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Gowans began his formal art training after serving as an Air Force pilot during the Vietnam War. Following graduation from Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles, he enjoyed a three month tour of Europe on an old BMW motorcycle. Gowans has worked as Art Director and Illustrator for the St. Petersburg Times and several major advertising agencies. His career as an illustrator has led to many interesting freelance assignments including The Wall Street Journal, Cruising World Magazine, Sailing World Magazine and assignments for Major League Baseball and the National Basketball Association.
Gowans shows artwork at the Wells Gallery in Charleston and on Kiawah Island, SC, the Maritime Gallery at Mystic Seaport, Mystic, CT and Annapolis Marine Art, Annapolis, MD.
Gowans, who disdains flowery rhetoric and enters very few competitions, has won Best of Show in Charleston Art Guild shows, was published in the New York Art Directors 64th Annual Show, is an exhibiting member of the American Society of Marine Artists, has been juried into several exhibitions at the Maritime Gallery at Mystic Seaport International, and has participated in the Modern Marine Masters exhibitons at the Maritime Gallery.