Los Dos Bowies
I painted David Bowie (as Aladdin Sane) a few years ago. It was one of my early portraits with alcohol inks. When he passed recently, I wanted to paint him again, but I felt like doing so would be one of those jump-on-the-bandwagon things: not that I necessarily think it’s wrong when artists paint portraits of their favorite singers, actors, etc. when they die. In fact, I think when we do this, it’s our way of mourning and memorializing those who have inspired us.
Of course, there are those who jump on the opportunity to capitalize on these sad events. Oh, the many t-shirts that are suddenly available! Oh, the sponsored ads all over my social media feeds! I don’t want to be one of those people.
Because I paint portraits in ink, that would be the obvious choice for what to create for this show, but Bowie never went for the obvious choice, did he? I wanted to go out of my comfort zone. I desired to do something more conceptual, not just another pretty face. (By the way, I’m NOT knocking those pretty faces at all. I have seen some absolutely STUNNING portrait work of Mr. Bowie, and I know that will continue for years to come.)
Frida Kahlo has been heavy on my mind. She’s always been an influence, but lately as I’ve dealt with some health issues and physical pain, I’ve really been thinking about how much worse things could be. I remind myself to be grateful and thank God for the opportunities and abilities I have. I think of Frida and her undying determination to create, despite the unimaginable suffering she endured. I know I would not have her tenacity if faced with similar circumstances. Sassiness? Yes. 😉
Sorry about no segue there.
So, with Frida in my head and Bowie in my ears, I began to contemplate the similarities between these two artists. Both were trendsetters in fashion. (Honesty here: I couldn’t care less about fashion, as evidenced by my jeans, Chucks, and black t-shirts – but I do pay attention and can appreciate “fashion on others”. Ha!) Both were never content with the status quo. Both recreated themselves, over and over in their own ways. Neither conformed. Both suffered illness and death gracefully.
One of my favorite paintings of Frida’s is “Las Dos Fridas“. This post is getting long in the tooth, so I won’t ramble on about its meaning(s), etc. because you can Google and/or use your own interpretation, but it was obviously the inspiration for this piece. I also don’t want to use words like “duality” and “juxtaposition” because they’re sooooo artsy fartsy, but yeah, that’s a bit of what I was exploring with “Dos Los Bowies”. It is also about how elegantly he exited.
Mostly, I went out of my comfort zone. WAY out. This is unlike my norm or anything else I’ve ever created. I thank David Bowie and Frida Kahlo for the inspiration to do that. No status quo. No expectations. No limits but the stars.
“Los Dos Bowies” is mixed media on archival paper, 11″ x 14″. For the art nerds – I used Dr. Ph. Martin’s Hydrus liquid watercolors, Inktense pencils by Derwent, Sakura Pigma Micron pens, and gold and silver leaf on Canson Mixed Media paper.