"This was made with a lot of love and a lot of intent"
The designer of what is said to be the first statue of David Bowie has spoken out against the ‘wanton destruction’ of a recent attack by vandals – arguing that the project was driven by “the love of the fans”.
The memorial was erected at Aylesbury Market Square just last week, close to the town’s Friars music venue where Bowie first debuted his Ziggy Stardust persona in the early 1970s.
However, within 48 hours the statue area had been covered in graffiti of the words “feed the homeless first, RIP DB”.
“I was pretty upset,” designer Andrew Sinclair told NME. “I just hate wanton destruction. This whole project was put together by the fans and for the fans – and for Bowie’s family and memory. There’s a lot of love and a lot of intent, and a huge amount of hard work.”
Speaking of the ‘homeless’ issue, Sinclair defended the funding of the project, after £100,000 was raised by crowdfunding and from support from various grants.
“Not one penny of it was from public money and we’ve never asked for public money. The whole comment and the whole reason behind it is just daft. It doesn’t make any sense and makes the wanton destruction even more frustrating really.”
Deputy Mayor Mark Willis previously said: “I want to point out that this statue received precisely £0 of public money. That’s right, £0. It was entirely funded through crowdfunding, by members of the public, myself included. One of the charities I support monthly is Shelter as homelessness and poverty are absolute scourges on society that need solving.”
Speaking of the reaction from music fans at large, Sinclair revealed: “It’s been positively overwhelming actually. Out of thousands and thousands we’ve had two people who don’t like it. That’s actually unbelievable. It’s a huge relief to have the piece finally in and being appreciated by the public.
“He’s been there all my life, and I can state to you very honestly that two of my favourite tracks of all time are ‘Space Oddity’ and ‘Life On Mars’.”
As for the inspiration behind the design of the piece, Sinclair told NME that he wanted to reflect Bowie’s chameleon changing of personas throughout his career.
“Design is an interesting thing and it tends to come up as a thought bubble after you’ve been thinking about it for quite a while,” he continued. “This is inspired by the fact that he was such a Mercurial character. He created and recreated himself so many times. Fans during those periods related to those particular characters. My responsibility was to create something that appealed to as many of his fans as possible.
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“Rather than just going with Ziggy, which was his connection to Aylesbury, it seemed the ideal opportunity to create another 15 portraits of him that encompass his career. The design came from that prerogative.”
Marillion singer Steve Hogarth, who officially unveiled the statue, said: “It’s with a heavy heart and despair I hear that within 48 hours someone has defaced Andrew Sinclair’s breathtaking David Bowie double-statue.
“Apparently it’s been vandalised with spray-paint. Such a shame. Hopefully it can be cleaned up and I guess they’ll have to resort to CCTV or, worse, some sort of barrier. Sigh.”
Last week also saw Bowie fan Alex Laurent offer to pay £5,000 to a homeless charity if the vandal turns himself in. A press release states that “the sculpture is covered by CCTV 24 hours per day and a clear recording of the gentleman who committed the crime has been circulated”.
Meanwhile ‘Lazarus’, Bowie’s musical and final project before his death, is set to be screened as a film in New York next month backed by a live band. It is hoped that the movie will then receive a full theatrical release.