Bill Owen’s father had been a cowboy throughout the early 1900s and his mother was an artist. These early influences shaped his desire to be an artist and cultivated his interest in the cowboy lifestyle.
Owen exhibited at the Whitney Museum, Cody, Wyoming; the Grand Palais, Paris, France; and the Western Art Show, Beijing, China. In 1993 he became a member and staff artist of Rancheros Visitadores and that same year, received the Frederic Remington Award at the Prix de West Invitational Art Exhibition.
In 1996, Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, Oklahoma, honored Owen as its Rendezvous Artist. At the 2003 Prix de West, Owen was the first recipient of Express Ranches Great American Cowboy Award. He was inducted into the Cowboy Artists of America in 1973 and has earned numerous medals and awards at its annual show.
In 1989, while practicing for a rodeo, Owen survived a freak accident that resulted in the loss of sight in his right eye. He did not consider this to be a handicap and overcame the limitations caused by the loss of depth perception - successfully resuming sculpting in 2002.
Owen was passionate that each piece be completely accurate and authentic in its portrayal.
A self-taught artist, he continued to develop his talent through hard work, being observant and learning from other artists. The burning desire within Owen was to continue to learn about technique, composition, color and design – the elements he felt must be present in a really good piece of fine art painting or sculpture.
For all of Owen’s artistic achievements, he was especially proud of The Arizona Cowpuncher’s Scholarship Organization, which he founded in 1995, to help finance college educations for young people from Arizona ranching families.
Bill Owen passed away June 30, 2013 while photographing cowboys at a ranch near his home in Kirkland, Arizona. He was 71.