Here's to you Mr. Bowie

Pat Bowen
Pat Bowenposted on on January 11, 2016

What I learned because of David Bowie

I was never a huge David Bowie fan. By that I mean I rarely sought out his albums to play, or went to iTunes or Spotify specifically to listen to some Bowie. I always had a tremendous amount of respect for his music and whenever a Bowie song would pop up on a Pandora station I would think to myself "I should listen to more Bowie", but that was about it. I did, however, learn a tremendous life lesson because of David Bowie.

In the fall of my freshman year of college on a snowy night I drove from East Lansing to the east side of the state to join a friend whose aunt (he was living with her while in school) was throwing a David Bowie themed party for her friends. My friend thought it would be an interesting event, so he invited a few friends to join him and watch the 40 and 50 somethings "get down". We hung out in his basement bedroom and listened to our version of rebellion (some pop punk). At some point I ventured out of the basement and meandered upstairs. As I walked through the living room (AKA the Baby Boomer Bowie Boogie Room) I quite literally ran into a "slightly" inebriated man who proceeded to tell me the music we were listening to was garbage. As a young independent thinker (AKA loudmouthed idiot) I decided to take this man up on his challenge that Bowie's music was worth having a party for (I now realize my incredible stupidity). After several minutes of discussion (and a bit of close talking) the man came to a point that I could not argue with and one that has stuck with me.

"...whats the point of doing something if you aren't going to do it with your full heart and full commitment."

He said something to the effect of "Bowie is better because he doesn't care. He doesn't care that he's eccentric and he doesn't care that he's jumped genres. All he cares about is creating art that he believes in. Some people didn't like him and young kids like you might never see it, but whats the point of doing something if you aren't going to do it with your full heart and full commitment."

It stuck with me. For the remainder of my time in college and throughout my career I've come back to that. For the design and creative community it's something that we MUST live by. With every client who comes in, with every project that makes its way to our desk we need to think that way. Our community is better when we utilize our differences and our eccentricity to create beautiful work that we believe in. Sure there are times when elements must be toned down or held back, but if we ever lose the passion to work with our full heart and full commitment we lose something that makes art, design, and communication so great... unique and compelling deliverables.

So here's to you wise man who spoke wisdom to me and more importantly here's to you Starman. Thank you for your creativity. Thank you for your commitment to excellence and your drive to do what you believed in regardless of temporary criticism. Your body of work speaks volumes more than that.