are paintings, digital illustrations, sketches, posters, typographic illustrations and other visually compelling work that show a wide array of skills, from illustration to graphic design.
Many of these works make an appearance on Bowen’s social media accounts. “Originally I was just posting things online just for my own benefit,” Bowen said. However, these posts garnered attention from more than just her peers and friends.
The artistic talent agency RAW Artists recently reached out to Bowen, expressing interest in her talents after seeing her work on Instagram. RAW Artists describes itself as a platform to empower “artists within the first 10 years of their creative career with the tools, resources and exposure needed to inspire and cultivate creativity.”
“[RAW] called about two weeks ago, and they asked me to apply for their agency. So, I applied and was accepted the next day. I’m one of their featured artists now,” Bowen said.
As a featured artist, clients and companies can contact the agency if they are looking for artistic work to be done. If their requests match best with Bowen’s style, she gets the opportunity to present her portfolio to them and develop a working relationship.
However, Bowen was more intrigued by the notion of getting to present her work. “[RAW] does showcases around the US,” Bowen said. “They have a branch in Indy, so my first showcase will be at the Old National Center [this March.]” Bowen will be given a space of her own to present her artwork to an audience.
“I will have the chance to sell my work [at the showcases] but I think I’m more excited that I’ll get to network with people who want to come to my station and look at my work,” Bowen said. “Even just walking around and getting to meet people will be exciting.”
In addition to gains in the fine arts field, Bowen’s freelance graphic design firm, April Bowen Designs, has been developing several projects with the hospice division of St. Vincent’s Hospital of Indianapolis.
Bowen first began working with St. Vincent’s through a design class project that asked students to design a CD cover for an album produced by Orangehaus Records. The CD, titled “Gone from my Sight” is a 10-song album recorded by AU students, alumni and faculty to give hope and comfort to those in hospice care.
“My design depicted the first embrace after you meet a loved one after death,” Bowen said of her album design. “As Christians, we believe that after death we will be reunited with loved ones, so I portrayed a couple in a tight embrace.” Bowen’s album design will be recognized later this month at a gala celebrating the release of the “Gone from my Sight” album.
Bowen’s successes in various fields have given her insight into potential career paths, as well. “I think that with the past several projects I’ve been working on, I’ve definitely realized that I’m not cut out for clientele based work,” Bowen said laughing, expressing her disdain for email and the constant need to be in touch with clients. “I don’t think that design is necessarily the field I want to be in.”
However, Bowen’s passion for the visual arts is as strong as ever. “I think that art is a very clear way that people can understand their emotions and their situations that they may not be able to find in other mediums,” Bowen said.
Ideally, Bowen wants to be involved with fusing her passion for art with missions. “I think that art can bring a lot of happiness to a lot of sad places,” Bowen said. “I want to be able to bring that happiness if that’s where God wants me.”
Those interested in seeing Bowen’s work can keep up with her on Facebook and Instagram, or see her work and others at the Old National Center on March 31.