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There has been a long standing community desire to recognise David Bowie’s connection with Beckenham. Bowie lived in Beckenham for five years in his early twenties. During his time in Beckenham Bowie created Major Tom, he is said to have thought of the lyrics of Space Oddity whilst sitting on the 54 bus to Lewisham going down Beckenham High Street. Bowie and friends set up the Beckenham Arts Lab, which performed in the Three Tuns pub (now Zizzi’s). The Beckenham Arts Lab held the legendary 1969 one-day free festival in Croydon Road Recreation Ground. This project will commission a piece of public art to celebrate Bowie’s connection with Beckenham and to specifically recognise Bowie as he was when he lived in Beckenham. The artwork and installation will be innovative and unique, a statement piece in pride of place in the town. We are working with local artist Dan Pearce to create an iconic image with movement and light that will be installed on a building wall.
What we'll deliver:
Why it's a great idea:
This project will enhance the cultural heritage of Beckenham and celebrate Bowie’s Beckenham. Hosting this piece of public art will put Beckenham on the map and deliver increased civic pride. It will offer Bowie fans from far and wide pay an opportunity to pay homage to his memory through this piece of public art celebrating his roots in Beckenham where Ziggy Stardust was created. The project will design and install an innovative and unique piece of public art that will improve the local environment. It will make the town centre a more attractive place for residents, business and visitors. Increased footfall that will boost the local economy is anticipated. It may also attract other investors or buyers to the area, further increasing area quality and site values. The project will compliment the TfL Public Realm Improvement Scheme currently underway.
Steps to get it done:
We want this project to be aspirational and to deliver cutting edge large-scale public art on a perfectly executed small scale. Public Art Installations in airports and large public buildings have been the inspiration of this project…. The mantra of this project is “think big and scale down”. Two installation mediums have been researched and costed. Lenticular - two images of Bowie, as you walk past the installation the images move from one to the other (similar to the moving image bookmarks popular for children in 70’s and 80’s). Sequin disks - An image of Bowie is created by hanging many small round pre-printed round disks to the wall. This gives a unique shimmering effect. A detailed site survey and installation study must now be undertaken to determine the most appropriate medium for the site. The final artwork design will be shared once agreed with the local community and Council.
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