On this day in 1947, David Robert Jones was born in London. Nearly twenty years later, he would rechristen himself David Bowie and begin his ascent amongst the ranks of popular music. To help mark this natal celebration, West Coast Sound combed sites like Etsy and Deviant Art to find the coolest DIY homages to Bowie and, in the process, stumbled upon a series of art mannequins that document the star's varied and iconic personae.
The pieces are the brainchild of Australian artist Tanja Stark, who previously created Bowie matryoshka dolls, Stark clearly did her research when it comes to documenting Bowie's fashion statements over the decades and each mannequin is painted in great detail. The Serious Moonlight Bowie is my personal favorite as it represents a sorely underrated, and quite debonair, manifestation of the star. Also included in the collection is Bowie in the striped jumpsuit worn when he performed “Space Oddity” and referenced in a recent episode of Flight of the Conchords (best episode ever, check out a video clip on YouTube).
“I think there is something very intriguing about his creative incarnations across the decades, aesthetically as well as musically,” Stark explained via email. “'Ashes to Ashes' was the first film clip i saw as a child…later his back catalogue provided a gorgeously melodramatic soundtrack to my small town adolescence.”
Stark joked that the mannequin project might be a form of “Freudian wish fulfillment.”
“Seriously,” she added, “I've always had drawing mannequins in my studio, so it started as a quirky challenge to see if i could 'sex up' their simple forms without altering their essential shape. I've always been a fan, and Bowie's thin, androgynous body together with his iconic costumes and personas across the decades seemed like they might work.”
Her first mannequin, Ziggy Stardust in a one-legged leotard, took about a year of sporadic work to create. All of the subsequent mannequins were created in one to two days. When asked which one is her favorite, she answered, “The anatomically correct Thomas Jerome Newton [The Man Who Fell to Earth] is quite interesting to paint, though I'm quite partial to the Thin White Duke and Miming Ziggy in his Yamamoto bodysuit.”
Check out more of Stark's work on her Etsy site.
In more Bowie-related news, keep your eyes open for LA-based label Manimal's upcoming tribute album, which Randall Roberts' blogged about earlier this week. It will feature Duran Duran, MGMT, France's first lady Carla Bruni and many others. Also, we've heard that this Sunday will be the annual Bowie birthday installment of Rodney on the Roq on KROQ 106.7 FM.