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Life & Work with Bear Howl

Today we’d like to introduce you to Bear Howl.

Hi Bear, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself
When I was young my father passed away and among the things that I received was a VHS camcorder. Being an only child with not a lot of friends, I had a lot of alone time with my imagination and a lens.

I knew I wanted to be some kind of visual artist and when it came time to decide what I wanted to go to school for, I chose photography. In my first photography class, I was in the darkroom and I decided to stack my negatives while printing, and I created something completely different than what my peers were doing. I knew I was onto something exciting.

Unfortunately during college, I fell out of love with photography and painting became my passion. Although I did plenty of experimental photography, I was still limited on what I could create, and with painting, there were no perimeters of what I could do.

After school, I delved into what painting could do for what I had in my head. I sold my first painting pretty early off and what started out as a hobby, quickly became a possible career. There is no equivalent feeling to creating something out of nothing and being paid in return. I’ve been hooked ever since and I know that this was what I am to do to give back to society.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Absolutely not. Being an independent artist requires you to not only be able to create but to be a manager, a salesperson, marketing, etc. I hate negotiating pricing on pieces and I don’t like trying to constantly find shows or festivals to display my work. One day I hope to hire someone to do all that stuff for me and I could just focus on my work.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
Most of my work is a combination of acrylic and spray paint. I slide into both street art and abstract categories for the most part.

I really enjoy doing mixed media pieces as of more recently, it is a way to incorporate my past experiments in the darkroom and my self-taught knowledge of painting. My favorite part of my process is the backgrounds of my pieces. The freedom of painting on a blank canvas really gets me going, but finishing a piece will always make me second guess, and sometimes knowing when to stop is the hardest part of my process.

I think what sets me apart are my background and a new process I have where I remove paint and add/subtract and repeat. It makes my pieces look very layered and distinct.

The crisis has affected us all in different ways. How has it affected you and any important lessons or epiphanies you can share with us?
The silver lining of this pandemic was that it was great to see people pick up hobbies like painting. I enjoyed seeing people who never tried painting, dabble in something they’ve never tried. Painting can be very therapeutic, and if you haven’t messed with the medium, quarantine allowed them to pick up a brush and try something new.

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