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Interiors Spring 2012 | Finishing Touch

Quirky Beauty

Hamilton artist Dana Cowie finds inspiration in the world around her

By Marc Skulnick

After a glance at Hamilton artist Dana Cowie’s professional C.V., you’d be forgiven for assuming she’s either easily bored, or has some sort of Attention Deficit Disorder that compels her to try her hand at, and excel in, as many art mediums as humanly possible.

Not only is Cowie a respected and critically acclaimed fine artist who specializes in painting and drawing, but she’s also, in no particular order, a self-employed window stylist for Holt Renfrew, a prop and set builder, a wedding invitation illustrator/ designer, a mural artist, a fashion accessory designer/maker (her line is Quirky Beauty) and a concept illustrator for various ad agencies. Cowie’s work has been displayed in galleries (and shop windows) throughout Hamilton and Toronto.

To hear Cowie tell it, her mother is to blame for her delightfully scattershot approach to forging a career in the arts. “I have always loved art and fashion since I was little and my mom was a very creative lady,” says Cowie. “She sewed most of my clothes, upholstered furniture, made dolls, etc., so I learned at an early age that I could make almost anything…I just love making, but my favourite discipline is painting.”

Cowie was raised in the Aberdeen/Locke area, and returned to Hamilton in 2010 — also to the Locke Street area — where she lives with her husband, photographer Harry Gils and their newborn daughter. According to her artist statement , Cowie “paints and creates to make beauty” and her paintings, while beautiful, also have an overwhelming sense of fun and frivolity that is both infectious and literally a joy to behold. Inspired by the world around her (people, pets, nature, fashion and architecture seem to be recurring themes in her paintings), Cowie’s work features bold strokes, vibrant colours and a sense of nostalgic couture that give her paintings a timeless, glamorous quality.

And for those of you interested in seeing her creative process up close, Cowie has also been painting “live” twice monthly at the Hamilton Christian Fellowship (Strathcona Avenue |at York Blvd). Says Cowie: “I go in with absolutely no plan… it’s amazing how each piece comes out.” Visit dcowie.com for more information.



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