David Bowie: The most influential British artist of the last 50 years


August 12, 2022

David Bowie's debut will be celebrated with the unveiling of a unique portrait of him made from more than 8,500 guitar pence.
David Bowie has been named Britain's most influential artist of the past 50 years, according to a new poll, which confirms his influence on music, film and fashion.


The legendary singer has topped a new Sky Arts poll of the UK's 50 most influential artists, beating 12 Years A Slave Oscar-winning director Steve McQueen and its screenwriter series "It's A Sin", Russell T Davies.

Other musicians on the list include Stormzy, Elton John, the Spice Girls and Boy George, as well as Steve Coogan and Michaela Coel. Also on the list is Skin, lead singer of the rock band Skunk Anansie, who became the first black headliner of the 'Glastonbury' festival in 1999.

Top comedians on the list include the legendary Victoria Wood and Ricky Gervais.


Radio presenter and DJ Lauren Laverne, who chaired the judging panel, said: “It was an honor to be selected to be part of this judging panel for Sky Arts, and working with such a distinguished group of judges, I knew the discussions it would be exciting for them and it was".

"The judges put so much time and care into their scoring to ensure that the Top 50, Top 20 and Top 10 lists truly include the best of the best in terms of influence, and the final list includes artists who deserve to be in these positions", he emphasized.

"Having David Bowie come out on top was the icing on the cake of a great judging process and it was great to be a part of it," he said.


David Bowie's debut will be celebrated with the unveiling of a one-of-a-kind portrait of him made from more than 8,500 guitar pins, each cut into a different shape that symbolizes Bowie's far-reaching cultural impact.

Artist Joe Black, who created the two-metre high work, commented: "This portrait was created to celebrate David Bowie's emergence as the most influential artist of the last 50 years."

“His visual presentation had a huge impact on all the arts worldwide. The idea was to use thousands of specially designed pens, with each design representing one of the five artistic areas of Bowie's creative life and influence – music, film, fashion, literature and art,” he explained.

"Bowie was unconventional and a global icon who ushered in a new era in popular culture," he added.