Although barely a month has passed since David Bowie was beamed up into the sky, he lives on through the art of his fans.
The idea for Loving the Alien: a David Bowie Art Show came about when Chris Unclebach, owner of Insomnia Video Game Culture, and Derek Shumate noticed many of their friends on Instagram and Facebook posting pictures of art pieces in their beginning stages, inspired by Bowie after his passing.
“We knew we kind of had to pull it off fast,” Unclebach said. “And I’m really happy with how it came together. But it was definitely something that we planned after we found out [he passed].”
A total of 50 artists displayed works inside the Insomnia store and along the sidewalk in front of the shopping center. Fans and mourners remembered the Starman with a Bowie playlist and complementary Bowie-inspired Deep Eddy vodka cocktails.
Bowie’s cult classic fantasy film, Labyrinth, costarring a young Jennifer Connelly, played on loop and in the main room, and fans lined up to have their makeup done with their choice of Ziggy Stardust on their foreheads or the colorful Aladdin Sane lighting bolt across their faces.
“I’m really happy with the overall quality of the work,” Unclebach said. “You can see that they care for the subject matter. It really came through in the paintings.”
College student Khushali Patel loved the artwork. Although she was never a big fan, she liked his appeal as an artistic juggernaut.
“For me, [his] whimsy plays a big part in my life,” Patel said. “I wished more people knew about it, because I think it’s amazing. I liked that there’s people from all aspects here, you see people from all cultures, everyone who’s a fan, and they are enjoying themselves. They’re completely into it. I like that atmosphere; it’s a very positive uplifting atmosphere."
Unclebach, who managed a record store for 10 years, said Bowie pushed all kinds of boundaries.
“Gender boundaries, fashion boundaries—he was always evolving, always changing himself,” he said. “And every time you thought you knew what to expect with him, he would do something different, right up until the end. That’s something very hard for artists to do.”
If any Bowie fans missed out on the crowd on Friday night, don’t worry: The pieces will be on display until next Sunday, and are still available for purchase.
Thru Feb 14. Tues–Thurs, 11–7; Fri & Sat, 11–midnight; Sun, 11–6. Free. Insomnia Video Game Culture, 724 W. 19th St. 281-440-1405.