BOWIE POP ART
Art based on the life and arts of David Bowie and Andy Warhol Mixed media on canvas and prints on metal and paper 2016
From Ziggy Stardust to Drella from Andy Warhol to David Bowie And back again I had the blessing to meet both Warhol and Bowie in my life. Both was naturally absolute geniuses and large contributors to our pop culture in so many ways that changed the world of art and music forever Warhol’s Campbells sup cans Coke bottles and his Elvis and Marilyn prints like advertising a product became icons off the 20th century. While Bowies characters from Ziggy Stardust and Major Tom to the White Thin Duke changed the music industry and gave us evergreens in songs like Space Oddity , Heroes and Changes. I met Andy in 1976 and we went to parties in Stockholm, Paris, and New York. He inspired me to become a Pop Artist and in return I inspired him to do his Camouflage prints by showing him mine. I thought in 1980 it was a cool twist to make something like a military camouflage created to disappear a soldier or tank and not to be seen, and instead make it so bright and colorful in order to be see. Andy obviously thought so to and made his large camo versions of the Statue of Liberty and the German artist Joseph Beuys who actually had been a highly decorated soldier in the German Luftwaffe during WW2. So today after 40 years I feel I can use this pop art camouflage pattern on my art without having to as for permission. Andy did like Picasso and many other great artists he took form other less known artist around him. Picasso said “in art you steel until you get framed”. And Warhol said “Art is what you can get away with”. After all most of the art of Andy Warhol is taken from already existing imagery. Taken from artist Like Edward Munch, or Leonardo DaVinci. Or direct out of a newspaper or a flower catalogue. Andy was called “Drella” by his close friends. As he was Dracula during the day sucking blood from all around him, and Cinderella during the evening going home at midnight. It was also Andy who gave me the nickname “Tommy Dollar” It was in 1980 when I had made a series of hand printed silk screens for him And when we went out on to party at Studio 54 and Area I used to say impressed as I was at the time of everything big and American in NY I said things like “ Wow that must be expensive” or “How much will that cost” etc , So Andy said to me “I will now call you Tommy Dollar”. This name felt stupid at the time but have grown on me in all these years and today I have a fashion line with the name “Tommy Dollar Original”.
I met David Bowie two times. Both in Stockholm. We had dinner in the 19070s and the second time when he came in the 90s with his Tin Machine band and played in the same theatre as I was playing in each night doing one of the principal parts in the Musical Les Miserables. I have in these new Pop Art works combined what I feel represent these two artists and their time. A time that also was my revolutionary ten-age time. It’s no surprise that they fit well together. Remember Bowies song Andy Warhol. In that ironic song David to the liberty to play with the form. Warhol’s art and Andy as a person and the product he now has come to represent. As famous as the products he used in his art. I do something similar today when I play with these two giants in my art. I do it with Love and Respect for what they gave us and with the knowledge that they borrowed or stole or shall we say let themselves be inspired of other artist before them. Pop Art is today a part of our Western world heritage. It speaks to us all. Bowie and Warhol might now both be in heaven but like pop art what they created will live forever. Thomas Dellert