David Bowie tops Sky Arts list of most influential British artists of the last 50 years

David Bowie has landed the number one spot in Sky Arts’ list of most influential British artists of the last 50 years.

The Starman singer, who died at age 69 from cancer in 2016, topped the list beating out the Spice Girls, Stormzy, Elton John and Vivienne Westwood.

The list recognizes renowned artists across five categories: Visual Arts, Literary Arts, Performing Arts, Music, and Film & TV.

Amazing: David Bowie has landed the number one spot in Sky Arts’ list of most influential British artists of the last 50 years

A team of expert judges across the categories were challenged to create the list by TV channel Sky Arts in a celebration of British artists past and present and their influence on global culture.

Lauren Laverne chaired the panel of 15 judges and was joined by MOBOs founder Kanya King CBE, acclaimed writer Bonnie Greer and film critic Ali Plumb.

To celebrate David Bowie’s top spot, Sky Arts commissioned Joe Black, a critically acclaimed mixed media artist from London, to create a unique artwork of the legendary musician using guitar plectrums.

Wow: The Starman singer, who died at age 69 from cancer in 2016, topped the list beating out the Spice Girls (number 47), Stormzy (8), Elton John (35) and Vivienne Westwood (4).

Wow: The Starman singer, who died at age 69 from cancer in 2016, topped the list beating out the Spice Girls (number 47), Stormzy (8), Elton John (35) and Vivienne Westwood (4).

Stormzy arrived at number 8 on the list following a stellar few years of success in music

Stormzy arrived at number 8 on the list following a stellar few years of success in music

The artwork, standing at a mammoth 2m tall, has been made using 8,610 individually placed guitar plectrums.

Each plectrum features a cut out shape to symbolize all the artistic disciplines Bowie influenced, from music and film to art, performance and poetry.

The final artwork is a portrait of Bowie that will be donated to a school in the stars home town of Brixton, celebrating the new generation of young artists who will be inspired by the musical legend.

Sensational: The list recognizes renowned artists across five categories: Visual Arts, Literary Arts, Performing Arts, Music, and Film & TV

Sensational: The list recognizes renowned artists across five categories: Visual Arts, Literary Arts, Performing Arts, Music, and Film & TV

Artist Joe said of the campaign: ‘This portrait was created to celebrate David Bowie being named the most influential artist of the last 50 years.

‘His visual representation had a huge impact across all of the arts worldwide. The idea was to use thousands of specially designed plectrums with each design representing one of the five artistic areas of Bowie’s creative life and influences – music, film, fashion, literature and art.

‘Bowie was a maverick and a global icon who initiated a new Bowie era in popular culture.’

Incredible: To celebrate David Bowie top spot, Sky Arts commissioned Joe Black, a critically acclaimed mixed media artist from London, to create a unique artwork of the legendary musician using guitar plectrums

Incredible: To celebrate David Bowie top spot, Sky Arts commissioned Joe Black, a critically acclaimed mixed media artist from London, to create a unique artwork of the legendary musician using guitar plectrums

In second place in the Top 10 list is Sir Steve McQueen CBE, known for both his Oscar-winning direction of 12 Years a Slave, as well as his renowned visual artistry which won him the prestigious Turner Prize in 1999.

The list continues with Russell T Davies OBE, who revived Doctor Who to worldwide acclaim in 2005, and later received a BAFTA nomination for his ground-breaking drama, It’s a Sin.

Fashion powerhouse, Dame Vivienne Westwood, comes third for being the epicenter of punk fashion since the 1970s, followed by writer Caryl Churchill who challenged the norm by bringing unconventional themes into contemporary theatre.

Brilliant: The artwork, standing at a mammoth 2m tall, has been made using 8,610 individually placed guitar plectrums and will be donated to a school in the stars home town of Brixton

Brilliant: The artwork, standing at a mammoth 2m tall, has been made using 8,610 individually placed guitar plectrums and will be donated to a school in the stars home town of Brixton

Beyond the top ten, a variety of acclaimed British artistic talent, past and present, feature in the Top 50 list.

Included in the full list are Ricky Gervais, known for his controversial comedy, as well as Skin, lead vocalist of Skunk Anansie and Glastonbury’s first black British headliner in 1999.

Speaking about leading the judging table to help determine the Top 50 list, Lauren said: ‘I was honored to be chosen to take part in this judging day for Sky Arts, as working with such a respected group of judges I knew their conversations would be fascinating… and they were.

‘The judges took so much time and care with their scoring to ensure the Top 50, Top 20 and Top 10 lists were truly the best of the best in terms of influence, and the final list are artists that are so deserving of their places.

Congratulations!  Landing second place in the list is Sir Steve McQueen CBE, known for his Oscar-winning direction of 12 Years a Slave

Congratulations! Landing second place in the list is Sir Steve McQueen CBE, known for his Oscar-winning direction of 12 Years a Slave

‘David Bowie coming in at number one was the cherry on top of a brilliant judging process, and it was great to be a part of it.’

Phil Edgar-Jones, Director of Sky Arts, said: ‘The influence that these artists have had on their own industries, but also on wider culture is astonishing, and it’s great to see them get this recognition.

“As our number one artist, we wanted to honor David Bowie in a way that would feel fitting to the scale of his influence.

‘The artwork that has been created by Joe Black honors the ways that Bowie’s influence transcends genres, through guitar picks with cut out designs of music, art, stage and screen.’

Making the list: Also included in the full list at number 19 is Ricky Gervais for his controversial comedy

Making the list: Also included in the full list at number 19 is Ricky Gervais for his controversial comedy

The Sky Arts Top 50

1. David Bowie

2. Sir Steve McQueen

3. Russell T Davies

4. Vivienne Westwood

5. Caryl Churchill

6. Michael Clark

7. Angela Carter

8. Stormzy

9. Muriel Spark

10. Michaela Coel

11. Andrea Levy

12. Jenny Sealey

13. Alan Hollinghurst

14. Siouxsie Sioux

15. Yinka Shonibare

16. Sonia Boyce

17. Akram Khan

18. Linder

19. Ricky Gervais

20. Skin (Skunk Anansie)

21. Ali Smith

22. Ridley Scott

23. Soul II Soul

24. Harold Pinter

25. Christopher Nolan

26. Bernardine Evaristo

27. Sarah Kane

28. Sade

29. Simon McBurney

30. Lynette Yiadom-Boakye

31. Alexander McQueen

32. Punchdrunk

33. Steve Coogan

34. Banksy

35. Elton John

36. Penelope Fitzgerald

37. Black Audio Film Collective

38. Mike Leigh

39. Victoria Wood

40. Emma Rice

41. Tracey Emin

42. The Specials

43. Sarah Waters

44. Zadie Smith

45. Boy George

46. ​​Chris Ofili

47. The Spice Girls

48. Kae Tempest

49. Debbie Tucker Green

50. Alfred Hitchcock

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