David Bowie named Britain’s most influential artist of the last 50 years as icon receives unique plectrum portrait

(Picture: PA)

has been named Britain’s most influential artist of the last 50 years for his ability to transcend music, film and fashion, with a unique piece of art commissioned to celebrate the news.

The Starman musician topped the Sky Arts list of 50 influential artists ahead of 12 Years A Slave Oscar-winning filmmaker Sir Steve McQueen and It’s A Sin writer Russell T Davies, who revived in 2005.

Musicians including the , Sir Elton John, and Boy George were among those featuring, alongside actors and Steve Coogan.

Street artist Banksy also made an appearance in the list, as did filmmaker Sir Ridley Scott and fashion designers Alexander McQueen and Dame Vivienne Westwood.

Comedians Ricky Gervais and Victoria Wood appeared alongside artist Tracey Emin and Skin, lead singer of rock band Skunk Anansie, who was Glastonbury’s first black headliner in 1999.

The list recognises renowned artists across the categories of visual arts, literary arts, performing arts, music, film and TV.

(Photo by Staff Western Gazette/Mirrorpix/Getty Images)
(Picture: PA)

The judging panel, led by broadcaster and DJ Lauren Laverne, were challenged by TV channel Sky Arts to create the list and crowned Bowie for his ability to transcend a variety of mediums.

Laverne said: ‘I was honoured to be chosen to take part in this judging day for Sky Arts, as working with such a respected group of judges, I knew their conversations would be fascinating, and they were.

‘The judges took so much time and care with their scoring to ensure the Top 50, Top 20 and Top 10 lists were truly the best of the best in terms of influence, and the final list are artists that are so deserving of their places.

‘David Bowie coming in at number one was the cherry on top of a brilliant judging process, and it was great to be a part of it.’

(Picture: getty)
(Picture: getty)

Bowie, one of the most influential and revered musicians of the 20th century, died with liver cancer on January 10, 2016, two days after his 69th birthday.

A unique portrait of the singer-songwriter was made to honour his new distinction from more than 8,500 individually placed guitar plectrums – each featuring a cut-out shape to symbolise all the artistic disciplines Bowie influenced.

Artist Joe Black, who created the two-metre-tall piece, said: ‘This portrait was created to celebrate David Bowie being named the most influential artist of the last 50 years.

‘His visual representation had a huge impact across all of the arts worldwide.

‘The idea was to use thousands of specially designed plectrums, with each design representing one of the five artistic areas of Bowie’s creative life and influences – music, film, fashion, literature and art.

‘Bowie was a maverick and a global icon who initiated a new Bowie era in popular culture.’

Philip Edgar-Jones, director of Sky Arts, said: ‘As our number one artist, we wanted to honour David Bowie in a way that would feel fitting to the scale of his influence.

‘The artwork that has been created by Joe Black honours the ways that Bowie’s influence transcends genres, through guitar picks with cut-out designs of music, art, stage and screen.’

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