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New Blog! Embracing the Black Star

January 8th, 2018 | by Nick
New Blog! Embracing the Black Star

“He always wanted to do something interesting, often to the annoyance of the record company….He understood the value of the image on a record cover, when other people had forgotten about it.” Jonathan Barnbrook

In The Continuing Allure of Aladdin Sane and the Lightning Bolt, I shared David Bowie’s explanation of the origin of what is probably his most widely used iconic representation. As is the case with many of his clothes, Bowie himself designed the bolt image.

However, for the ★ icon, Bowie collaborated with the British design firm Barnbrook. It was the Barnbrook firm which released the Blackstar art in January 2016 for public use. The Agency even opened an Internet domain,, for easy fan access to the artwork. (It should also be noted, by the way, that Barnbrook did place commercial restrictions on use of the Blackstar imagery. Please see David Bowie’s Blackstar Art Released for Free to Fans for specifics.)

No stranger to Bowie or his work, Barnbrook was also the design firm Bowie used for the covers of his Heathen, Reality, The Next Day, and Nothing Has Changed albums. As with all Bowie’s album covers—even the seemingly most straightforward of them–there’s more to the design than meets the eye. Each cover has its history, so with Blackstar being the most complex cover, it’s to be expected that there would be a complex history behind its creation. Some of that history is related by Jonathan Barnbrook in an interview published as David Bowie was “facing his own mortality”with Blackstar album says cover designer, so I won’t go into it here.


The remainder of this article showcases some of the wonderful artwork fans have created during the past two years of embracing a simple symbol which David Bowie turned into the legend known as Blackstar. Other than arranging the artwork into broad categories and introducing each category, I won’t add to what the fans themselves have said through their displays on Twitter. Moving right along then…


This group combines imagery from different points in Bowie’s career with the Blackstar icon.



Placing images of David in the star itself creates an inseparable bond.



The Bowie Blackstar Art is contained in separate zipped files which allow for a variety of uses.




As with Aladdin Sane’s lightning bolt, the Blackstar imagery absolutely begs to be put on clothes.



Another way fans combine the Blackstar with other phases is original drawings.




In addition to proudly displaying their Blackstar vinyl and turntables, fans also made creative use of the icon in home decor.


I hope you enjoyed this display of fan love for the Blackstar imagery. For additional beautiful fan art–on any subject, not just the Blackstar–the Twitter Advanced Search window is a good tool to use.

Thanks for checking out this article. While you’re here, please do visit some of my other David Bowie News posts in the blog section. I’m also on Twitter @revisingmyself. There I tweet mostly about Bowie but I also play excellent R&B and jazz as well as providing thought-provoking information on popular culture, current events, and history. Be safe, God bless.


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