Tag Archives: Tribute

Sir Joe Works’ personal homages to artists and special people!

Mixed Media Collage: A Portrait Of David Bowie

David Bowie Portrait Collage
The Ziggy Stardust tribute poster.

This illustration portraits Mr. David Jones (a.k.a. David Bowie) at the time he was performing as Ziggy Stardust. The poster design was created as a collage of many different pieces of vintage paper from old newspapers and magazines with articles about Bowie. Some nice textures and decorations were found on books and all sorts of collectible ephemera as well.
David Bowie once stated: «I’m a collector. I always just seemed to collect personalities, and ideas. I have a hotchpotch philosophy which is very minimal». He used this archive of ideas and personalities as a toolbox to create characters and alter egos to play on stage: «I was a character when I performed all those albums, and I carried the character into interviews, newspapers, on stage, off stage – whenever there was media around I had to keep those characters concrete. The fabric of my work is using my body, my personality as well as my songs and stage performance, rather than a canvas».

The character of Ziggy Stardust is a perfect example of such holistic creational process. It was designed as a collage of various elements from Bowie’s cultural palette, mixing together his collected items: Iggy Pop and The Stooges, Lou Reed and The Velvet Underground, The Legendary Stardust Cowboy, model Twiggy (which later appeared on the cover of David Bowie’s Pin Ups), and many more. The idea for the title (and maybe for the name of his band too) of his concept album The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars probably came from an LP recorded by The Rats, former group of Mick Ronson, Trevor Bolder, Mick “Woody” Woodmansey, and John Cambridge (who will all later play with Bowie). The Rats recorded The Rise And Fall Of Bernie Gripplestone And The Rats From Hull in 1967. It was written by John Cambridge: «I had just been to see the film How I Won The War which featured John Lennon and I based the name of Bernie Gripplestone on musketeer Bernard Gripweed – the character played by John Lennon». John Cambridge was the drummer who joined stage with Bowie, Tony Visconti, Mick Ronson, as The Hype, for the Atomic Sunrise festival held at the Roundhouse on Wednesday 11 March 1970. It’s believed that Glam Rock was invented that night. Even Marc Bolan (T-Rex) was there, glued to the front of the stage and probably inspired by the show. Tony Visconty has been pretty clear about that event: «For me this will always be the very first night of Glam Rock. I didn’t know it at the time, but when we saw photos taken of us by Ray Stevenson , Marc Bolan was visible resting his head on his arms on the edge of the stage, taking it all in, Bolan never admitted he even went to the gig!».

But the main inspiration for Ziggy Stardust was certainly rock ‘n’ roll dark legend Vince Taylor, a wild stage animal that, by mid 60s, was already on the downside path of his musical career as an acid casualty. It was around this time that Bowie met Taylor (who had took his name “Vince” from Elvis Presley’s character “Vince Everett” in Jailhouse Rock and “Taylor” from actor Robert Taylor, even though other accounts say he got the name from the Latin phrase In Hoc Signo Vinces on Pall Mall cigarette pack) at the La Gioconda club in London. David Bowie recalls Vince Taylor telling him he was a god or an alien or probably a bit of both. Some of the features of This fading rock ‘n’ roll star who went crazy under a diet of amphetamines and LSD, claiming to be an alien god, were later injected inside Ziggy Stardust, who was going to be, indeed, another rock star messiah.
Ziggy and Vince had many things in common, starting with the make-up (and ending with self-destruction). You can picture Bowie thinking about the rise and fall of Vince Taylor, a leather messiah who ended up in a rock ‘n’ roll suicide. A composite rocker who quickly blended into his alter ego, melting in his own confusion.
There is an interview where Vince Taylor (whose real name was Brian Maurice Holden) says: «I’m a normal person. On the stage… My stage is an act». Just like Bowie and Ziggy. But sometimes boundaries between fictional and real can dangerously blur together. As Bowie once said: «I don’t know if I’m writing the characters or the characters are writing me».
Curiously, the name Ziggy came from a London tailor’s shop, called “Ziggy’s”, that Bowie saw from a train one day.

