Born in Portland, Oregon, Gil Cowley (Gilbert Henry Cowley) studied at the Art Academy of Cincinnati (1959-1963), and then a further two years at the Cleveland Institute of Art (1964-1965). Between these two parts of his training, Cowley spent time in Paris working mostly at Atelier 17, thanks in part to the Wilder Traveling Award from his alma mater in Cincinnati. While there, likely from fall 1963 to spring 1964, Cowley soaked up both the technical and esthetic lessons provided by Stanley William Hayter and the many artists who frequented the studio assiduously. Both monochromatic and color compositions came out of Cowley’s hands at that time.
After graduating, a career as an illustrator, then as a highly acclaimed art director and producer, left Cowley little time to make more prints. Cowley worked for CBS and then Discovery for 17 years each. The abstract etchings and viscosity prints from those few prolific months spent in Paris seem to be the bulk of what Cowley has created as a printmaker. To this day Cowley, who now lives in Harpers Ferry (West Virginia) still draws and paints.