One might ask, how could a young boy, born in the small fishing town of Bridlington, England, then raised in Hollywood, Calif., ever end up retiring to a desert hillside home that overlooks the spacious, blue waters of Walker Lake? This question was recently posed to David Lascelles Bowen, a local artist, retired teacher, and contractor, who relocated to Mineral County with his lovely wife, just two years ago.
Bowen’s response was two-fold: one was “escaping the overcrowding” and secondly “it was meant to be” as by happenstance they pulled their RV into the state’s Sportsman facility over Memorial weekend, using a map to pinpoint a half-way spot to camp overnight while traveling from Las Vegas to Reno. His last residence, for over 35 years, was in the California beach community of Laguna, best known for their prestigious, world renown presentations known as The Festival of Arts Pageant of the Masters, an acclaimed re-creation of live art.
“We wondered why there were no huge crowds or reservations needed and we Googled the lake to find out reasons, yet the views and massive space of endless beauty were hard to ignore. We remained in that camping spot a few days, then looked around for real estate to retire in. It was truly that unexpected and that simple.”
Bowen expressed his surprise in soon meeting other residents, with a dry sense of humor such as his own, who had hailed from the United Kingdom and how quickly a foundation of solid friends and good neighbors developed. “It felt like the best-kept secret somehow.”
As a kid, Bowen’s life was encompassed by a talented father, who opened his own Jaguar repair garage in Hollywood, servicing the likes of movies stars and high-powered businessmen. His mother had her own hardworking ethics, talents and entrepreneur spirit. Between the two, this only child had influences that molded him toward the arts, but with a mind slanted toward the technical and explainable side of life.
“I had this teenage life in a private Hollywood school, sitting next to starlets, rich kids, and young wanna-be actors, but it wasn’t my thing. I liked photography, filming, color and the behind the scenes creations, which probably began at age nine when I won a coloring contest in London. I enjoyed art and the broad platform of what it had to offer.”
Following his stint in the Air Force, (where he found the enlistment “promise of becoming a professional photographer” turned out to be a medic at a maximum-security ward within a military, mental health ward) he enrolled into Woodbury College of Interior Design. After he experienced a few jobs within the home furnishings market, Bowen headed to Mammoth Mountain Resort, where he worked within the construction industry.
“My father was always building walkways or fences in our gardens, so I faked my way in with those learned skills, loving the town atmosphere at the mountain.” It ended when Bowen broke his leg in eight places during a local ski-race. He was quickly moved back to So-Cal.
“Since I was already down for three months in a cast, I entered graduate school, where my roots toward design clicked. I learned the environmental designing side, with the commercial and technical side balancing out the fact that design could be explained and there was reasons design was appealing using a proper scale.”
Through design connections, memberships and networking, Bowen eventually taught for many years in the art department at Cal State Fullerton, receiving his second bachelor degree and a master degree in design. Bowen’s artwork is locally displayed on six sound panels at the USO Convention Center walls, as well as on both “Save Walker Lake” billboards coming into the south side of Hawthorne or seen when traveling north into Walker Lake.
“I was told early on that artists are paid little because people know they would do it for free anyway. I have also been asked if art expressions are lessened by that fact. Well, all I can admit to is that an excitement comes in the creation of doing one’s art. That internal emotion and love can never be stifled, but the sharing of that art can be determined by the acceptance and the valuing received by others.”