Pale Jewel

It's hard to pinpoint an exact time when David Bowie became an influence in my life. As far as I can rememberer, he's always been there: growing up in the 70s and 80s his records were all over American radio, especially the more commercial hits like "China Girl", "Let's Dance", "Modern Love", and "Blue Jean". They were catchy with good hooks. I loved them, of course. During the dawn of the new music video era and MTV, more people were experiencing what he was about… Like everyone, I fell in love with his cool persona, his blue eyes, one with the odd pupil, his drippy english accent. He was exotic and yet somehow accessible.

What I didn't realize when I was too busy drawing unicorns and rainbows and playing with my Cabbage Patch dolls, was how profoundly influential David Bowie actually was, already, even in his mid-life. And not only to musicians… but to artists, outcasts, people who didn't quite fit, the people who had something to say. People who needed to be heard. He was so much more than his persona; so much more than a "pop-star"... a pale jewel; not as flashy as some, but by far, he was the brightest.

In my teens, I remember Bowie from his work in the movie Labyrinth. His portrayal of Jareth was, of course, brilliant. Paired with Jim Henson's muppets and the artistic vision of Brian Froud, the movie was certainly a favorite of mine, and still is to this day, I watch it occasionally, with fond remembrance of days past.

I'm all grown up now, and I enjoy David Bowie's music on a daily basis. In fact, I usually wake up with one of his songs in my head and I sing it throughout the day. I'm a freelance illustrator and designer, and his music is among a handful of artists that I turn on to help get "in the creative zone". This image is a digital painting I completed after hearing about David's untimely passing. The only music I listened to while painting it was his.

The world is indeed a darker place without his presence. Somehow, there's a little less shine. I never met him personally, and was never fortunate enough to see him perform live… yet I feel like I lost a long time friend; the friend who was always there with a quick wit, a word of wisdom, a sly smile just when you needed it. David Bowie shared his music with the world, and by extension shared sparkling bits and pieces of himself. How lucky have we been to get to know him, and ourselves, through his magnificent art?

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