Another legendary figure from the world of art and culture has left us. One of the most influential and innovative creators David Bowie passed away on January 10th 2016, at the age of 69 after battling cancer in secrecy for the past 18 months. Rarely has there been a star of such caliber and might to have influenced and impacted our culture in so many ways. From music, film, painting and many other forms of expression, David Bowie was a truly creative soul whose impact can be seen in works and creations of so many other artists, fans and public. The indelible mark he left upon this world will not soon be forgotten. Often referred to as the Picasso of pop, Bowie was an innovative author, a true visionary and a restless artist. Alongside of other giants like the Beatles, Stones and Elvis Presley, Bowie effectively defined the pop music, but his legacy goes even further than that, his groundbreaking persona showed versatility and originality in everything he created. Over the course of decades, Bowie managed to remain relevant, active and fresh, surpassing many other musicians and creators who simply got trampled over by the footsteps of time. His work brought together an array of different generations, people from all sorts of social backgrounds consider themselves as fans of this grand performer. Even in his numerous movie roles, people say he wasn't even acting, but rather being honest and genuine, and yet achieved to delve into the portrayal of the character with mesmerizing grace. It would not be fair to say he was a musician, an actor, nor a poet, nor just an artist, his creative force went beyond all those labels, merging them into a single person of immense character, talent and personality.
Bowie’s visual ideas infused the music with performances, pertinent to the avant-garde concepts of John Cage, Andy Warhol and Merce Cunningham. Much further beyond the eyeliner and flashy outlook of his alter ego – Ziggy Stardust, the man behind it was a genuine maverick and a pioneer. It was fairly obvious that David had acquired a wide range of influences throughout his long-lasting career. Both his musical and visual oeuvres show cultural references drawn from Surrealism, Brechtian theatre and even avant-garde mime, all the way to flashy West End musicals, elements from German Expressionism and Japanese Kabuki performance. His canvas and sculpture works brought him a strong presence in the world of culture and arts. The versatile star even wrote for Modern Painter Magazine during the 1990s, which gave him the opportunity to interview other amazing artists such as Jeff Koons, Tracey Emin and Damien Hirst. The unforgettable character of David Bowie remains as an endless inspiration for the people around the world, so let us have a look at a selection of artworks created as a tribute to the legendary artist.
Editors’ Tip: Bowie
Dawid Bowie’s death surprised us all. He was probably one of the most influential musician and artists of our time. His unexpected death has invited intense scrutiny over the rich and complex imagery and signifiers in the videos released for Blackstar, his last, enigmatic album. At press time for this book, a Bowie superfan alerted us to the remarkable similarities between these videos, particularly “Lazarus,” and the photo shoot that comprises the bulk of this book. “David said to wish you all the best with this project,” replied Bowie’s assistant in October 2015, when Steve Schapiro wrote asking for a small text contribution to this volume reproducing their epic photo shoot in Los Angeles from 1974. “We look forward to the book next Spring! [of 2016].”
When asked if he could choose one dream collaborator or client to work with, Shepard Fairey answered with David Bowie. The late star has been such an inspiration to Fairey in terms of his music, ideas and aesthetic sensibility. Even though the famous street artist already had the opportunity to meet and work with a lot of his heroes, David Bowie remains a wish unfulfilled. Alas, that hasn’t stopped the American artist to create his own little tribute to his hero; this stencil, made with aerosol paint on vinyl record sleeve, is signed by Fairey and dated ’03.
With Bowie himself originating from Brixton, it only made sense to immortalize him in a wall painting at the heart of the town. The Australian street artist James Cochran, aka Jimmy C, painted this magnificent piece, commissioned as part of a summer exhibition called The Many Faces of Bowie. The mural has become a de facto memorial site in the singer’s London birthplace, and fans have been paying their respects by leaving floral and written tributes to the late star. Jimmy C has also created a Bowie portrait in 3D with spray paint and acrylic on canvas, which you can check out here.
The perplexing photograph of David Bowie sitting next to a huge Great Dane caught in mid-leap was taken by Terry O’Neill, back in 1974 in London. The piece was created as a publicity shoot for the LP named Diamond Dogs, and interestingly enough, didn’t quite turn out as initially planned. As O’Neill started the shoot, the dog was sitting peacefully besides Bowie, then suddenly, it got a bit too excited and jumped six feet into the air barking ferociously! Everyone on the set was terrified, except for Bowie, who didn’t even flinch. The chilling moment was captured by Terry, resulting with an epic photograph.
Famous for combining his original aesthetic with striking social messages referring to consumerism, religion, celebrity and fashion, David LaChapelle photographed countless famous faces from the popular culture. This rather unsettling and unique piece features several masks and faces pushed up against each other, with a very distinct one representing David Bowie. The artwork was created in 1995 and is named David LaChapelle - David Bowie: Face Masks.
The self-taught artist, Patrice Murciano considers himself as an art researcher, always trying to learn more and discover new techniques, styles and mediums. As part of his New Pop series, the French artist created this depiction of Bowie in a bursting array of colors. It is a unique mix of realism combined with abstraction, and the multifaceted colors used for this piece perhaps best represent the versatility of the person portrayed, and the many colors that shined through his persona.
Featured images: David Bowie street art; Eduardo Kobra - David Bowie. All images used for illustrative purposes only.