David Bowie – The Inspiration of a Creative Mind

david-bowie-floral

David Bowie’s ‘cut-up’ method of writing lyrics.

David Bowie will be remembered for his music, being a singer, a songwriter, musician, record producer, painter, actor. For me, it was his dedication to creating art and for being avant-garde artist who has already impacted several generations and created new genres of fashion, music, and culture. Bowie almost single-handedly created the category of “art rock” with his application of avant-garde techniques to conventional song structures and rock ‘n’ roll attitudes.

I remember seeing an inspiring video clip of David Bowie describing how he used the “cut-up” technique to write some of his lyrics. I have hunted around and, although I didn’t find the one I was looking for, I found another and I am very happy to share it with you all. (link below).

wikipedia: “The cut-up technique (or découpé in French) is an aleatory literary technique in which a text is cut up and rearranged to create a new text. The concept can be traced to at least the Dadaists of the 1920s, but was popularized in the late 1950s and early 1960s by writer William S. Burroughs, and has since been used in a wide variety of contexts.”   

Bowie further explained his use of cut-ups like this: “You write down a paragraph or two describing different subjects, creating a kind of ‘story ingredients’ list, I suppose, and then cut the sentences into four or five-word sections, mix ‘em up and reconnect them.” The technique allows songwriters, he says, to “get some pretty interesting idea combinations,” even if they “have a craven need not to lose control.”

Here you go, you can try it out here cut-up technique

 collage. How to be creative, watercolours , watercolour. ink. My sketch bok. learn to draw. flowers watercolour flowers. creativity course, How to be creative, watercolours , watercolour. ink. My sketch bok. learn to draw. flowers watercolour flowers. creativity course, How to be creative, watercolours , watercolour. ink. My sketch bok. learn to draw. flowers watercolour flowers. creativity course, How to be creative, watercolours , watercolour. ink. My sketch bok. learn to draw. flowers watercolour flowers. creativity course,  collage How to be creative, watercolours , watercolour. ink. My sketch bok. learn to draw. flowers watercolour flowers. creativity course,I use the cut-up technique a little differently. This is what I do:

  • I have a shoe box full of cuttings.
    • It could be a part of a newspaper, magazine, diary, poetry, short story, novel or any other source of text.
    • You can start your shoebox today. I promise you won’t regret it. in a few months you will open it and go back into a daydream that will bring you to a very happy place. Add to it whenever you get something interesting to add.
  • When you are ready to make a collage, open the shoebox and put all the pieces into a hat and draw them out at random.
  • Arrange the images together and see what message they are giving.
  • Glue them to the page

 

 

You can subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email, or follow on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. 

Share the magic of creativity.

18 thoughts on “David Bowie – The Inspiration of a Creative Mind

  1. Thank you for following my blog–I see that I was already following yours. You do those wonderful sketch journals. How do you manage to do watercolors on the hoof? I’ve kept journals since I was 18 (that would be 57 years!), and I doodle and sketch in mine, but nothing like yours.

    1. Great question – I’m planning do do a blog on this soon.
      I have a small water color kit that sits by the door so that I can grab it as i go out. It consists of a a small water colour box, a little jar with some water and one or two brushes. An old spice jar is the right size and is strong, but check that it is waterproof. You can get brushes with a hollow handle that you fill with water, just squeeze to get the water into the brush, or bring a small jar of water.

  2. Wow! Magny this is such a great post! David Bowie had a wonderful creative mind in many ways he was someone out of this world and left a trace with his creativity! His Avant-garde style was just unique like his spirit! I love the cut-out idea and like you I used to cut-out things I love. Your post explain greately this technique and it can be used in many different ways. Very inspiring Btw I love the photo of David Bowie blended with the flowers that digital portrait it is something I would made 😉 <3

  3. What a treasure your post is for me. I love finding new ideas…new ways to creating. Thank you so much for this great post. I will definitely be trying the technique…will probably blog about…and if you don’t mind will link back to you as the origin of the idea for me. Thanks!

  4. I found it really interesting to be reminded that Bowie used the cut u method (your way and style especially reminds me of the album ”Scary Monsters” who really set the tone for the 80’s!!! One of Bowie finest comeback!! My God Have I listened to this album!! I wrote a post on David Bowie. I think you would like it a lot. https://tobedamit.com/2016/03/04/the-man-who-fell-to-earth-and-sold-the-world/. I just wanted to add (like the fucking know it all intellectual I am!!) that the cut up technique concept can be traced to at least the Dadaists of the 1920s, but was popularized in the late 1950s and early 1960s by writer William S. Burroughs, and has since been used in a very wide variety of contexts. Burroughs used it with films, poetry and even wrote 3 novels using a cut up technique… Of course it was also used with images and drawing. Just wanted you to know so that you could see all the interest things that has been done with it by the people who invented it. My God I feel so boring.. Sowwyyy!! Love your blog!! So very creative and interesting!! I stumbled unto your Art design and then I couldn’t come back because I couldn’t find it anymore!! Could you link me plz?? TY so much for your time!

  5. PS: The video about Bowie using cut ups was most probably about the making of the clip for the song ”Ashes to ashes”. BTW Bowie took all this from Burroughs for sure. They were very good friends. Everyone loved the old Godfather of the Beat generation William Seward Burroughs who really popularized the cut up technique for creating poems and all sorts of literature and art form.. Here’s a little machine you can use to create cut ups with words… Ot also has a pretty succinct story of the cut methods. http://www.languageisavirus.com/cutupmachine.html#.V_z4vfnhBy8

    God I really am such a nerd!!!

    1. oh Wow, how cool. Thank you for the details it is very interesting and it makes me want to know more. I will definitely try out the cutupmachine and I will add it to the post.

Comments are closed.