David Bowie’s ‘Blackstar’ vinyl artwork holds more undiscovered secrets, says designer

Bowie's 'parting gift' is full of surprises

David Bowie‘s ‘Blackstar‘ album artwork has even more undiscovered surprises and secrets, says the sleeve’s designer Jonathan Barnbook.

Earlier this year, fans discovered that by leaving the vinyl sleeve exposed to sunlight, the artwork transformed to reveal a galaxy of stars. Described by ‘Blackstar’s producer and Bowie’s longtime collaborator as his ‘parting gift’, it seems to be the gift that keeps on giving.

Speaking to Mary Anne Hobbs on BBC 6 Music, Barnbrook said that there are still surprises hidden in the artwork that fans are yet to discover.


“There are a number of black stars on the album, it’s not just the five on the front – and they do symbolise different things in life,” said Barnbrook. “For instance, there’s the rosette that looks a little bit like a price ticket; this is still a commercial product, you still buy it. There’s the guiding star; that idea of person you follow in your life, the idea of something spiritual that music gives you.

“There are a lot of other things going on that aren’t completely at the surface, but I do hope people see them – not necessarily straight away.”

Responding to whether the artwork transforming in sunlight was intentional, he replied: “I don’t want to say yes or no on that one, because there’s actually a few other things as well. This thing of keeping the meaning open, I think is better. There’s one big thing which people haven’t discovered yet. Let’s just say, if people find it, they find it. If they don’t, they don’t.”

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One fan thinks they’ve found another of these ‘secrets’ – after placing the artwork under a UV blacklight to see it glow a luminous blue:


Barnbrook was speaking at the launch of Bowie’s personal art collection – which sold for auction for £33million last week.

Speaking to NME, Bowie’S former drummer in Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars has recounted his last contact and the final days of the ‘Blackstar’ icon, while Woody Woodmansey also spoke to NME to reveal how he and Visctonti turned down the chance to perform with Lady Gaga for her GRAMMYs tribute show – slamming it as ‘tacky’ and claiming it ‘didn’t represent anything good about him’.

Bowie passed away in January at the age of 69.

A new ‘best of’ compilation ‘Bowie Legacy’ was released on November 11. It has been reported that David Bowie planned “a long list of musical releases” before he died, with the upcoming release of the ‘Lazarus’ musical soundtrack to feature his final ever recordings and unheard songs.


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