NYC modern artist Jeremy Penn paints the portrait of rock Icon David Bowie. Jeremy Penn's latest work seeks to explore beneath the chameleon exterior and uncover the truth of this iconic 20th century musician. As is so often the case with Penn's work, he tends to focus in on the eyes; and this is certainly the focal point in this painting. Of course, Bowie has remarkable eyes anyway; almost alien in their startling, mismatched disharmony, and Penn wanted to exemplify this; but he wanted to go deeper than that; to get a sense of the man himself.
His bone structure is also absolutely perfect to work with, on an aesthetic level. The almost emaciated high cheekbones, razor sharp nose and slight, cruel curve of the lips all create wonderful lines to work with; which Penn very much wanted to highlight in this painting.
Jeremy Penn selected to depict Bowie staring directly at the viewer; an appraising, nostalgic, almost wearied gaze that burns out of the canvas. Penn wanted to capture that sense of the confrontational; the fearless, experimental spirit that he so often exhibits when performing (and in interviews) but also a sense of deep emotional response; that raw, heartfelt personality that comes out every so often in his music, such as ‘Life on Mars’ and more recently, ‘Where Are We Now’. Searching, soulful, challenging and emotive.
Penn worked in his favored palette of Prussian blues, because in this case, the sombre, weighty gravitas of the color scheme complemented the depth of the portrait; lending Bowie’s face an added sense of timelessness and permanency (to contrast deliberately with his more usual ceaselessly shifting appearance); with a potent orange in the background; raising the portrait into the foreground and rendering it iconic and potent.