Eric Dowdle:Mormon Folk Artist

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Eric Dowdle Mormon Folk Artist

Eric Dowdle is a prolific folk artist, best known for his whimsical puzzles and prints.

Dowdle was raised on a farm in Idaho and then Wyoming, one of twelve children (ten boys and two girls). The basic principles taught and practiced in his home, such as humor, hard work, and devotion to God and country, are depicted in his art. His unique style encompasses the essence of what people hold dear about their hometowns, whether large or small.

He also illustrates zoos, balloon festivals, stadiums and fields of favorite sports teams. He couples with organizations, such as the Boy Scouts, and charities, such as Garth Brooks and the Smiles for Life Foundation, to tell their story and help benefit their cause. Dowdle also heads a charity called Gingerbread House Foundation, which raises money for the PTA’s arts endowment program and the Boy Scouts’ Learning for Life program—both Utah youth organizations.

Dowdle credits his high school art teacher (Rudy Gunter) for turning him into an artist. Dowdle first became fascinated with folk art when his family lived for a few years in Boston, Massachusetts, after his graduation from high school. He left college after one year, anxious to “go make something happen.”[1] He started painting in his early twenties. He researches globally, and his work is distributed throughout the world through his company, Dowdle Folk Art. His artwork is often described as fun, lively, and happy.

In 2010, Dowdle sold his first millionth puzzle. One year later he sold his second millionth puzzle. The company continues to sell millions of products each year.

Eric Dowdle art Mormon

His vast collection of Utah paintings were compiled and published in 2008 in Utah: Featuring the Art of Eric Dowdle. In 2013 he published Nauvoo: Featuring the Art of Eric Dowdle.

He has received many awards for his work, but the most flattering to him is his award from the 1997 art competition of the Church of Jesus Christ for his painting “Sesquicentennial Quilt.” Dowdle is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Dowdle hosted a KBYU radio show called “Traveling with Eric Dowdle” and a PBS television series called “Painting the Town with Eric Dowdle.” After one year on PBS, BYUtv picked it up for two seasons. “Painting The Town” featured Dowdle traveling to locations all over the world and meeting with the people who live in those locations, then creating a painting of the place. “Painting The Town” never featured the puzzle aspect of Dowdle’s work.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, people turned to puzzles during lockdown. From that surge of people turning to his puzzles, a new show on the Magnolia Network was created: “The Piece Maker.” "Every episode of “The Piece Maker” features Dowdle visiting a different location — Alaska, Hawaii, San Francisco, the Outer Banks, New York, Miami, New Orleans and southern Utah. He visits each of these places in preparation to paint them, and eventually, to turn that painting into a puzzle."[2] It is available for streaming on HBO Max and Discovery+.

He and his wife Deb, have five children and live in Utah.

  1. [1] Dowdle Folk Art Meet the Artist