Sierra Art Trails 2015 Catalog #46
When artist Trowzers Akimbo (AKA, Bill Davis) isn’t painting on location in Yosemite National Park or the surrounding area, he works out of his home studio in Oakhurst.
Originally drawn to the mountains from Los Angeles in 1989 to accept the position of Chief Creative Officer/Vice President of Development at Oakhurst computer game company Sierra Online, he’s maintained a residence in the Sierras ever since. While work may have required living in San Francisco or Los Angeles over the years, he and Betty Tikker Davis — potter, fabric artists and wife — have always maintained their mountain home escape where they now live and work full time.
Growing up in Venice, Trowzers embraced the Southern California lifestyle, surfing up and down the coast of the state. Venice had other advantages, the artist feels.
As Trowzers says, “Venice was a kind of artist colony at the time, so Venice High School, offered fantastic art instruction. One of my teachers, Betty Bomeisler (now Betty Edwards), wrote the influential book Drawing on the Right Side of your Brain.”
Art was supported in his childhood home by his fashion designer mother and designer grandfather.
Trowzers, “My mom and grandfather thought they saw talent in my early drawings, so I always had someone in my corner providing art supplies and encouragement along the way.”
Through an arrangement by another Venice High School art teacher, Eleanor Pardoe, Trowzers attended Saturday life drawing classes at Chouinard Art Institute (CalArts) while still in high school. This early introduction to CalArts led to his attending the art school through a scholarship, where his received his BFA with High Honors 4 years later.
Again, Trowzers, “My Chouinard education gave me a significant advantage, where instructors exposed us to all the great artists and taught us ‘to see,’ rather than technique.”
Before Trowzers settled into fine art, Bill Davis worked as a creative in the television, print, animation and game industries. Right out of CalArts, he secured a position as a graphic artist at NBC in Burbank, where he created over 200 More to Come on-air graphics for The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, painted go-go dancers for Laugh-In and designed the Gong Show logo, among countless other projects.
On receiving a national prime-time Emmy for animated titles and segue pieces he created for NBC, the First 50 Years: A Closer Look, he decided to pursue animation fulltime. He left NBC and joined Kurtz & Friends Animation, where he directed and designed award-winning commercials for the next 12 years. He was directing at Kurtz & Friends when he got the call from Ken Williams, CEO at Sierra Online, which led to the introduction of mountain living.
Trowzer’s fine art is unique in that he works both representationally and abstractly and in multiple mediums.
As Trowzers explains, “My abstractions actually came first. I started painting these in the middle 90s. I hadn’t done any representational paintings since I was about 13 or 14, but I joined Yosemite Western Artists in 2013 and they were all working representationally from a live model. Not wanting to be driven from the building, I felt it best to work representationally with them at first and introduce my abstractions once they knew me better. I learned I had a lot to still pursue with representational images and have created these images alongside my abstractions ever since. While I use traditional color and vanishing point perspective in my representational work, my abstractions utilize multiple point perspective and non-local color.”
Trowzers Akimbo will open his home studio in Oakhurst to the public as part of Sierra Art Trails this October.
Sierra Art Trails Open Studio Tour is Friday, Saturday and Sunday, October 2, 3 and 4, 2015.
For more features and artists profiles on Sierra Art Trails go to SNO’s special section
Images and biography submitted by the artist