“I didn’t know whether I had found myself as a Buddhist monk or if I wanted to be a rock star.” David Bowie
David Bowie has been inspiring generations through his artistry over a 50 year career and is still doing so. To coincide with his 66th birthday he released the single ‘Where are we now?’ and his first album release since 1993 ‘The Next Day.’ Although not planned, the release of the album has also coincided with a three year, in the making exhibition of his career, with over 300 objects and 60 stage costumes, personal drawings and paintings, lyrics and original video recordings. The exhibition has been one of the fastest selling in history; a spokeswoman for the museum said; “We have sold over 47,000 tickets for the exhibition. It is the most pre-sale tickets that we have ever recorded for an exhibition.”, the exhibition is sold out until its end in August, which is evidence of just how much his life, work, career and charisma have had on the British public. This adoration can come from a simple love of a song, a childhood memory of a film or it can be how David Bowie created a new man in the eyes of society, one who is not afraid to be himself, as flamboyant as he is gay.
BrandSeers was lucky enough to be there, spending a Sunday evening being enveloped in an important part of British culture. David Bowie is a great example of ‘Personal Branding’, whether fully aware or not, we all have a brand we produce and package ourselves within and send out into the world. Celebrity Careers are often labelled Personal Brands; this is inescapable, intertwined with the reputation management of today’s stars. What about the Bowie Brand? From the decision to create a stage name, his name is actually David Robert Jones, to the creation of Ziggy Stardust; Bowie has been creating his brand. Every action, intention and collaboration considered to form Bowie; from Alexander McQueen to Kansai Yamamoto, Iggy Pop to Arcade Fire, Bowie’s brand and indeed career is astounding. An ultimately creative artist in every sense, he had control over who he was and how he worked, strategically placing his pieces and staying true to the artist he is.
The exhibit itself is utterly immersive and has an overwhelming sense of adoration. Among the artefacts recordings and costumes the man is understood as the rock god title he deserves. David Bowie is not just an example of a great talent but a successful businessman, showing that creativity, objectivity, drive and contemplation are great for good business and great brands.
The exhibit inspired me to get my oil pastels into my hands again, listen to the anthology again and again, and not to mention wipe the dust off my guitar. I wonder what others have taken from the exhibit but also how he has influenced and changed people’s lives.
David Bowie has had a profound effect on popular culture through fashion, film, theatre and of course music and for that I salute him.