The Success Of Excess: The Life And Art Of Bill Bowers

The Success Of Excess: The Life And Art Of Bill Bowers

  • Publish Date: 2015-11-15
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Author: Irina Averkieff
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CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
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The Success of Excess is the story of the evolution of extraordinary art icon, Bill Bowersa chronological perspective of his life and work over the last six decades set in the geopolitical milieu of these important artistic periods in America. Bill Bowers grew up feeling out of step with the interests and concerns of his peers in Wichita Falls, Texas. He had no desire to become a farmer or a father and instead felt drawn to the outr world of science fiction films of the 1950s. In high school, he listened to the music of his generation on the radioparticularly, The Seeds, a garage band from Los Angeles. After graduation, he moved to LA, just to hear a live performance of the group at the Whiskey A Go-Go on the Sunset Strip. Inspired by the music and fashion on the Strip, Bill began making wearable items for the youth of the 1960shippies and Bohemians and later, rockers and punks. He immersed himself in the culture of full-time pleasure-seekers in the dance clubs. When that scene became uncomfortable, due to police crackdowns and the closure of many clubs, Bill and his friends moved north to the mellower more sensual vibe of San Francisco. The mecca of quirkiness embraced Bill and he quickly became and indispensible member of the Cockettesa group of street performers who morphed into an avant-garde theatrical group that still influences artists to this day. Living in community with all manner people exploring consciousness and creativity, often enhanced by various drugs, freed Bill completely from conventional pursuits. The theatrical costumes he made for the Cockettes led him to sew dimensional clothing that appealed to rock stars and a larger audience of fashionistas. He moved to New York to support the Cockettes performance there, but after their disastrous debut and their subsequent return to the City, Bill stayed to hang around with the East Coast designers, musicians, and actors he had met. His clothing caught the attention of the mainstream and was shown in the windows of Bonwit Teller and Bergdorf Goodman. With support of designer Norma Kamali, he landed a six-page spread in Italian Vogue, and his work was sought out by rockers, such as Alice Cooper and Led Zeppellin. The pressure of success and freezing temperatures in New York inspired Bills move back to San Francisco. When he returned, he also began taking photographs of the kinky, glam, gay culture of San Francisco, resulting in his first solo photography exhibition in 1976. Eventually, photography would become an essential component of his mixed media pieces. External and personal pressures forced another move away from San Francisco. This time Bill chose Key West, Florida where he had a few friends and the lifestyle was attuned to sun, fun, beaches, bars, parties and porn. Bill hooked up with a writer/entrepreneur and they began a book project of fictionalized confessions and staged photos of S and M activities. This drew interest from a New York publisher, but never materialized due to the new plague of HIV/AIDs that curtailed public and private interest in the topic. Within a decade the purposelessness of life in Key West had lost its allure, so Bill began another exodus to San Francisco. However, passing through New Orleans during the Southern Decadence gay Mardi Gras delayed his journey. All the attractions in that city may have kept him there indefinitely, but three years later Bill was diagnosed with HIV. The impact of that medical issue was life changing for Billit brought a commitment to re-embrace his true self as an artist and to use his gifts to inspire others. He returned to reside permanently in San Francisco, the center of all medical innovation focusing on his disease, as well as the support and understanding of the surrounding community. Since that day, Bill Bowers life has not had a dull moment. His creative output is breathtaking and his drive to make art and to share his vision with the world is relentless.

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