Like Madam Tussauds David Bowie this painting has the iconic look
Updated: Apr 1
A bold new era of art is happening here in Kidwelly, Carmarthenshire, Wales. Check out what to see here in Kidwelly. Exciting and different, every piece and explosion of imagination. Welcome to the wonderful world of Welsh artist Julia O'Sullivan.
'The metamorphic life of Davy Jones' - The life and music of David Bowie
Most of my work has an organic flow to it, all my pieces are saturated with bold colour. My artwork is contemporary with sharp lines and contrasting dramatic scenes.
When I create a piece I am unpredictable as to where the story will take me, the transformation of the story through my eyes takes on a new and sometimes very exciting twist.
I put a lot of my soul into each piece I create, sometimes they are whimsical, sometimes they are horrifying. We are after all made up of both the light and dark.
As you can see there is the iconic outfit that Madam Tussauds David Bowie's statue has in the painting.
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The life and music of David Bowie was the next subject I chose to create.
My focus for the first canvas was to be the pre-Ziggy era. In a lot of my paintings I like to paint houses that have many rooms, each one telling a story. So, in keeping with my design aesthetic I choose Hadden Hall as the focal point. This canvas I saw as portraying a heady giddy time, late 60's feel, a time of great creativity, and a fond era in the artist's life.
The second canvas would be the persona years of Bowie's life - Ziggy, Aladin Sane and the Thin White Duke. It was a time where he rocketed to stardom.
The third canvas is his post alter ego years.
I wanted all three canvases to work together so I decided to cut the windows out of the first canvas so you could peer through to the second canvas and see the rooms inside. Each canvas has been orchestrated to flow from one to the other in a spiral fashion.
The following are some of the elements included in the painting, there are many more and can be found in the book.
The stain glass windows are one of my favourite bits on this front piece. This part was difficult to paint as the portraits are less than an inch square and I had to paint seven of them, all correctly. The first image of Warhol I used didn't work, it ended up looking like a goats head. Being the perfectionist that I am, I searched for another image. Finally, I found one that I knew was right as I could recreate his famous Marilyn Monroe look but using his head. I think it's a fabulous part to the painting. David created the song Warhol as a tribute but Andy didn't like it, so I thought the windows would work perfectly for my tribute to the song.
Major Tom appears inside the metal Telescope. This points directly towards the planet Earth on the second canvas and is in direct correlation to the Space Oddity lyrics 'Planet Earth is blue and there's nothing I can do'.
This completes the first canvas and the spider is the bridge to the next.
The second canvas is all about David's character creations.
We start this canvas with Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.
I decided to paint the band members as the actual spiders with their instruments. The metal spider represents David, it has ball bearings for eyes and one is larger than the other.
The story of the Ziggy character is a tale of a Starman and how the infinites jump from black hole to black hole. Here, inspired by the unique make up of his pupils (one is fixed in dilation due to an accident in his youth) I made the two black holes reflect their composition. At the end of Ziggy's life the infinites rip him to pieces and so we see this at the end of the yellow brick road.
We now move to the last canvas. This moves past David's facades.
At this time we have allusions to his film and acting career as well as his music.
The clown is dragging a bath with the elephant man in it down the stairs. In the bath are a few phallic images: When David played the elephant man on stage, in one of the scenes he was naked in a bath. The stage crew (wanting to have fun with David) used to fill the bath with pornography and paraphernalia.
The many stairs relate towards the film 'Labyrinth' as does the image of Bowie later on, appearing to hold the moon in his hand. For most of my generation we all remember him as the Goblin king, but I didn't want that to take over the painting. In Labyrinth all I really remember is David Bowie wandering up and down the maze of steps, but not wanting to copy the original I placed my own version of them in the painting.
Ebook available here: The Metamophic life of Davy Jones. The book that explains the surreal David Bowie painting. Complete with up close photos and sketches. Follow the journey I take into making one of my paintings.