The news broke across my television screen like lightening, how sad that this flash brought the news of David Bowie’s death. Rather than illuminating this one left the world a darker, emptier place.
Things had been quiet for much of the last decade but it was always comforting to know he was there, there to set the bar. No matter what atrocities were unleashed by the music industry, his quiet presence served as a reminder of how to do it, how to be a true creative.
Many people will write about the specificities of Bowie’s oeuvre, but it is Bowie the creative that, I believe, is most important: he was the epitome of the creative spirit; he embodied every quality that any creative person should cultivate. He voracious in his pursuit of knowledge and possessed a fierce and restless intellect. As an artist he was fully engaged in the world; read or listen to any of the few interviews he gave and pay attention to the range of subjects and the depth in which they are discussed.
Whatever mode he worked in Bowie immersed himself in the creative process; yet while he played at being different characters he never played at being creative. From writing and arranging to (reluctantly) performing, acting and painting–everything was an opportunity to explore the world around him and his place within it. He created for himself making his personal experience a collective one (what must be the ultimate goal of any artistic enterprise) without allowing himself to be categorized or stifled by the people with meaningless job titles that constitute: “the industry”. And so he remained authentic to the last.
This is, perhaps, his most important contribution to the creative world, a world sadly overstuffed with plastic, talentless wannabe’s; puppets of the moneymen who appear virally (how apt), and then vanish once the hype has died down. Not for Bowie though, forever looking and moving forward, he did it his way, always, without compromise.
If Bowie’s legacy reveals one thing to us it is that as creatives, we must claim the right to express ourselves as we wish to: unencumbered by restrictions imposed by “the industry” and market forces. So let’s follow the Black Star.