London-based artist Jimmy C didn’t anticipate the winter he was going to have when he headed off home for an Australian Christmas, he didn’t give too much thought to the David Bowie piece he painted on a wall in Brixton back in 2013. Jimmy painted the piece back when the V&A Bowie exhibition was opening, that and a Many Faces of Bowie exhibition focusing on the Thin White Duke that opened at Opera Gallery around the same time, a show that featured a piece by Jimmy C alongside artists such as Paul Alexis, Joe Black, C215, Lita Cabellut, Nick Gentry, Eduardo Guelfenbein, David Mach. So Jimmy painted his piece in Brixton, people loved it, Bowie was from Brixton of course, word is Bowie liked it, people would take photos, you’d see the image pop up on line from time to time, posted on social media by Bowie fans, street art art fans, the piece was loved, but Jimmy C wasn’t giving the painting much thought as he headed back home for some Christmas sunshine.
Fast forward to January 2016 and the sudden announcement, without warning or hint, of the sad passing of David Bowie, the overnight news took everyone by surprise as radios, TVs and social media outlets were turned on with the first coffee of the day. London woke up to the shock news that David Bowie had died. And as the morning evolved and the news spread the Brixton mural became a a place of focus, a place for people to pay respect. People started to leave flowers, and by default, under the saddest of circumstances an artist became the almost accidental centre of the world’s attention. Throughout the day the flowers and tributes built up at the foot of the painting, images started appearing on-line and via the print media, film crews, news teams, all over the globe… Jimmy was out-of-town, he started getting a hint of what was happening in London, his painting was suddenly all over the front pages of national news papers in London, New York, Sydney. News teams tracked him down, he made the Australian TV news, the front page of The London Times, that night there were thousands of people around the painting, next day the painting was seemingly on every front page on every news stand…
We spoke to Jimmy about prints of his work last year, just out of curiosity, why did he not do prints? it kind of seemed obvious for him to be making them? Street art is big business these days. Jimmy told us he wasn’t a fan of prints, he saw his work, both his canvas pieces and the pieces he paints on the street as one-off pieces, prints weren’t something that excited him. He’s sold paintings all over the world, the demand for prints was obviously there, he’d only ever done one print and he really wasn’t that thrilled with it, Jimmy C is about one off pieces of work. The Bowie thing has almost forced his hand though. One of the unfortunate results of the focus on the piece of art has been the resulting substandard unofficial pirated prints, t-shirts, mugs and more, people blatantly ripping his art off, cashing in and cashing in with some pretty shoddy knock offs, the poor quality was bothering him (as was the copyright issue).. An annoying situation that has now “motivated” Jimmy C to react with a high quality official print of his own, along with a donation of a percentage of the proceeds going to cancer charities (Bowie death was a result of cancer).