On Eric Dowdle’s personal Facebook page he shared a photo of a fortune cookie he received and the extracted fortune.
“Your quiet charm will attract the attention of others” the fortune read. Dowdle does have a high level of charm that draws the attention of others, but to say he is quiet is shortsighted by the fortune cookie industry.
Dowdle, a local folk artist, travel guru and history buff, loves to talk. His stories of life and his ability to put those stories into art has won him the praise of many people including well-known artists like the late Thomas Kinkade.
Don’t be fooled by Dowdle’s laid-back, happy attitude and winning smile. When it comes to art and precision he expects perfection. His paintings and puzzles are a testament to that.
Dowdle’s studios are located in Lindon. His gift to the community is not only his artist’s prints, but the colorful and whimsical puzzles he creates from them.
A few years ago, through Thomas Kinkade Studios, The Walt Disney Co. approached Dowdle to work with them.
“I didn’t take them seriously,” Dowdle said. “One year later they said, ‘We want to do it.’ I still didn’t take it seriously.”
Dowdle said Kinkade had been trying to find an artist with whom Disney would want to work, and Dowdle signed a contract two years ago.
Dowdle said sometimes he gets so busy he loses his focus and he needs topics that are universal to work on.
Since signing with Disney, Dowdle has been shoulder deep in re-imagining. His first six paintings include three princess paintings; Cinderella, the Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast. He also has three Mickey paintings including a Christmastime art piece of Mickey and friends skating in Central Park.
Currently, Dowdle is working on reimagining Pinocchio, the wooden puppet that goes through a great deal of refining to become a real boy.
“Disney is childhood,” Dowdle said. “It becomes a part of us. I haven’t watched ‘Pinocchio’ in 40 years and I got emotional; I cried.”
In painting Pinocchio, Dowdle continues to tell the story.
“I want people to remember that innocence,” Dowdle said. “I just want to tell the story of Pinocchio and forgiveness. We need that right now.”
Dowdle loves to not only tell the story but also to find the stories. He has been from Cork, Ireland, to Austin, Texas, and from the Bahamas to Bear Lake, and has painted and puzzled his way throughout the world, into history and more.
Dowdle said that Disney has set a high bar for him.
“I’ve learned through Disney that I have to paint,” Dowdle said. “It doesn’t matter, they make me a better company. They force me to be excellent.”
Dowdle’s Disney paintings are to reimagine and reinvigorate stories that he said we’ve all known before.
He is hoping that within the next two weeks all signatures will be finalized and his Lindon studios and elsewhere will be able to start selling products for the Christmas season.
His artwork has been seen and the images have been approved by Disney. He is now in the process of creating the products.
They include stratoscope-style puzzles: 3-dimensional puzzles which Dowdle said are some of his most engaging styles.
Besides his new Disney work, over the years Dowdle has done more than 475 paintings that took him between two weeks and two months to do depending on the subject matter and his time. Most of them have been turned into puzzles that families and individuals can enjoy over and over again.
Earlier this year Dowdle released a limited edition of Orem puzzles, with lots of fun hidden Easter eggs, for the city’s 100th birthday. They sold out quickly.
Dowdle has also dabbled in television and radio with travel shows including the Brigham Young University radio show “Traveling with Eric Dowdle.”
He also is producing “Land That I Love” videos. As Dowdle puts it, it will be a “joyful jaunt around the country.” They will tell of the successes and triumphs of an area and are part of the 250th anniversary celebration of the United States in 2026.
Dowdle’s ultimate dream and goal is to build a replica of George Washington’s Mount Vernon home here in Utah County.
Mount Vernon will be an interactive museum that will feature many unique, new and untold stories of the United States.
It is expected to feature a reception area, restaurant and other outbuildings that will tell the story of the early days of the country’s history through tradesmen and artisans.
All of this keeps Dowdle thinking, moving and talking about his dreams. For now, those dreams are focused on completing Pinocchio.
Dowdle says he is enjoying the rich experience he is having reimagining. And just like Pinocchio he has no strings to hold him down.
If you would like to see Dowdle’s art and puzzle collections for purchase, visit his studios at 1280 W. 200 South, Lindon, just west of Interstate 15, or call (801) 785-1123.
Dowdle’s limited edition prints start at $133; jigsaw puzzles are about $20. Dowdle also makes wooden puzzles, travel puzzles, custom image puzzles and sells puzzle accessories, 3D and stratoscape puzzles.
You can see his collection at https://dowdlefolkart.com.