The collection of different pieces that Bowie used to create his own artwork was the inspiration for this mixed media illustration, a portrait made of paper clippings. Recycling old elements in something new, something with a different cut is also related to the cut-up technique. A technique that David Bowie used to write some of his songs, something he had borrowed from William S. Burroughs and Brion Gysin. But I will leave this for a new post!

Check out my other illustrations and posters dedicated to Bowie:

Fuerza México!

Fuerza México!
Seismometer drawings.

On the morning of 19 September 1985, a violent earthquake struck Mexico City, killing thousands of people and toppling dozens of buildings. Yesterday, on the exactly same day, 32 years later, another devastating terremoto shocked central Mexico and its capital.

This illustration is my tribute to all the victims, to Mexico, and to the noble soul of its people. Millions of people who have immediately provided help and support to the population, the greatest treasure of this country.

Jerry Lewis: A Nutty Portrait

Jerry Lewis: Nutty Portrait
All he gave them was a smile.

Here goes my tribute to the great comedian Jerry Lewis, inspired by his characters’ accessories: a pair of black nerd glasses, and fake teeth. It’s just a minimalist raw drawing on a rough vintage paper, embellished with a famous signature.

«Just think about all the time you’re going to have to spend with you. And if you don’t think too much of yourself, how do you expect others to?»
[Prof. Julius Kelp – The Nutty Professor, 1963]

Goodbye Fantozzi

Fantozzi's Cloud
Ninety-two minutes of applause.

Paolo Villaggio, the legendary Italian comedian creator of characters such as Professor Krantz, Giandomenico Fracchia, and Ugo Fantozzi, passed away at the age of 84. As most of the geniuses and smart people, he was also cynical and misunderstood. Fantozzi’s clerk cloud perfectly symbolize his attitude, which was also someway melancholic. That’s why I decided to represent it with this illustration, my tribute to Paolo Villaggio. During an interview, while talking about his memories of Italy’s Liberation Day, at the end of Nazi occupation of the country during World War II, he stated: «That morning of April 25th was a wonderful sunny day. Look, at that time there was an important thing that perhaps your generation does not remember: there was no pollution. That is, there was war, but there was a wonderful sea odor. Then in Liguria there was the smell of Pittosporum, an aristocratic odor, a mirage of perfume».

Three months ago, on April of this year, Piero Gatti, one of the Italian designers that introduced Sacco in 1968, the bean bag chair, died in Tuscany. The modern and uncomfortable design of the chair was part of one of the most classic Fantozzi and Fracchia sketches.

Someone says Fantozzi’s character is the most important satirical invention of the second half of 20th century.
While shooting the movie Fantozzi Alla Riscossa in 1990, Villaggio released an interview where he made a prediction about his death: «Many ask me: “Are you still doing Fantozzi?”. Sure, more than ever! Now, with the necessary distances, Totò has made Totò all his life. And they did not ask him, “Totò, are you still doing Totò?”. What did you want him to do? It was formidable in its genre. Fantozzi has become a bit of a character. And in Italy the glory in life is not recognized, but I assure you that after death I will be glorified. And Fantozzi is a great character»!

Escorpión Dorado Fan Art

Tributo al Escorpión Dorado
Fetish folk art from Mexico.

This artwork is a tribute to Mexican god El Escorpión Dorado (The Golden Scorpion), a character created by Alex Montiel, a youtuber based in Mexico City. He plays the role of a funny hater with a silly voice and a mask inspired by the lucha libre wrestlers. He also has a battle cry: “peluche en el estuche” (something like “fur in the case”) and a bunch of followers he calls súbditos!

The illustration was another experiment related to the vintage crossover project. It could be nice as a promotional poster. By the way, El Escorpión Dorado is even trying to hack the local elections by getting people to vote for him!

A Portrait Of Totò

A Portrait Of Totò
My illustrated tribute to The Prince Of Laughter.

