Jimmy C’s Mural Helps London Say Goodbye To The Legend That Was David Bowie

Well it was with great sorrow that we woke up on morning of Monday 11th January 2016 to hear that David Bowie had passed away. Someone that has been a major musical favourite and inspiration to us here at London Calling Blog, though we are divided on preference for 1970’s and 1980’s Bowie, showing there is a David Bowie for everyone, for me David Bowie is the artist that in the 1970’s reinvented his sound and persona with every passing album. Personally, he will remain most memorable as the man who sung ‘It’s a god-awful small affair, To the girl with the mousy hair’ at the start of ‘Life On Mars?’, one of the greatest songs ever written, very much part of the soundtrack to my life.

What sets David Bowie aside from the vast majority of artists is the sheer range of people he influenced through his five decades of music, meaning so many things to so many people, for so many reasons. No musical artist has managed to constantly redefine themselves and reinvent their persona and make it work as David Bowie did, nothing less than a real innovator, an artist who really did it his way, something entirely lacking from musical artists these days.

For us here at London Calling Blog, David Bowie has always been the local legend, born in Brixton, but grew up in Bromley, a mere two streets from where I grew up, attending the same schools and even now living a mere five minutes drive from where he performed his first live show, he is someone that I have been aware of from the earliest of ages. But this is to miss the point, David Bowie influenced and meant so much to countless people the world over.

This is something that has been demonstrated by the sheer response an incredible piece of artwork, placed up in his place of birth, Brixton by Street Artist Jimmy C in 2013. This stunning mural is one that has been popular with local residents long before recent events, who are proud of their ‘Brixton Boy’, created in the artists distinctive Pointillist style the portrait presents perhaps David Bowie’s most iconic persona, that of Aladdin Sane of the iconic 1973 album of the same name. The mural has become the focus point for people to express their loss, becoming an impromptu shrine and symbol of the effect this artist had on so many people across the generations.

While even the next day there was a somewhat somber tone around this mural, with people clearly at a loss, still processing the news that someone whose presence has accompanied their lives was now gone There was also a sense of celebrating what was great about David Bowie, so with this in mind the spirit on the evening of his passing being announced the people gathered at the mural and nearby Ritzy cinema to celebrate and pay their respects to one of the few true musical legends, the Starman who came and blew our minds.

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The mural on the morning after his death, with the flowers and tributes continuing.

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A touching note offering a glimpse of the many characters David Bowie expressed himself with through his incredible career.

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Saying goodbye with lyrics from ‘Rebel Rebel’.

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Lyrics from 1972 song ‘Five Years’ added next to the work on the day after his passing.

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Message placed up on The Ritzy the day of the sad news breaking and scene of some of the celebration of his life and influence, just down the road from the Jimmy C mural.

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The mural two days after his death, with the flowers and tributes still continuing.

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Since yesterday, the walls either side of the mural have become canvas to those wishing to say goodbye to such a unique individual.

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Someone paying their respect by adding to the hundreds of messages left at this focus point.

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Crowds still gathering two days on from the news of his passing, amply demonstrates the immeasurable respect people have for this man.

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So as the world says goodbye to a truly original individual, a man who influenced countless people, we would like to sign off with some of our favourite David Bowie lyrics, from his 1971 song ‘Quicksand’;

“I’m not a prophet
or a stone age man
Just a mortal
with the potential of a superman
I’m living on”

And this for us his very apt, David Bowie was just that a mortal who took on the potential of a superman, and he will live on, through his music, his art, his films and mostly through the lasting presence he left with the world, but mostly because Ziggy Played Guitar’. RIP David Bowie, you will be missed. 

7 comments on “Jimmy C’s Mural Helps London Say Goodbye To The Legend That Was David Bowie

  1. Great summary. I’m really digging some of the tracks on Blackstar albeit poignant and dark as they are. The title track could not have been written by anyone else I don’t think. Maybe Thom Yorke perhaps – has a later Radiohead feel I reckon. Anyway thanks for sharing. Nice to see this ‘shrine’ written about by a true fan and not by CNN. Nice job!

    • Hi Saxon, thanks for the comment. We haven’t checked out the latest album yet, but we love how it’s recording and release marked the final artistic performance from this mammoth talent. Thanks for the kind words, we didn’t feel this was just a sensationalist excuse to write about something as it involved Street Art, but the mural did give us a reason to express a little of the influence David Bowie has add on our personal musical journey. Thanks.

  2. Hey Morgan, Tommy (of Tommyandmarymusic) shared your blog with me when I asked him (I’m writing from the USA) if he could let me know the mood in Brixton after David’s passing. I cried when I looked at the pics and read your essay (a little embarrassing, being in the office, but what the hell. I work at a school and the kids will certainly understand). Your writing (and Bowie’s body of work) speaks to the idea of why art in any form makes life more worth living.

    Since I’m a lot older than you and, probably, your blog readers and fellow graffiti artists, I wanted to share something about Bowie that many younger fans may not be aware of. I was a fan from the first time his music arrived in the US in the early 70s. (yeah, I’m Really old – nearly Bowie’s age) I remember reading back then in several places that he was a Buddhist, which motivated me to begin studying it. I’m not sure how deep his commitment to the philosophy remained, but I suspect it must have made a strong impression on him. The basic Buddhist belief in the impermanence of the self is represented time and time again in his work — the most obvious examples being the various theatrical persona he brought to the public over the years: David Jones, Ziggy Stardust, Thin White Duke, etc. –all the while leading a private life of his own choosing.

    Also, his frequent collaboration with other artists produced work comprised of “Bowie elements” and “non-Bowie elements,” in the same way Buddhists regard the leaf of a tree as being made up of “tree elements,” (stem, chlorophyl, etc.) and “non-tree elements” (hydrogen, carbon, oxygen molecules, etc.) Beyond his direct collaborations, his art will continue to influence other artists, as well as fans, for generations to come. In that sense, regardless of whether we believe in reincarnation, he will continue to be reborn — if not literally — then artistically — again and again. That’s pretty cool. Thanks again for posting the pictures and your thoughts.

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