This season Pretty Green have had the pleasure of working with the legendary Rock and Roll photographer Mick Rock on a range of limited edition T-shirts developed from Mick’s iconic photographs of David Bowie. Mick Rock (born 1948 in London, England) is a renowned British photographer who has created iconic shots of rock and roll legends such as Queen, David Bowie, Syd Barrett, Lou Reed, Iggy Pop and The Stooges, The Sex Pistols, The Ramones, Joan Jett, Talking Heads, Roxy Music, Thin Lizzy, Mötley Crüe, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and Blondie.
The photos used for this collaboration were taken in 1973 and are a mixture of performance images and those taken from the iconic saxophone session which formed part of the artwork he art directed for the ‘Pin Ups’ album. At the time Bowie’s experimentation with makeup, mime and outrageous costumes were revolutionary. They were like nothing ever seen before and inspired a whole new generation of rebels.
“This design is basically the art that I produced in early 1990. Based on an image from the now classic saxophone session. The artwork was inspired by the famous Andy Warhol multiple overlapping Elvis Presley holding a gun art piece, always one of my favourite Warhols.”
“The photo was taken during one of the last shows of David’s first ever US Tour in December 1972. It is also featured in the live footage sections of the music video for ‘Jean Genie” (which I directed!). It’s one of my fave Ziggy jackets. I never knew who designed it. During the 21 months that I shot him as Ziggy Stardust from early March 1972 at Birmingham Town Hall to late October 1973 during his Midnight Special ‘1980 Floor Show’, he wore 74 different outfits by my estimation.”
SPIDERS FROM MARS
The original shot was taken on the very last Ziggy Stardust tour. UK, June 1973. The costume was made by his favourite Japanese costume designer Kansai Yamamoto. It looks like there are tears running down his right cheek on the original photo, although it’s hard to determine here because of the repeat effect on the tee design. In reality, it’s sweat! In the late 80’s I started to play around with some of my photos, and put the original into a sepia line effect. The design of this tee is based on the photo art.
“The shot is from the saxophone session that I produced, images for the back cover and inside sleeve of the ‘Pinups’ album package, shot in August 1973. I was also the art director of the package. The saxophone was significant for David, because it was his first instrument. His mother bought him one when he was 13.”
“The art for this is based on a photo of mine taken in the UK in the summer of 1973. Again, the costume was designed by Japanese designer Kansai Yamamoto. There is a lot of Japanese printed writing on the costume. None of us, including David, knew what it said. But many years later we found out that part of the writing on it actually says ‘David Bowie’”
WATCH THE INTERVIEW
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Mick has recently launched a new paperback version of his ‘EXPOSED’ book. A definitive collection of photographs from the acclaimed rock photographer with personal recollections of all the best known musicians spanning Mick Rock’s 40-year career. Mick has signed a limited number of ‘EXPOSED’ books especially for Pretty Green. These are one of a kind and an extremely special collectors item. Books are priced at £20.