And the Epitome of Elegant Transmutation Left the World Suddenly
“Sometimes you will never know the true value of a moment until it becomes a memory” David Bowie.
Few creators have the capacity to impact such a broad spectrum of professions, trades, arts and businesses in our modern world as David Bowie did. His death one year short of beginning his eight decade comes as an acute reminder of the progress made by the entertainment industry in terms of freedom to create through game changing work of creative minds such as Bowie.
Born and raised to a British middle class family Bowie’s enchantment with music and the performing arts began in his teen years. At age 16 he was leading rock bands in London. Soon he realized that music was just one dimension of arts and he added mimics; dancing and costume design to his already vibrant composition talent. Unlike many performing arts front-runners who entered fame by projecting their local culture into the international arena, Bowie was quintessentially global.
His performances unfolded in sets and with costumes influenced by Japan; Nepal; the American Indians and the astronauts. His music showcased all known instruments in the world mixing in an elegant blend Caribbean drums with Nepalese sitars and Greek bandoliers. His appearance and mis-en-scenes were rebellious, provocative, elegant and fun. He imposed a new code for elegance: that of transmutation. He could easily flow from singer to actor to dancerlosing himself in movement and artifice.
Aesthetically he made difference the word to describe beauty. Flaws turned into fairness and exuberance into simplicity. The different colors of his eyes which arose from a brawl when in his teens allowed him to create splendor from what most mortals would have hidden. And while he created music; performances and event sets with passion the truth is that he avoided the life blending machine of personal publicity. Escaping the public eye was as important to him as artistic creation. This allowed Bowie to remain an outsider from fame and glory.
As an outsider to his creations he could rip off every piece to reinvent himself from this creative destruction and come up with new and innovative proposals in scting; singing; composing and designing. This made him an unforgettable chameleon whose continuously creative proposals attract attention and rave. He found his muse in Iman, the Somali model who married him to accompany the most elegant transmutant of the entertainment world into a journey of creation that lasted until the last minute of his life.
Thanks to her Bowie became an influence in the fashion industry with several creators such as Jean-Paul Gaultiere; John Galliano and even Lagerfeld taking inspiration from his aesthetics. Today he must be taking tea with John Lennon and having a good laugh as they reminisce on the days that cheerful exchanges led to the composition of the song Nowhere Man. Because both are to this world nowhere men given that their lack of attachment to the physical world transformed them both into the soul of everything.