Meet the Sculptor
Brian Owens belongs to a small fraternity of artists who use classical techniques to depict contemporary subject matter. Within this is an even smaller group: Artists that have won highly competitive grants, scholarships, and commissions both public and private. And within this, a still smaller group: Artists that can both sculpt and paint.
From Michigan to Florida; from applied scientist to sculptor; Owens has made an improbable journey into the world of art and the continent of his soul. He was born in Detroit, MI in 1958 to Katherine J. Owens, an educator and Carl C. Owens, a freelance illustrator, and Staff Artist for the Detroit Board of Education. He grew up in a pleasant lower middle- class neighborhood on Detroit’s west side. Carl C. Owens became one of Americas first self-employed African American illustrators to contract directly with national corporations such as Ford Motor Company. With his father’s encouragement, Owens held his first 2 man exhibit at the age of 16 at a fine art gallery in Detroit. As a young adult, he set his artwork aside to pursue other interests. Years passed before his need to create art took hold again.
Owens relocated to Florida to work for a defense contractor in 1981. He continued his art education by assisting professional sculptors at their studio foundries where he learned how to cast bronze and continued to develop through private instruction, non-matriculated courses, open studio sessions and workshops. Interest grew into obsession until a mass layoff catalyzed the beginning of his artistic career at the age of about 33.
During the 90’s Owens created his first line of limited-edition sculpture based on an exploration of his heritage. This was during a decade of unprecedented interest in and sales of art by African Americans, known to many as the “Black Arts Movement” and Owens was represented by galleries in Atlanta and Orlando. His self-styled education included traveling to meet and seek the advice of nationally prominent sculptors. He competed heavily for grants and public art projects resulting in several awards, including his first major public art commission for the Corporation for Olympic Development in Atlanta (CODA) in 1996, called the Historic Auburn Avenue Relief Project. This involved creating four bronze relief sculptures of historic figures.
In the early 2000’s Owens was cited six times in the Journal of the Portrait Society of America for bronze portraits worthy of example to its members. Owens has won six individual artist grants including the George Sugarman Grant in 2006, a competition that involved thousands of visual artists from many nations. In 2007 he helped found the Florida Sculptors Guild along with founders Amy Wieck and Linda Moore.
Other Projects by Brian Owens
The St. Augustine Foot Soldiers Monument
Plaza de la ConstitucionSt. Augustine, FL
Dr. Charles G. Adams
Hartford Memorial Baptist ChurchDetroit, MI
Frankie Muse Freeman
Kiner PlazaSt. Louis, MO
Engle Dental AssociatesNaples, FL