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Behind the Desk: Ms. Leslie Bowen

Q. If you weren’t teaching art, what would you be doing?
A. “If I wasn’t teaching, I would be spending more time in my studio doing my work.”

Q. Where do you look for inspiration?
A. “Travel has always been something that I have drawn not inspiration but energy from. Going to museums in Paris and school there for a summer, Vienna, Summer Academy in Salzburg, extended stays in places. I visit New York regularly and it is always an inspirational shot in the arm to visit many of the galleries and museums I have come to love. It’s more about the energy I draw from these places than inspiration, that really comes from within me; I don’t really need to look for it. I also used to scuba dive quite a bit and have always loved being near the ocean, it has a very relaxing regenerative effect on me.”

Q. Do you have a favorite art gallery?
A. “Gallerie Neue in New York, it is a small gallery that shows exclusively Austrian art, Klimt, Scheile, etc. It has the most wonderful Austrian restaurant Sabarsky’s Cafe on the ground floor, so you can actually feel like you are in Vienna. The décor: Authentic reproductions of the 1900’s Fin de Siècle.”

Q. Who are some of your favorite artists?
A. “Contemporary: I love Xenia Hausner, and was fortunate enough to take a course with her in Salzburg. I also am a fan of David Hockney, Jim Dine, and Hung Liu. Past of course Matisse, Soutine, Klimt, Lautrec, and I am probably leaving out many others that I love like Larry Rivers, who I was also fortunate enough to go with a group to his studio during a course at South Hampton College. He has influenced me tremendously, of course I am also inspired by my students, who never cease to surprise me !”

Q. What were you like as a child?
A. “I was very quiet, and spent a lot of time off drawing and making things. I did, however, have a lot of friends and played outside a lot. I also was a serious student of dance and attended classes twice a week and a private lesson on Saturdays for most of my junior high and high school years. I probably would have continued on that course if my parents had not insisted that I go to college. Art college seemed the logical choice. I was able to combine my two loves: Drawing, painting and at Moore (Moore College of Art and Design) we had a modern dance class as well.”

Q. What do you feel is the hardest aspect of your job?
A. “All the preparation outside of class, particularly for my lecture course. I also teach at the Barnes Foundation in Merion, two lecture courses, so it can often become all encompassing. Not having time in my studio becomes for me, very energy depleting.”

Q. What are some of your hobbies and interests?
A. “Well between my teaching, and trying to paint, there isn’t time for much else, however, I am an avid reader, belong to two gyms, love going to the opera, and movies, but love an eclectic mix of music.

Q. Could you name your top musical artists? Or maybe one (or more) that you are particularly interested in at this time?
A. “Well, I do love opera, and of course classical, Schubert, Chopin, Beethoven, Bach and Mahler…….Clara Schumann, wife of Schumann is less well known but a beautiful musician. My favorite women in rock are Patti Smith, Tina Turner and Annie Lennox.
Groups currently are Radiohead, Coldplay, still love Pearl Jam and REM, but I like Muse and U2 also. Old music I listen to: Klaus Nomi, Jethro Tull and Alan Stivell (Celtic)”

Q. Do you have a form of dance which you prefer over others?
A. “I love Modern now. There was a time in my life when it was ballet, but now I find choreographers like Twyla Tharp, Edouard Lock and Lar Lubovitch much more interesting, more expressive, like a de Kooning or a Soutine painting.”

Q. If you could give one message to the world, what would it be?
A. “If I had advice to give it would be to appreciate what you have in life because it is fleeting. And to try to help other people when ever possible. To value your friendships and work at them and to be aware about the protection of animals and the earth, we are only the temporary caretakers of it and should value and protect it.”