The designer felt it was “something that [Bowie] absolutely would have approved of”.
More than a year after the release of David Bowie’s Blackstar new secrets are still being discovered in its artwork. According to the designer there are still surprises to come that not even the singer knew about.
“From the beginning, we discussed not revealing everything. There are certain things about the cover which haven’t been discovered,” designer Jonathan Barnbrook told NME. He explained that Bowie never asked him to include the secrets in the artwork and didn’t know about all of them.
His credits the inspiration to a moment where he and Bowie disagreed during the 2013 exhibit “David Bowie Is”. Barnbrook included rough designs for The Next Day‘s artwork (which appropriated the iconic cover of “Heroes”) in the exhibit, a choice that upset Bowie.
“He phoned me up and said ‘you didn’t ask me about putting the roughs in the exhibition’”, he explained. “I said ‘I thought it would help people understand how we got to it’, and he said ‘I’m not telling you off, but the final outcome is effected by you showing the roughs’.
Barnbrook tells the publication the scolding taught him an essential lesson: “If the end product isn’t an immaculate finished thing, then you change the meaning”. It’s one he took to heart on Blackstar by remaining silent about the many (and still undiscovered) secrets.
“There is something else which I may reveal in future, I may not … We live in a world where everything is verified by going online. People tweet me, and I don’t answer them,” he said. “I think the creative process of putting those elements together and coming up with a reason what the secret message is, actually is something that he absolutely would have approved of.”
Revisit the title track of Bowie’s Blackstar below.