Quincy Owens and a Philosophy of Public Art



For artist Quincy Owens, 2015 has been a season of things breaking. From his mother dealing with poor health, to one of his sons being diagnosed with Type I Diabetes, and extending into his newfound calling to create public artwork, Owens has found an interesting tension between the things in his life that he can maintain, and the things that he can’t. His attitude toward it all, however, lives outside with his work on a bright and beautiful day.

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As an artist who has recently dived into the realm of public art with his sculpting partner Luke Crawley, Owens has seen great (and at times overwhelming) success. The pair has sculptures on display in parks on both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, and in a number of places in between. This success, though extremely encouraging, is not without its challenges, or in the optimistic words of Owens, “learning experiences.”

For Owens, these so called "learning experiences" have been made possible by the simple fact that art for masses will be consumed by the masses. And while the word “consumed” may have certain negative connotations, that’s not how Owens sees it at all. In his eyes, a child’s hands on his sculptures, or even a drunken man’s fist through his sculptures is far from an insult. It is simply their way of interacting with the piece. Make no mistake! He certainly doesn’t condone the destruction of his work, but he does believes that these “interactions” are showing him how he can make his work better.

Such a positive posture toward what many of us would consider an overwhelmingly aggravating situation truly defines Owens’ philosophy of public art. His work shows us that an inconvenience, in whatever capacity, should not be a license to despair, but an opportunity to grow for the good of the world.

You can see Crawley’s and Owens’ show Prime Commonality on display now in White River State Park.