david bowie painting by Elizabeth Peyton / sfgirlbybay

David Bowie (2012) by artist Elizabeth Peyton.

so much will be said about the life and death of david bowie in the next few days, even years, decades to come. i haven’t been able to stop thinking of him since i heard the sadly unexpected news on the car radio monday morning. i was so shocked i drove directly to my local coffee shop because i felt the need to be around people all of a sudden. and as i walked in the door, his music played on the cafe speakers and i felt instantly solaced. he was an icon to so many of us — those of us who felt like outsiders or at all awkward growing up — when unique or eccentric wasn’t exactly cool; and to the countless musicians, he most definitely inspired. he meant a lot of different things to many different people. heck, he was a lot of different people, all rolled into one very gentlemanly genius of a man. for me, he was a hero i expected to be around forever. in fact, just last friday on his 69th birthday when a song of his came on my playlist, i actually thought to myself, “i wonder what the world will be like when people like him, that i grew up with, are no longer here?”. i’m not entirely sure — we’ll move on, of course, but i think we’ll miss his grace, his comforting and inspiring omnipresence. one of the very first albums i purchased by myself was david bowie’s 1975 release of Young Americans. i remember clearly i worked at h.salt fish ‘n chips and i saved up for it. i went to licorice pizza records on topanga canyon and bought it one day after school. and then i listened to it nonstop.

final photograph of david bowie by jimmy king / sfgirlbybay

the last photographs taken of david bowie by jim king on his 69th birthday last week, looking so handsome and vibrant (above + below).

later on in the eighties, his let’s dance album was played nonstop as well (probably on 8track!). i saw him play his serious moonlight tour live at angel stadium with the gogo’s and it was pure magic. i can remember my ridiculous outfit down to a T, and the cropped suit jacket and fedora i wore in his honor. anyway, it’s funny how these memories stay with you and what you think about when you lose an artist you admired so much. he inspired me in so many ways — from fashion to music, to simply taking the path less expected, less traveled, and i just wanted to share my memories of him, and invite you to share a few of your own if you like. we’ll miss you mister bowie. you left us too soon, but in a manner full of grace and style, and i wouldn’t have expected anything less from you.

photo of david bowie on his 69th birthday taken by jimmy king / sfgirlbybay