When David Bowie passed away, anyone with a heart felt it break a little. He influenced fashion, music, culture and philanthropy in profound and important ways, and his passing left a massive hole in the universe that will never quite be filled.
Longtime Bowie fan and artist Vincent Comparetto was crushed when he heard of the loss, but he has recently decided to do something something impactful to help mitigate the pain. The poster shown above is Comparetto's stunning Bowie tribute poster that he made just after his passing. Comparetto recently aligned with the Pablove Foundation, an organization that helps children with cancer, and is giving 100% of the proceeds from the sale of the poster to the foundation.
The posters are hand-screened by musician Joe Triscari (Space in Time, Dangerous Friends) and are available in a very low edition — 69, to signify Bowie's age when he passed.
We asked Comparetto a few questions about what Bowie meant to him and why he feels an endeavor like this is in line with what he would have wanted.
Westword:Was Bowie always an inspiration?
Vincent Comparetto: I remember “Changes" being the first song that completely resonated with me as a child, particularly the lines, "As they try to change their worlds, are immune to your consultations, they're quite aware of what they're going through.”
It was very much like a punk-rock manifesto, but it was so polite and poetic. He seemed to deliver dissent in a singular way; it didn’t really look or sound like rock and roll to me in the brash sense. It was more stylish and just generally seemed extraterrestrial. I loved everything about his sound and look. He is a genre unto himself.
The poster seems to encompass a few different Bowie eras: Ziggy Stardust in a suit, staring in the Labyrinth ball. Is this by design?
You have a great eye — not sure how many people noticed that. Yes, it’s really fun making a portrait. I generally think of it as a narrative, and you don’t have to follow one image. I pieced together various phases of Bowie so there is no photo quite like that gesture/hair/suit combination. It’s unique, and there are elements from different versions of him, like you noticed. And I loved the idea of him being in the future, as he seemed to be. And there is that whole crystal ball/prophet/Labyrinth nod.
Tell me more about the Pablove Foundation. How did you choose them as a benefactor?
They wrote me back, and it turns out the initial benefactors, whose son died of cancer when he was six, are very much a part of the music industry. Jeff Castelaz and his wife Joan are the founders. They work with photographers and musicians, and their foundation has some amazing programs. It seemed like the perfect fit.
Do you have any personal or family experience with the disease?
Yes, definitely. Numerous family members and numerous friends. I had a friend whose daughter died of cancer, and the experience of witnessing him go through that left a lasting impression on me. So I knew I wanted to align specifically with a foundation fighting childhood cancer.
Explain Triscari's role. Have you worked with him before?
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Yes, he’s definitely printed various poster series for me in the past — a film directors' series, a couple of movie tributes. I admire his work ethic. He also comes from the same music scene, (he’s a great musician), and our whole skater, illustrator/artist family is pretty tight, so I can’t imagine reaching outside of it. He is just a master printer.
Why do you feel that this is what Bowie would have wanted?
I can’t imagine keeping the money. He died of cancer, and Iman and he were hugely philanthropic. It made a lot more sense to promote it for a cause beyond me. I am a terrible self-promoter, but tying it to something bigger than me allowed me to to reach out, and I think it also inspired people to want to help. No one really knows who I am, and that’s fine. But maybe they love Bowie or maybe they lost a loved one to cancer. So the narrative is larger than a just some portrait of Bowie. I plan on donating a poster campaign to a different charity every year from now on.