David Bowie named Britain’s most influential artist of the past half century | Grafting & Art News

David Bowie named Britain’s most influential artist of the past half century |  Grafting & Art News

David Bowie has been named Britain’s most influential artist of the past 50 years for his ability to transcend music, film and fashion.

The Starman musician topped the Sky Arts list of 50 influential artists ahead of 12 Years A Slave Oscar-winning filmmaker Sir Steve McQueenand It’s A Sin writer Russell T Davies, who revived Doctor Who in 2005.

Musicians including the Spice Girls, Sir Elton John, Stormy and Son George was among those who along with the actors Michaela Coel and Steve Coogan.

Street artist Banksy also made an appearance in the list, as did filmmaker Sir Ridley Scott and fashion designers Alexander McQueen and Dame Vivienne Westwood.

The Spice Girls made the top 50
Steve Coogan
Just like Steve Coogan

Comedians Ricky Gervais and Victoria Wood also appear with artist Tracey Emin and Skin, lead singer of the rock band Skunk Anansie, who in 1999 was Glastonbury’s first black British headliner.

The list recognizes renowned artists across the categories of visual arts, literary arts, performing arts, music, film and TV.

Sir Steve McQueen, with his mother Mary, after being made a Knight Bachelor by the Princess Royal during an investiture ceremony at Windsor Castle.  Photo date: Tuesday 15 March 2022.
Sir Steve McQueen was knighted in March this year

The judging panel, led by broadcaster and DJ Lauren Laverne, was challenged by TV channel Sky Arts to create the list and crowned Bowie for its ability to transcend a variety of mediums.

Influential and respected

Laverne said: “I was honored to be chosen to take part in this judging day for Sky Arts, as with such a respected group of judges I knew their conversations would be fascinating, and they were.

“The judges took so much time and care with their scoring to ensure that the Top 50, Top 20 and Top 10 lists were truly the best of the best in terms of influence, and the final list is artists who so deserve their places.

“David Bowie coming in at number one was the cherry on top of a brilliant judging process, and it was great to be a part of it.”

Bowie, one of the most influential and respected musicians of the 20th century, died of liver cancer on January 10, 2016, two days after his 69th birthday.

A woman leaves a bouquet at a mural of David Bowie in Brixton, South London
A woman leaves a bouquet at a mural in tribute to Bowie after his death

A unique portrait of the singer-songwriter is made from over 8,500 individually placed guitar picks – each with a cut-out shape to symbolize all the artistic disciplines that influenced Bowie.

Artist Joe Black, who created the two meter high piece, said: “This portrait was created to celebrate David Bowie being named the most influential artist of the last 50 years.

Artist Joe Black adds the finishing touches to a portrait of David Bowie made from over 8,500 guitar picks, commissioned by Sky Arts to celebrate Bowie topping the list of Britain's 50 most influential artists of the past 50 years.  Issue date: Thursday 11 August 2022.
Joe Black’s innovative new portrait of David Bowie made from over 8500 guitar picks

“His visual representation had a great impact on all the arts worldwide.

“The idea was to use thousands of specially designed plectrums, with each design representing one of the five artistic areas of Bowie’s creative life and influences – music, film, fashion, literature and art.

“Bowie was a maverick and a global icon who ushered in a new Bowie era in popular culture.”

Philip Edgar-Jones, director of Sky Arts, said: “As our number one artist, we wanted to honor David Bowie in a way that felt befitting the scale of his influence.

“The artwork created by Joe Black honors the ways in which Bowie’s influence transcends genres, through guitar picks with cut-out designs of music, art, stage and screen.”


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