Brian Bowens, creatively known as “bbsketch,” is a sports-centric artist who happens to call Jenkintown home. He was filmed on August 23 and 24 alongside four other artists in an episode of Card Stars by Altanta-based Overtime Elite, during which he competed for a winner-take-all prize of $10,000. After 90 minutes of heart-pounding creative output in the final round, he was crowned the first-ever Card Stars Champion and handed a first-place check and matching trophy.
“Wow, I did it. Everything stops. It’s unbelievable,” Bowens said. “Everybody’s looking at me, and I’m like, ‘Don’t cry.’ I don’t think a lot of people understand, like, when you have to take care of your family. When you don’t have a traditional way of making a living, to prove that you’re good at what you do, it felt good. I’m ready to show some love to everybody.”
Bowens’ winnings include royalties on each sports card of his design sold through Topps, one of the biggest sports card producers in the country. Links to his award-winning cards can be found here and here.
“This was an opportunity to showcase what I do behind the scenes. My mindset was that no one’s going to outwork me, my concepts, or my creativity,” Bowens said. “I learned a lot about being in front of cameras and staying on task for hours. I’m prepared for the next thing. I’m thankful for all the creatives I met on set, and I’m honored to be on a platform that will hopefully inspire other creatives to do what they do best.”
An active member of the Jenkintown community, Bowens’ Solidarity Mural has appeared on yard signs, stickers, store windows, and a life-sized mural on Johnson Avenue. The mural’s creative process was featured in a documentary which premiered at Jenkintown’s Hiway Theater in 2021.
Bowens has also opened a physical space, The Art of MBB Multimedia Creative Space + Art Gallery, at 315 York Road. The gallery features acrylic paintings, digital paintings, and custom designs and apparel, and will celebrate its one-year anniversary on September 19 in conjunction with the Jenkintown Arts Festival.
“I’m focused on building up our space in Jenkintown and making it into a place for the community,” Bowens said.
The Card Stars episodes are available for viewing here:
From Bowens’ website: “He has created huge custom canvas pieces, illustrated comic and children’s books, mesmerized with murals, captured likenesses via live caricature art, customized sneakers, visually helped businesses and other creatives build their brand – and the list goes on. He’s reimagined how we view art through his YouTube channel. Working with people to bring their visions to life is what he does best and is why he is in constant demand.”