As the curator and project manager at JAB, Jason Bowers assists in creating D.C.’s style and appearance. He connects international and local artists to help make our city a hub for muralists and other artists to gather and collaborate.
District Fray: What D.C. style means to you
Jason Bowers: People have been coming to D.C. from all over the world for generations. What makes this city’s style so great is that you have food, art, clothing, music and institutions that invite you to experience so many cultures. I love seeing Laotian restaurants with murals by [Loatian artist] Golden Rabbit Silent Monkey or the Indonesian influence in the murals by D.C. native MISS CHELOVE. What D.C. does pretty well is make room for a variety of huge mural projects — from the flair of POW! WOW! DC and artists like No Kings Collective to the historically minded murals all along U Street celebrating the rich history of Black culture in this city.
Style icon and/or inspiration
An artist whose visual and personal style I always admired was [Jean-Michel] Basquiat. I remember seeing an image of him in a crisp suit and tie juxtaposed with a huge canvas of his work behind him. I love the combination of high-brow and low-brow, of clean lines and chaos. A current artist with wild style and flair is my guy MADSTEEZ in New York. He is as bright and beautiful as his paintings. Here in D.C., two artists/creatives whose style I’m constantly impressed by are Pierre Edwards (District Dodger) and Curry Hackett. Those dudes are polished.
I am a huge jacket person. Everyone should own a black jean jacket (preferably adorned with pins and buttons) and a mid-thigh wool coat with the collar popped. Beyond that, you have to own at least one pair of colorful Vans.
Hemingway-meets-Tony Hawk. I love my Donegal [tweed] wool jacket, but I’m in my element wearing a baseball cap and T-shirt with my friend’s logo or artwork on display. Always hustle for your friends. The bit of Californian in me that’ll never die is my obsession with Vans. All that aesthetic meshes well with my professional vibe. As a curator and project manager working with a variety of clients, I need to pull off a suit as well as a short-sleeve button-up and jeans. Working on festivals and pop-up events surrounded by so many cool creatives means I need to be able to wear dust and paint — [and] look good doing it.
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