God, family, country—those are the three words often paired with folk artist Eric Dowdle. His whimsical, patriotic art stirs nostalgic and cheerful emotions for what makes our vast world intimate and extraordinary. Rich rural landscapes of homes and farms, cityscapes featuring customs and foods, playful families and the traditions that keep them together are all common features of a Dowdle painting. Fluffy “Dowdle clouds” and sculpted “Dowdle mountains” are signature icons that can be found in most pieces Eric paints. A closer look at the art reveals playful stories that reflect the particular piece’s history. Eric will also often add a name or icon to reflect events that took place as he painted that piece. Exploring the details of a Dowdle painting is a great adventure. Whether you place a framed piece of art in your home, or assemble a Dowdle Puzzle for a family activity, it evokes the same wistful feeling that turns our hearts back to the values that make—and have made—our cultures and civilizations unique.
Eric has been creating art for over twenty years. He started painting in his early twenties, parting ways with college after one year, to “go make something happen”. Making things happen is how Eric does things; painting, exploring, marketing, and working day and night to expand the business, and his collection of over 200 paintings. Today, his work is distributed throughout the world. His travel research has taken him everywhere, from Kenya and China to the South Pacific and Europe. Despite all of this, Eric’s heart is in Utah, where his wife and five children busily run a mini-farm of 100 chickens, 7 peacocks, a bunny and two barn cats. He has a vast collection of art from their home state. This art has been published into a historical book on Utah (2006).
Eric’s upbringing started in rural Idaho on his family’s farm. He is the tenth of twelve children—ten of which are sturdy boys. Many of the stories of his youth are reflected in his art—he and his brothers being “forced” to sing in matching shirts, a chicken stuffed in a mailbox, a young boy surprising his mom with flowers from the neighbor’s yard, children bravely walking a fence line, or Boy Scouts playing pranks on each other.
The Dowdle family moved from Idaho to Wyoming when he was ten years old. After his graduation, Eric’s family moved again to Massachusetts. It was there that he found a deep love for folk art. These early travels strongly contributed to Eric’s love of culture and adventure.
In 2010, Eric was commissioned to do a painting of his hometown. He was subsequently inducted into the Green River, Wyoming, Hall of Fame and presented the key to the city by the Mayor. At the celebration, Eric honored his high school art teacher, Rudy Gunter, by dedicating an art scholarship in his name.
Today, most of Eric’s art pieces have been manufactured into Dowdle Puzzles. In 2010, Eric sold his first millionth puzzle. He celebrated by throwing a large party for the community featuring classic American foods, puzzle contests, and giveaways. One year later, he sold his second millionth puzzle. The community came together to celebrate with him once again. Eric’s Dowdle Puzzles have been a runaway hit. They’re now distributed by the largest warehouse and private membership stores as well has hundreds of department stores and gift shops, and of course, online at DowdlePuzzles.com.
Being an artist is not just a job to Eric. Through his art and charitable ventures, he demonstrates his values each day, and with great focus on his love of God, family and country.
This gallery contains 9 photos.