This illustration is a work in progress that I’m making as a tribute to the legendary prince Antonio De Curtis, born Antonio Clemente in Naples, Italy, and known as Totò. He was not only a comedian, actor, writer, singer and songwriter, he was a genius. Unfortunately, Il Principe Della Risata (The Prince Of Laughter) passed away fifty years ago, on April 15, 1967. Someone said that you can’t understand Italian culture if you don’t know Totò.

An interviewer once asked him about his book of poetry and if he was also a writer, beside being a comedian and an actor. He replied: «I’m not a writer. I’m Neapolitan. All Neapolitans have writing inside of them. All Neapolitans are a bit poets!».

Italian Composers Of Music Scores: Poster Design

Once Upon A Time In Italy
A tribute to Italy’s golden era of film production.

I’ve recently come across this poster design I was working on a few years ago. It’s a preview made for a film festival dedicated to famous Italian composers of music scores, the old vintage Spaghetti Western movies above all. In this first version of the poster you can see portraits of Piero Umiliani, composer of the famous soundtrack Mah Nà Mah Nà (1968) popularized by The Muppets; the skilled whistler Alessandro Alessandroni; and Ennio Morricone, composer of hundreds of scores, including the well known Spaghetti Western movies directed by Sergio Leone, such as A Fistful of Dollars (1964), For a Few Dollars More (1965), The Good, The Bad And The Ugly (1966), known as the “Dollars Trilogy”, and Once Upon A Time In The West (1968), just to name a few.

For the design of this poster I obviously wanted to catch a bit of the feeling that defined the graphic style during the sixties and seventies. At the time, those exploitation films were quite underrated (like the ones with Italian actor Totò), but then gained popularity through the years and even surged to a cult level. Clint Eastwood rose his fame thanks to this genre of movies and some epic quotes like: «There are two kinds of spurs, my friend. Those that come in by the door; those that come in by the window» or «You see, in this world there’s two kinds of people, my friend: Those with loaded guns and those who dig. You dig»!

A Tribute To Chuck Berry

A Tribute To Chuck Berry
The real King of Rock ‘N’ Roll.

This poster design is one of my tributes to the legendary Chuck Berry (October 18, 1926 – March 18, 2017), rock ‘n’ roll pioneer, and maybe, Mr. Rock ‘n’ roll itself. According to John Lennon: «If you tried to give rock and roll another name, you might call it “Chuck Berry”».
The artwork comes in a minimalist flat design flavor. It’s Chuck Berry’s silhouette performing his classic Duck Walk!

The King of Rock and Roll recorded his first hit, Maybellene, in 1955, the same year he wrote Johnny B. Goode. Less than twenty years earlier, the King of Mississippi Delta Blues Robert Johnson was recording Sweet Home Chicago (1936). A lot of good music was made, during the years between those two recordings, by guys like Joe Turner and Pete Johnson (Roll ‘Em Pete, 1938), Louis Jordan with Carl Hogan (Ain’t That Just Like A Woman 1946), T-Bone Walker (I Got A Break Baby, 1942; Strollin’ With Bones, 1950), just to name a few examples!
I guess their parents weren’t ready for that yet, but the kids loved it!

David Bowie: One Year Later

David Bowie's Heroes Album Cover Remake
Something happened on the day he died.

One year ago today, as a tribute for David Bowie’s 69th birthday, I made this drawing, a kind of Aladdin Sane album cover remake. A couple of days later, following the inspirational flow, I posted a vintage-style-Sci-Fi illustration, along with an esoteric text with multiple-layers of meaning, obviously related to David. It was the 10th of January. Shortly after that, my internet connection went down for the next two days. When I found out that he had passed away, that post turned to be a creepy coincidence. Something like a Nostradamus obscure prophecy. And there is even more, but I will leave it like this.
Something really happened on the day he died, but even some days before.

Happy birthday David! (I hope you have received that present from Syd that I had for you last year.)