The Riverside Art Museum is proud to continue an ongoing series of mini-exhibition features highlighting artist-members who have received awards in previous Members’ Exhibitions. Jeff Owens was the Best of Show winner back in 2014.
I grew up in Redlands, California, and I won my first art award in elementary school. In junior high school I gained fame among my peers as a cartoonist. In high school I studied drafting and architecture. At the University of Redlands I created posters, banners, political cartoons, and designs for several campus organizations and publications. At the behest of an art professor, I picked up a minor in Art while earning a teaching credential. When I began teaching I also began making art. For 35 years I did both, earning numerous awards and honors in each discipline. Now retired from teaching, I concentrate entirely on art.
I work in a wide variety of mediums, styles, and subject matter. From photo-realism to the abstract, I go with the ideas that get me excited. When a concept begins to form I do a lot of sketching, drawing, and color charting to develop a solid composition and design for what will become the foundation for a finished work of art. I have been known to adjust and alter works that have previously appeared in shows, even pieces that have won awards. For me, a work of art is never finished.
About a dozen years ago, while browsing through my sketchbooks, I became aware of the many cartoon doodles that appeared alongside my drawings and renderings. It was at that point I began to mull over the idea of creating art pieces based on my cartooning concepts but presented in a "fine art" format. I got excited! The pictures here on display are some of the results of that challenge to myself. I have no idea what category of art this work falls into. For lack of a better term I simply call them "artoons." Looking back it appears that my life, as an artist and cartoonist, has pretty much come full circle!