Naturally Talented Artist Began While Incarcerated

By Wesley Eisiminger
Staff Writer

Bruce Fowler turns his natural talent in drawing and painting into magnificent works of art.

Fowler said he started drawing 16 years ago doing pencil drawings of seascapes when he was in a county jail. He never went to any class on drawing or paintings.

“When I came to San Quentin from Ironwood, I started doing painting when a friend invited me to the Arts-in-Corrections class.” That is where his talent really came out and his work was shown at the recent TEDx event and in the March edition of the San Quentin News.

Fowler said he has done three types of paintings at San Quentin. The first is Realism, depicting people and things as close as they really appear to be.

The second is Surrealism, a modern movement in art and literature in which an attempt is made to portray or interpret the working of the unconscious mind as manifested in dreams.

The third is Diorama, where a scene is built and painted as three-dimensional. Diorama paintings include Surrealism.

Fowler explained it takes about 150 hours or longer to complete a Diorama painting. The one pictured with this story was done in a year. Realism paintings take about 40 hours to complete.

A lot of his work has been donated to Kid CAT, the Veterans Group of San Quentin and other groups. One painting went to Toys for Tots and is displayed in the visiting room. About 30 works have been done for San Quentin.

He expressed his appreciation to the staff at William James Association. “Without their generous help, I would not be able to paint at all,” said Fowler.

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