Wolff Bowden // The Painted Poet

Wolff grew up in a house on concrete stilts, fifteen feet above a cypress swamp. He learned to call owls into the trees above the deck. He swam in a lake speckled with alligator heads and ringed with a chorus of bullfrogs. He absorbed the splendor of nature’s living art.

According to the scrawled dates on loose artwork archived in an old cedar trunk, Wolff learned to paint before he learned to walk. He painted skeletons on bicycles and women whose hair was wings. At night, in a halo of mosquitoes held at arm’s length by the glow of a citronella candle, he painted a strange collection of forest beings he called The Winterlings.

After his childhood home burned down in a blaze so intense that it left an iron claw-footed tub twisted like a human ear, Wolff moved to Sarasota where he studied by day and painted by night, earning a bachelor’s degree in Natural Science from New College of Florida. His studies in organic chemistry inspired Wolff to create a highly-textured, vitreous surface reminiscent of the swampscape of his childhood. Most of his mixed-media paintings are created using mineral pigments and high-gloss, preservative acrylic. His polymer formula even contains an ultraviolet protectant to ensure the longevity of the pigments beneath.

A few days after New College graduation, Wolff sent slides of his paintings to ARTEXPO SOUTH MIAMI which named him Artist of the Millennium. This honor placed Wolff’s painting “Autumn Mask” at the forefront of a two million dollar advertising campaign which included billboards all over Miami.

At the ARTEXPO show, Wolff sold his first painting to baseball legend Andre Dawson for $5000. He bought a cargo van and roamed the country meeting gallery owners and selling art.

Wolff is no stranger to famous collectors. His artwork hangs in the private collections of Pulitzer Prizewinning Author Frank McCourt (Angela’s Ashes), Billionaire attorney Willie Gary (Owns Two Paintings), Forensic Psychiatrist Keith Ablow, Astronomical Engineer Richard Kupczyk (Ground Crew Director for NASA’s Apollo Missions), former Poet Laureate Billy Collins and Rock Star Manager Jorge Camaraza (Shakira). Wolff’s work has been purchased by executives at Starbucks and Amazon.com. He has sold almost a thousand pieces through shows and galleries, and has exhibited at many prestigious events, including ARTEXPO NEW YORK in Manhattan.

Wolff’s written works have been acclaimed almost as much as his paintings. He has published in dozens of literary anthologies, including the Mid-American Review, Flashquake, Folio, The Madison Review, California Quarterly, and Byline. Wolff’s words have been praised by established writers including former Poet Laureates Robert Pinsky and Mark Strand. Wolff has published two books of poetry “Orphanage of Imagination” (2002) & “Heavyweight Champion of the Night” (2008). Wolff’s poem “Into The Day of Saturn” was quoted in a horoscope by renowned astrologer Rob Brezsny.

After living for a year in the rainy wonderland of Scotland, Wolff felt drawn to his ancestral landscape, and moved to the Pacific Northwest. In the cedar forests of Puget Sound, Wolff continues to find inspiration in the vibrant life lurking in mushrooms and moss. Mythological beings rise up through these dreamy landscapes and create a figurative bridge between wilderness and humanity.

Upon reaching the West, Wolff began learning to play guitar and foot-drums and co-founded the Americana band, The Winterlings, channeling his poetic and painterly energy into original songs. The Winterlings have performed live at venues from Manhattan to Seattle, where they were selected to perform at the Experience Music Project (EMP) Museum’s 20th Anniversary Celebration of the release of Nirvana’s “In Utero” album.

The Winterlings have recorded 4 studio albums, played full-house release shows in Seattle’s great listening rooms and earned praise from PASTE, No Depression, The Seattle Times & BBC Radio which said, “We are impressed!” Their first album, The Animal Groom (2010), hit #6 on the Folk Chart while their other albums got major national radio airplay, hitting the top 30 on stations across the country. Over the past 7 years they’ve played in thousands of venues all over North America (USA, Canada & Mexico), with successful West Coast tours from Alaska to Los Angeles, and East Coast tours from Miami to Vermont. They recently opened a show for Blue Oyster Cult and played at the Lincoln Memorial for the Restore Civility Peace Rally in Washington D.C. C-Span broadcast the event to 9 million people!

Please visit Winterlings.com to learn more about Wolff’s musical creations.

Wolff currently lives and creates in Seattle, Washington.