Contributed by Cibele Vieira / Even though making art often happens in the solitude of the studio, it rarely occurs in a vacuum. Artists rely on one another for support, reinforcement, inspiration, and challenge, forming communities to avoid feeling like fish out of water. Tim Gowan, who recently passed away, cherished being part of the Bushwick art community and played a strong role in its formation. He was one of the 400 artists featured in the 2015 art show “Making History Bushwick,”which resulted in a book celebrating the tenth anniversary of the Arts in Bushwick Open Studios. Gowan was a passionate volunteer for the project, always offering a helping hand, from hanging artwork to carrying heavy loads of water in the summer, with constant words of encouragement and a perpetual smile.
In 2017, Gowan, with Sharilyn Neidhardt and Meer Musa, founded Trans-cen-der Art Group, a monthly artist gathering at the Brooklyn Fire Proof building in Bushwick, where six invited artists would present their work in a slideshow. Trans-cen-der also produced four open-call shows, fostering a vibrant creative space until Covid struck in 2020. As Neidhardt fondly remembers: “Tim was an amazing collaborator, no drama, no nonsense. His enthusiasm was contagious, and he had a real can-do spirit. He was easy to be around, always ready with a quip or a movie quote to lighten up the mood.” Having so warmly enriched the community, Tim will be deeply missed by all who had the privilege of calling him a friend.
Timothy Jerome Gowan was born on April 2, 1970, in Flushing, Queens. Tragically, he passed away on July 8, 2023, in Richmond, VA, due to cardiac arrest. He is survived by his awesome wife, Lucy Nelson-Gowan, and his siblings Joseph, Thomas (Donna), Tricia Kelly (John), Dan, and Sean (Elvia), all of New York. He also leaves behind six beloved nieces and nephews and numerous cousins in the United States, Ireland, and England, as well as uncles and aunts.
Tim’s family and many artist friends will remember him not just as a great guy and a dedicated communitarian but also a talented painter. In 2019, Lorimoto Gallery mounted “Smooth and Crunchy,” a solo show of his work. In 2021, Gowan embarked on a new adventure in Richmond, Virginia, where he and Lucy had relocated. There he founded the Boxcar Art Group, and last April curated their first show, “Introductions.” Inspired by comic books and graffiti, Tim’s motto was “Paint like a mofo.” Indeed, he did that and much more.
About the author: Cibele Vieira is an artist and Creative Director of Making History Bushwick.