An Artist in Quarantine

EvCC student and artist, Fiona Bowen, discusses how her creative process has been affected by quarantine.


Courtesy photo from Fiona Bowen

A selfie of EvCC student and artist, Fiona Bowen, taken in her home during quarantine.

Fiona Bowen was featured last November for The Clipper’s “Artist Spotlight”, and since the implementation of the Washington state “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order, she still finds ways to channel her creativity.

Before spring quarter, Bowen and her step-mother began making facial coverings. “That allowed me to get on a roll with thinking creatively,” Bowen said.

Now Bowen is mostly focused on her projects for school, but she still has the resources to create intricate set designs for her art. “I believe you can create what you want with whatever you have, you just need to know how to do it.” Her Hozier inspired photographs feature hand-painted backgrounds and foliage from her backyard. She plans to revisit the dioramas after finishing her thesis this quarter.

Much of Bowen’s art is influenced by music and her family’s cultural heritage. Bowen’s piece “Where Are Our Sisters” is a photo of mountains interwoven with the names of missing and murdered indigenous women in the US and Canada. Her step-mother is Cherokee.

Fiona Bowen wove the names of murdered and missing indigenous women within a photo of mountains. (Fiona Bowen)

Bowen has been surrounded by art her entire life. She was involved in semi-professional theatre from a young age. She said that experience helped her see the background as an equal element within her work.

The new pieces she’s working on for her thesis highlight her style of minute detail and deep personal meanings. She said her thesis is proof of what she’s learned over the last two years.

After Bowen graduates from EvCC, she plans on going straight into the workforce. She wants to do more portrait photography and potentially get into boudoir photography, a field Bowen said needs more female photographers. Due to the intimate nature, it might make the models more comfortable to be photographed by a woman.

The Harris Shutter Effect is Bowen’s favorite technique she’s learned and enjoys practicing. (Fiona Bowen)

Currently Bowen’s creative energy is primarily focused on her thesis, but she has ideas in the works for future pieces inspired by the recent events.

Under the current restrictions, Bowen is dealing with being away from many of her family members. “I haven’t seen my mom in person in almost 10 weeks,” she said.

Bowen, who suffers from anxiety, said the hardest thing about being quarantined is not having instant feedback on her work. In a classroom setting Bowen said she would just turn her computer toward her classmate to get their opinion. Now Bowen receives critiques via email, meaning it could take a whole day or more to hear back from colleagues.

Bowen mentioned a silver-lining to the current situation. “Now I have all this time to do everything,” she said. Bowen lives in Monroe with her father and would commute to the Everett campus. She said those hours on the bus were cutting into the time she would rather spend on creative work. “I’ve gotten into a groove of creativity,” she said.

Bowen’s advice for other creatives who may be struggling through the current situation is not to force creativity on yourself. “You may feel like you have to make something, but you don’t,” she said. 

When Bowen needs motivation she said it helps her to think about the positive comments that she’s received on her work. She also mentioned working on other projects until inspiration strikes again.

“Give yourself a break,” Bowen said, “we’re in a global pandemic; it’s super stressful.”