David Bowie was an inspirational figure for many designers and artists. Shortly after the sad news of his death a year ago today, it seemed everyone took to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to pay tribute to the musician, actor and visual pioneer.
Many revealed their shock and sadness at the passing of a man who had only turned 69 a few days before, the day his latest album Blackstar was also released. As you’d expect from a community of visual creatives, many of these have taken the form of graphics and illustrations – whether drawn in response to Bowie’s death or plucked from projects celebrating happier occasions.
Here we’ve collected some of these works: not only to celebrate just how much of an impact a man equal parts Ziggy Stardust, the Thin White Duke and the Goblin King has had on us all – but also to ensure that they’re properly credited to the artists and designers behind them. Both a year ago and today, we’ve seen many of these shared without the proper credit – especially Helen Green’s animated GIF (shown here) that charts Bowie's ever-changeling visual identity.
Helen created the GIF for Bowie’s 68th birthday a year ago – which she reworked into a trailer for Sky Art's Bowie weekend in November last year – and has created many other wonderful portraits of the singer.
Helen also created this tranquil cinemagraph GIF for Bowie's last album, Blackstar, which was released on Friday.
She tweeted that "I'm shaking so much, this news isn't processing at all.. my thoughts and love are with David Bowie's family, friends and fellow fans today."
Jean Jullien has again produced an illustration that perfect sums up the public's outpouring of shock and sadness, as he did for the terrorist attacks in Paris in November and last January.
"RIP David Bowie, true legend," tweeted Jean.
Stanley Chow’s caricature of Bowie’s portrait on the cover of his album Aladdin Sane is a fun take on an iconic look.
Stanley tweeted that "Trying to listen to Hunky Dory without sobbing is hard. RIP Bowie."
Stephen Cheetham added Bowie to his The Outines gallery, his long-running project that uses a simplified character template to distill iconic people and characters from across popular culture (from the Simpsons to Saddam Hussein via Short Circuit's Jonny 5).
Joe Wilson created this screenprint, which takes The Spiders From Mars literally, for his recent exhibition Fireworks for Dead Men.
"A True original, Thank you for everything," tweeted Joe.
Von also tapped into the Aladdin Sane cover art for this portrait created for Bowie's 65th birthday, which he shared again today saying merely "Fuck" – which was also my first reaction.
Illustrator David Doran stripped back the Aladdin Sane cover even further.
Kilian Eng created this beautiful and fitting work, with seemingly celestial touches.
“A big loss for all arts,” he captioned.