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Bowstead studied at the Slade School of Fine Art. In 1963, with fellow Slade painters Terry Atkinson, Roger Jeffs, and Bernard Jennings, he formed the art group "Fine Artz Associates". The group exhibited its work, "The Kandilac Kustomised Asteroid Action Seat", in the 1964 "Young Contemporaries" exhibition.
He worked on the Light/Sound Workshop at Hornsey College of Art (Media Experiments 1-4, 1968; [Project no. 118]). He worked on Airplane Panels for the Milan Triennale installation, 1967-8 (Project no. 107), as featured in Archigram 8, 1968 (Project no. 100.8). His project on Information: Multi-Channel Audio-Visual Environmental System, with Roger Jeffs, featured in Archigram 8, while his All-Singing Multi-Media Spectacular, presented with friends, was advertised in Archigram 9, 1970 (Project no. 100.9)
Bowstead's work is referenced in "Too much: art and society in the Sixties 1960-75" (Robert Hewson 1986), "Burning the Box of Beautiful Things" (Alex Seago), and "Critical Kitaj: Essays on the Work of R.B. Kitaj" (James Aulich).
In 2001, he became Head of Visual and Performing Arts at the Working Men's College, and currently teaches on the College's Access to Art & Design course. Many Bowstead students later studied at Goldsmiths, Camberwell, Chelsea, St Martins and the London College of Communication.
In 1962, while studying at Coventry School of Art, Bowstead won the Reuters Prize for "Young Contemporaries", alongside Maurice Agis, David Hockney and Peter Phillips. This led to the exhibition "Four Young Artists" at the Institute of Contemporary Arts. The following year he received an "Honourable Mention" in the John Moores Prize competition for his piece "Surf Citizen".
- Terry Atkinson (Fine Artz Associates) York University; retrieved 19 April 2011
- Young Contemporaries
- "Young Contemporaries 1968: The Hornsey Light/Sound Workshop - Blog". LUX. Retrieved 2013-11-11.
- exp university of westminster aap. "Archigram Magazine Issue No. 8 - Archigram Archival Project". Archigram.westminster.ac.uk. Retrieved 2013-11-11.
- exp university of westminster aap. "Archigram Magazine Issue No. 9 - Archigram Archival Project". Archigram.westminster.ac.uk. Retrieved 2013-11-11.
- Four Young Artists. Institute of Contemporary Arts1962, First Edition. Folding Sheet. Square 8vo; retrieved 19 April 2011
- ICA 1962
- John Moores Exhibition 1963