Iconic Bowie album cover artist remembers pub trips with straightforward, unpretentious future star
- Credit: Archant
The artist who helped create two of the most iconic David Bowie album covers has paid tribute to the influential musician.
Terry Pastor, who now lives in Lavenham, took the black and white photos destined for the sleeves of Hunky Dory and The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars and colourised them in his studio.
The opportunity to work on the covers came when an artist friend of Mr Pastor’s, who had worked on previous Bowie products, asked if he’d like to have a go at Hunky Dory because it was not really his style.
For Ziggy Stardust around a week of work went into hand-colouring and tweaking the photograph of Bowie in Heddon Street, London which was to adorn the front of the album.
A certain amount of artistic license was allowed, with the turquoise jumpsuit worn by the singer actually being green in real life and his hair made more yellow, making the figure stand out more against the darker surroundings.
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Despite their fame now Mr Pastor said he felt no pressure in doing them because at the time Bowie was not the famous name he later became.
“They were just two covers I just did,” Mr Pastor, aged 69, said. “Now they are iconic and they have become inextricably involved with the albums.
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“At the time they were not anything I considered particularly special. I think Bowie would probably say the same thing, he didn’t know if they were going to be hits or not.
“Ziggy Stardust was a make or break thing for him.”
Much like Bowie’s own far-out and instantly recognisable look, Mr Pastor said he was given the freedom to do what he liked with that album’s cover.
He said record companies would accept pretty much anything without the fear of having to be influenced by finances, taking the attitude of “you’re the artist, we’ll leave it up to you”.
“You could be fairly experimental and not too fixed, having something being driven by directors,” he said. “I wasn’t really given any pressure anywhere. That was great for an artist.”
The photograph from which Mr Pastor worked was taken on a cold, damp night and was actually part of a shoot which had mostly been inside.
However an outdoors shot was suggested by photographer Brian Ward and once Bowie’s band mates had decided it was not the sort of night they wanted to be standing outside the frontman was left on his own to pose for the camera.
Of the man himself, Mr Pastor said: “When I met him he wasn’t a big star but he struck me as a guy who knew exactly where he was going.
“He was very straightforward and unpretentious. It’s just one of those things, you think it’s amazing how some of these people get to where they want to go.
“It’s very hard for anyone to establish themselves the way he did.”
Mr Pastor also spoke about visiting the studio where Bowie was recording at the time he was creating the album cover.
Drinking in a nearby pub with him he remembers the complete lack of interest in the musician from the public – until the success of Ziggy Stardust he was not really that well know, he said.
Mr Pastor did not see Bowie following his work on the album, but did visit the location of the photograph in Heddon Street in 2012 when a plaque was unveiled there to the rocker’s fictional alter-ego.
Although Mr Pastor said he has never been asked to work anything like the Bowie album covers since he is still working and an artist and print maker. His website is www.terrypastor.co.uk.