Alexandra Bowers: 2014 Big Brain Awards Finalist, Visual Art (VIDEO)
You submitted nominations for awards given to the Valley's emerging creatives and the results are in. Introducing our 2014 Big Brain finalists.
Heather Hoch Alexandra Bowers shows off the coyote skull that has inspired many of her pieces.
Alexandra Bowers stands on the back balcony of the north Scottsdale house she grew up in, a house that she moved back into after graduating from Arizona State University with an art degree in 2012. The house now serves as her studio and command station for her clothing and art brand Iron Root. She points out to the neighboring housing development behind the yard's fence.
"This all used to be expansive desert land when I was growing up and it's been paved over," she says. "It's kind of sad."
Walking into Eye Lounge last summer, you'd probably never guess that Bowers' intricate works of wood burning were driven by her family and childhood. Drawing inspiration from hiking, that empty desert behind her childhood home, and a coyote skull her boyfriend found in the desert, Bowers' work is an exploration of the bits of desert beauty that disappear with every new subdivision.
Back in her studio space, which she says her mother graciously lets her use, it's clear that family has a lot to do with her work. She started wood burning with a soldering iron bought on a trip with her dad to Home Depot (one of her favorite places), and the professional wood-burning kit that she now uses was a present jointly gifted to her from her mother and father.
Heather Hoch Some of Bowers' larger pieces juxtapose the desert's natural beauty with local topography.
Since then, Bowers has grown and experimented with wood burning. Now she works primarily with birch wood boxes assembled by local artist Tony Zeh. Her early pieces are beautiful, but it's obvious that she's progressed immensely in the six years she's been working with wood. With commissioned works from friends, art lovers, and boutique Frances, Bowers enjoys tailoring pieces to reflect people's passion in nature -- be it a sparrow or a sunflower, always in stunning detail.
While Bowers reluctantly has done her fair share of dog portraits, it's clear she's more interested in creating works that showcase the raw and sometimes macabre beauty of the Sonoran desert. She also makes plenty of small pieces for $50 and less because she loves the idea of art being affordable enough for anyone to own a piece that makes them happy.
Alexandra Bowers: Inside the Big Brain 2014 Finalist's Creative Space from Voice Media Group on Vimeo. Video by Evie Carpenter.