Jennifer Bowman
Jennifer Bowman

What does it take to be a top seller at the annual MCAD Art Sale? We asked Jennifer Bowman, one of the best of the last two decades, to talk us through her experience and share her secrets.

Jennifer Bowman ’14 is a multifaceted artist based in Minneapolis. Her personal practice consists of intaglio printmaking, bookbinding, calligraphy, and illustration. She also serves as co-owner of Ritual Print Co. alongside her fianceé Kara Faye Gregory.

What mediums do you primarily work in?

Intaglio, illustration, calligraphy, and bookbinding. 

What has MCAD meant for you in terms of launching your creative career?

MCAD has provided me with a network and has served as a resource center in my creative career. 

Where are you now in your career/what does your primary artist practice look like?

I'm fortunate to be able to use my degree every day. I currently work as a sign artist at Trader Joe's. My "day job" provides me with stability, while still allowing me to have creative freedom in my daily tasks. My fiancée, Kara Faye Gregory, and I also own a screenprinting business called Ritual Print Co. We specialize in apparel printing and offer custom printing, as well as our own designs. 

Where can people find your work?

I have prints and hand-bound books on consignment at the Minnesota Center for Book Arts. Instagram is the main way to find my personal work and work with Ritual Print Co. We also have an online store. We will most likely be participating in local art fairs during the holiday season, the best way to stay up to date is through our Instagram.  

Can you describe a memorable sale or moment from the Art Sale?

My last Art Sale was the most memorable one. It was really rewarding to be sought out by past art buyers and then to connect with them about the progression of my work. The Art Sale has provided me with the amazing opportunity to show my work to a much broader audience than I would be able to cultivate for myself, participating as both a student and alumni. 

What do you love about making art?

Making art gives me an opportunity to slow down and process the world around me in a tangible way. I love everything about intaglio (copper-plate etching)! The ritualized aspect of everything involved in the process is cathartic and intentional. I feel similarly about calligraphy; the scratch of a pen nib on paper is one of the most satisfying sounds. I think of doing intaglio, calligraphy, and bookbinding as almost meditative activities. There's art in both the act of making and the objects that they create. In the world that we live in it's a restorative process that I honestly cherish. That might seem hyperbolic, but I think it's important to find those little pieces of magic anyway you can.  

Have you ever done an art swap for a piece from the Art Sale? Describe your favorite piece.

Last Art Sale I did an art swap with Sarah Evenson. They're a brilliantly clever and talented illustrator, printmaker, and all-around maker. The level of humor and wit that they're able to achieve through minimal line/shape and color is amazing. I always want all of their art, but I ended up trading them an intaglio print for a letterpress and graphite print titled the Void. The two prints sort of spoke to each other in their overall existential moodiness. It's a minimal rectangular black letterpress print with graphite layered on top to create depth that is very much akin to the Void

Is there any Art Sale work that has inspired you? Describe it!

I'm inspired by Sarah Evenson (see above answer), Christopher Alday, and my fiancée Kara Faye Gregory. They're who I find myself making art with the most and my descriptions wouldn't do them justice—I recommend just checking their work out yourself!

What Art Sale advice would you give to young MCAD artists?

Do it! Participate in the Art Sale and commit to it. If you're able to, then definitely frame your work (even if it's just frames from Ikea or Michaels). Art buyers respond really well to seeing work in frames and hung up, it makes it easier for them to picture it on their own walls.

Work shrinkwrapping, install, and the actual event itself. Working gives you the opportunity to see the other work that's coming through, the price points people choose, and what's selling. Don't sell yourself short; price your work at what you're comfortable with. You probably just spent a lot of time and energy making that work, pricing should reflect that value. Submit twenty-five (different) pieces and don't just submit the same shrinkwrapped pieces. If you submit a range then it gives you the opportunity to present it as a mini portfolio. I am always open to talk about the Art Sale and how to make it work the best for you!  


Additional Top Sellers

*Note that the term "Top Seller" is defined both in sales and number of pieces sold.
**Bowman will not have works for sale at this year's MCAD Art Sale; only current students and graduates from the past five years are eligible to participate.