Updated: Jan 10, 2021
Today, on January 8, 2021, David Bowie would have celebrated his 74th Birthday. He passed away 5 years ago however, two days after his 69th birthday (on January 10). He lives on through his music, his art, and the films that he also starred in. Bowie was born in Brixton, as David Robert Jones. He shared his birthday with Elvis Presley, and as a child enjoyed, and danced to Presley’s music as well as that of other legendary rock and rollers. At school, he was considered an average singer, but, his dance moves certainly caught the teachers’ attention. At Bromley Technical High School, he studied art, music and design. In 1965, he changed his professional name from Davy Jones to David Bowie, after the pioneer James Bowie. One wonders if he would have had the same success if he hadn’t, and the truth is, maybe not, because people want more than just talent, it seems. They want all the frills too, including unique name and identity, that is easily recognizable, stands out in the crowd. Things were slow-moving at first for this creative genius, as he explored different routes of expression within his music, incorporating mime, costume, and blending different forms of music (from folk music, proto-punk, to hard rock), but in 1973, with the album ‘Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars’, which remained in the charts for two years, his success-story started to evolve. Things were on the up from then on.
The first album I bought, was Bowie. The first concert I went to, was Bowie. I’m an avid Bowie fan to this day, and his music has often inspired my art. Therefore, here is a presentation of my works inspired by this truly unique creative genius. This series of works started in 2019, with the first work shown in the gallery below, called 'Wild Design'. The title was inspired by the words of art critic Daniel Pateman, also a great Bowie fan. What followed was a variety of experimentation, whilst listening to Bowie's music. Some works are more abstract (more like flights of the imagination, inspired by particular songs), while others are more specific. Some also make small references to the place where I am living now: Athens/Greece.
Many of these works have also been inspired by the album cover of Bowie’s ‘Aladdin Sane’. This was his 6th studio album, for which most of the tracks were written by Bowie while on the road, during his American tour. The name of the album plays with the phrase ‘a lad insane’, and the album cover was the most expensive of its time. The character Aladdin Sane, was Bowie’s new stage persona, which he described as basically his former persona, Ziggy Stardust, influenced by the American experience. This album cover is one of the most iconic images of all time. The thunderbolt across Bowie’s face could symbolize all sorts of things, from his own feelings of being a split personality after reaching stardom, to a kind of reference to Elvis Presley (who wore a ring with a lightning flash, and the initials T.C.B. which stood for ‘taking care of business’). Photographer Duffy and make-up artist Laroche however, claimed that they had copied the design of the lightning flash from an electrical cooking appliance in the studio. And, if this is the case, it goes to prove how one ingenious moment of improvisation, can create the most timeless of images. Creativity at its best!