Studio Visit: Margot Bowman

The new media artist and designer takes a break from tech storytelling to show us her physical space in London

Digital artist and designer Margot Bowman, one of the founders of the ever-fascinating GIF art project 15 Folds, shares a studio in an airy warehouse building in the Dalston neighborhood of east London. Always intrigued by artists and their workspaces, CH visited Bowman at her studio and found that while it seems neat and minimal at first glance, it’s bursting with exciting works in progress, tchotchkes and inspiration in all forms.

Bowman’s side of the studio—which boasts its own rooftop space—is a testament to her creative diversity, containing everything from teeth stools (that she designed) to picture collages and a mock-up insert for men’s style magazine The Rig Out. She created the Body Insert specifically for the publication and says, “The Rig Out is quite ‘men in trainers with beards’—and I mean that in a really good way, because I love the guys who run it, so I asked them, ‘Are you ready for me to kind of fuck with your audience?’ And they said, ‘Yeah, do it, do it!’ I told them I really wanted to do an insert about sex and desire. I’m always interested in making people think about things in different ways, and combining things in unusual ways to get a fresh reaction.”

As well as the Body Insert, Bowman is also working on Auria, a luxury sustainable swimwear brand for which she’s the creative director. “The label is innovative as everything is 100% recycled polyamide and all made in the UK. I like it as a product, since it looks really playful but actually it’s really, really smart,” she says.

This interest in sustainability and eco-friendly work has been a theme for Bowman for years, and she’s continuing to develop her w.e.t. project which takes a new look at environmental issues, and which she first unveiled in Venice earlier this year. W.e.t. gathers people’s views on what it would be like to live in a future world where the Earth is flooded. “What I think is interesting about the project is that, while I realize that we can be utopian when we think about the future—that’s really important and I really believe in that—I believe the truth is that we’ll be the same people in the future,” says Bowman. “This idea that if we all up sticks and create a whole new world on an island, we wouldn’t have racism, homophobia, that we wouldn’t have all these things, it’s just not true. Humans can never escape their past.”

Along with her other projects, 15 Folds is still going strong and will soon move into “phase two” with a redesigned website built by Sion Fletcher, launching later this autumn. Bowman is infectiously passionate about the digital world and aims to keep pushing the digital experience, which she thinks is becoming more and more inclusive for creatives. “I believe that over the next five years or so, there’s going to be more digital creativity, and more interesting emotive and emotional digital work coming out. It will be a digital culture produced by people who are culturally focused, as opposed to tech people or business people, which is where a lot of technology currently lays because of the cost associated with producing it.”

Early next year, fans of Bowman’s work will also be able to see her latest piece at London charity House of St Barnabus, where she will showcase a film from the w.e.t. world. It’s all part of her “tech storytelling.” As she concludes, “It’s really what I’m interested in: using technology to tell stories is my favorite thing to do. Fiction helps you understand reality and technology is the fabric of our lives, and when you combine those two things, it’s really exciting.”

Images by Cajsa Carlson