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Reid Stowe was born Jan. 6, 1952 in Moses Lake, Washington on an Air force base. Stowe grew up traveling, but spent most of his summers in North Carolina at his family’s beach house. He discovered art as a young boy and grew up experimenting with various styles. As a teenager, Stowe was introduced to ocean sailing by a friend. This experience led to the building of two boats in the front yard of the beach house and numerous challenging expeditions. Stowe’s artistic and sailing endeavors were intertwined from the start. He sculpted protective figureheads in the tradition of ancient seafaring cultures and created abstract paintings that helped him envision and plan his expeditions, including the longest non-stop sea voyage in history, 1,152 days.
Stowe’s expeditions have taken conceptual art to a new level. In 1999, on his Odyssey of the Sea Turtle voyage, made on the schooner Anne, he sailed a course in the South Atlantic in the shape of a giant sea turtle with a 5,500 mile circumference. It is possibly one of the largest works of art ever created and the first on record to use GPS as a drawing tool. The symbol of the turtle was meant to remind the world of the ancient wisdom of Aesop’s fable, “The Tortoise and the Hare,” to go slowly but surely instead of thoughtlessly and fast.
In 2007, Stowe departed on his epic non-stop voyage. When he returned in 2010, he had completed a GPS drawing of a whale 4,500 nm in circumference in the Pacific Ocean and a heart in the Atlantic ocean. Stowe views sailing as performance art going beyond traveling from point A to point B to encompassing mystical experiences and spiritual evolution.