Caren Zane Fishman (left) and Caroline Bowden (right),
How did you get involved with the Brookline Arts Center?
Caren: I first got involved with the BAC when I took the Mom and Tots class with Merrill 25 years ago with my first child. We stayed until it was time for my next one to join. I also started taking classes at the BAC. I took watercolors with Gema Phillips (a Brookline artist). I took adult ceramics and parent/child ceramics. I have been a supporter of the BAC since. I participated in the Palette Project. The palettes were created by local artists, in their medium of choice and were then auctioned off. It was a big event that raised money for the BAC.
Caroline: When my children were small, they took classes at the BAC and regularly attended birthday parties there. I always check out the exhibits. When I began my art practice full-time I already felt I had a natural connection.
Tell us about your background. How did you become interested in art?
Caren: I was born and raised right outside of Boston and have lived here in Brookline for the past 30 years. I knew I loved art from as early as the age of 6. I was always a maker. I loved paint by numbers, making my own coloring books, sewing and creating. It was not until high school that I realized I actually could create art for the rest of my life. I had fabulous art teachers in high school that were so inspiring. They led me to majoring in ceramics and sculpture. I took a break from art and pursued a career that could support me and took a haitus from creating art. After my first child was born, I started back up with my ceramics, which led to me experimenting with lots of different mediums and creating something every day. The world around me is what inspires me. I see color and shapes and ideas everywhere I look. It gets me so excited to get back into my studio.
Caroline: My interest in pursuing mixed media grew out of a desire to create with my hands again. After many years working in graphic design, mostly in front of a computer, the impulse to make art ‘the old-fashioned’ way, getting my hands dirty, was very compelling. My background in design is still a major influence in my work. My love of type and printed ephemera means that old papers, books, magazines and sheet music often make up the backdrops to my pieces. Lately I have been experimenting with watercolor and textiles but I keep returning to familiar themes, revisiting them like old friends: childhood, innocence and loss, being rooted in the past, rebirth.
What passions do you bring to the BAC community?
Caren: The love of art and community.
Caroline: A love of the arts should be nurtured from an early age. I grew up in England with artist grandparents on both sides. We went regularly to all the big art galleries in London, to the ballet and the theater, and this is something that I have tried to continue with my children. I believe passionately that a love of art is an essential part of being a fully-rounded human being in today’s world. That’s why places like the BAC are so important.
What do you enjoy most about the BAC?
Caren: The feeling of community is huge, the energy of the staff, the high quality of the instructors is what I enjoy about the BAC.
Caroline: I love that this is a place for everyone: people of all ages can take classes in so many different things. You’re never too old to stop learning…and the parties are great too!
What was your favorite childhood art project?
Caren: Believe it or not is was a history project. I had to make a 3D canvas covered wagon on wheels. It was amazing. I glued, sewed, painted and built it. The school kept it in their community case in the lobby for the longest time. For me, it incorporated all the materials I loved to work with then and still do.
Caroline: We used to sit at the kitchen table and make potato prints–great fun and incredibly messy!
Who are some of your art heroes?
Caren: Two of my heroes are Georgia O’Keeffe and Frida Kahlo. I have a special place for both of them. They were both pioneers for female artists.
Caroline: So many artists inspire me! I have very eclectic tastes– from Russia’s richly ornamented but graphically powerful religious icons to Turner’s seminal representations of light, from El Anatsui’s monumental wall hangings that create extraordinary beauty out of simple recycled materials to Rothko’s uncompromising, meditative abstracts.
Caren and Caroline will both be vendors at our 2018 Artist Marketplace! Join them for a special Friday night only trunk show in our gallery during the kick-off Shopping Soiree, Friday, November 16 from 6:00-8:00pm.