Bowie in top spot as 50 of most influential British artist of the past 50 years is revealed

Britain's 50 most influential artists of the past 50 years have been revealed in a new list compiled by a panel of experts from across the arts industry.

Artist Joe Black adds the finishing touches to a portrait of David Bowie made from over 8,500 guitar plectrums, commissioned by Sky Arts to celebrate Bowie topping a new definitive list of Britain's 50 most influential artists of the past 50 years
Artist Joe Black adds the finishing touches to a portrait of David Bowie made from over 8,500 guitar plectrums, commissioned by Sky Arts to celebrate Bowie topping a new definitive list of Britain's 50 most influential artists of the past 50 years

Musician David Bowie landed the number one spot, in a list that also features artist Banksy, 90s pop sensation the Spice Girls and director, screenwriter and actress Michaela Coel.

A team of expert judges across music, film and TV, performing arts, literature and visual art 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.

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The 15-person judging panel, led by DJ, presenter and author Lauren Laverne, included MOBO Awards founder Kanya King CBE, acclaimed writer Bonnie Greer, film critic, Ali Plumb and esteemed theatre critic Lyn Gardner.

Bowie was named most influential by judges as they commended his influence across the industry and ability to transcend a variety of mediums including music, film and fashion.

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To celebrate David Bowie topping the list, 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.

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

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Britain's top 10 most influential artists of the last 50 years are:

David Bowie – prolific songwriter, performer and actor, known for songs including Heroes, Life on Mars and Space Oddity

Sir Steve McQueen CBE – award-winning film and TV director, producer, writer and artist whose work includes 12 Years a Slave and Small Axe in film and Year 3 in art

Russell T Davies OBE – TV screenwriter and producer, known for bringing Doctor Who to the masses and penning award-winning series It’s A Sin

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Dame Vivienne Westwood – iconic fashion designer and pioneer of British punk culture since the 1970s

Caryl Churchill – leading playwright of more than 30 plays including Top Girls, Cloud 9, and Far Away

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Michael Clark – Scottish dancer and choreographer who commissions for major international dance companies

Angela Carter – feminist powerhouse, writer of The Bloody Chamber, Nights at the Circus and Wise Children

Stormzy – multi-award winning rapper and political activist, known for songs including Shut Up, Vossi Bop and Big For Your Boots

Muriel Spark – acclaimed novelist known for works including The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie and Memento Mori

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Michaela Coel – multi-award-winning actress, writer and director known for Chewing Gum and I May Destroy You

The artwork, standing at six-and-a-half feet tall, has been made using 8,610 individually placed guitar plectrums.

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The final result is a portrait of Bowie that will be donated by Sky Arts to a school in Bowie’s hometown of Brixton, celebrating the new generation of young artists who will be inspired by the musical legend.

Joe is renowned for his portrait and abstract work. He said: “This portrait was created to celebrate David Bowie being named the most influential artist of the past 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.