Frank Fowler, Jr.
“I’m a self-taught artist and I'd like to say that the desert was my teacher.”
Frank Fowler, Jr. learned to mix colors as a child, working with a watercolor kit his mother brought him from a gas station. Now an accomplished Contemporary artist, Fowler's acrylic paintings represent the Navajo culture and land he's been immersed in his whole life.
“I mostly work in heavy body acrylics, painting on canvas,” Fowler notes. “Right now, I'm painting Navajo culture, local landscape back home - northwestern Arizona. And I do realism, impressionist and abstracts. Modern and contemporary.” A diverse artist, Fowler has nevertheless always stayed with his own way of mixing colors and with his own application methods. He rarely uses any photo references: “My works come from my own visions, what I have seen or witnessed,” he notes. “I'm still approaching [canvases] my own way and every canvas I work on teaches me more [about] mixing my own colors.”
His was a very traditional upbringing and this energy feeds into each canvas by Frank Fowler, Jr. “I'm just grateful that my Dad used to take me to the winter Yei Bi Chei ceremonies as a child. I remember the Yei, Water Sprinkler, came over to us by the bonfire; we were covered in blankets to keep warm, snow gently falling. Water Sprinkler, whooping, doing his antics, sprinkled snow on me with the fox tail. I remember the snowflake crystals coming down on me - I was blessed.”
Today, when Fowler is on a roll he can paint all day, and he tries to paint every day. It is the mixing of his color choices that makes his work unique, and which can take some time to get the effect he wants. A variety of types and sizes of brushes are employed by Fowler, with the artist sometimes rolling his brush on the canvas to achieve a desired effect.
His hard work and devotion has paid off: The first year Frank Fowler, Jr. exhibited, in 2006, he won a Best of Show and 1st place ribbon from The Gathering, an invitation-only showcase for top Native American artists in Litchfield Park, AZ. That same year he won Best in Division and 1st place at the Heard Museum Indian Market in Phoenix. He has since accumulated "a box full of ribbons" at all the top Indian markets and Southwest museums. Native Peoples magazine and Cowboys & Indians magazine have both featured articles about his work.