On Monday morning, my fiancee and I tried as hard as we could to figure out when we were first introduced to David Bowie. She sheepishly admitted that hers was the “Space Oddity” airplane scene from Mr. Deeds, which prompted her to purchase the Mr. Deeds soundtrack. Mine was a cover of “Suffragette City” by a band called The Get Up Kids.
David Bowie was compelled to create or to be part of creativity no matter what form it (or he) took. All day at work on Monday, people traded stories of their first moments with Bowie and his impact on their lives. No story was the same, but for many that I spoke to Bowie played a part in their own creativity.
Below are a few stories I’ve collected; the range of experiences, both big and small, are evidence of David Bowie’s enormous influence on the creative community.
In my sophomore year of high school I chose art as an elective and ended up in a real-life Breakfast Club: Every possible high school stereotype packed into the same room – jocks, preps, nerds, punks, and emos, all there for different reasons, but mainly because art was the best option in a list of not-so-great options. We were all so different but all experiencing the same unsettling mix of teenage ennui and ambition.
My teacher constantly played David Bowie, and he became the soundtrack to our little class, where we learned about expressing ourselves (on paper and in person). That art room was a place so far outside the high school construct – a place to push boundaries and discover new pieces of ourselves and others. We drew, laughed, learned, and listened to Bowie. We could be heroes, just for one class period. – Ellie Innis, Editor
“The Life Aquatic” – one of my favorite movies – has a soundtrack featuring David Bowie covers by Portuguese singer, Seu Jorge. The renditions are beautiful, ranging from “Rebel Rebel” to “Lady Stardust.” But there is one scene in which director Wes Anderson chose the original version of the Bowie song, “Life On Mars?” This music cue is the reason I always rewind and watch the scene again as soon as it’s finished, and it has become a source of inspiration in my own work.
Steve Zissou, the main character, has just lost his best friend, gotten into a fistfight with a paparazzi, and discovered that the 30-year-old man standing next to him might be his son. Naturally, he feels an immediate need to excuse himself and light up a joint at the stern. The music builds, the lyrics perfectly portray Zissou’s feelings, and the crescendo hits just as Zissou takes a slow-motion puff of smoke – classic. – Niko Brown, Video Editor
Nesse exato momento, todo mundo ama Bowie. Sinto um pouco de desespero, porque quando a gente ama algo, ou alguém, deseja exclusividade. Mas David Robert Jones sempre foi exclusividade do mundo. Sinceramente, não tenho mais memória de quando esse meu amor por ele começou. Como todo amor, cresceu, diminuiu, mas sempre esteve ali, esperando por mim. O camaleão sem sobrancelhas e macacão curtinho, o homem sério de terno, a persona andrógina e sexy, suas músicas absurdas que embalaram minha adolescência caótica e sem futuro, seus hits muitas vezes difíceis de serem ouvidos. Sua estranheza pop. Pois é, não tenho a mínima intenção de definir, ou explicar, ou resenhar minha opinião sobre ele e sua obra. Não sou especialista em Bowie. Afinal de contas, quem é? – Ana Magalhaes, International Copywriter
Ana’s English Translation: Right now, everyone loves Bowie. I feel a little desperate, because when you love something, or someone, you want exclusivity. But David Robert Jones has always been exclusive to the world. Honestly, I have no memory when this love for him began. But it started some way. Like any love, it rose, fell, but was always there, waiting for me. The chameleon with no eyebrows, his low cut jumpsuit, the serious suit man, the sexy and androgynous persona, his amazing songs that were part of my chaotic adolescence, his hits often difficult to be heard. His strangeness. Well, I have no intention to define, or explain, or review my opinion of him and his work. I am no expert in Bowie. After all, who is?
From my art school days through university, I was pretty clearly obsessed with David Bowie. In high school, I had his picture from various magazine clippings plastered all over my dorm room; I watched “The Man Who Fell to Earth” in the library; I unsuccessfully tried to paint a lightning bolt on my face for our annual homecoming dance. I remember pulling all-nighters to finish design projects, drinking black coffee, smoking cigarettes, and listening to “Hunky Dory” on repeat.
Fast forward to college days, when I might – or might not – admit to creating a performance art piece loosely inspired by his “Andy Warhol.” I really admired his take on the pop artist and was inspired to “put you all inside my show.” – Eric Sams, Art Director
Top image: David Bowie, May 1973. Photo by R BAMBER/REX Shutterstock.