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The David Bowie Archive
Courtesy of The David Bowie Archive

Create your own Bowie persona to celebrate 50 years of Ziggy Stardust

Adobe has released a set of David Bowie-inspired tools, encouraging fans to freely explore their identities to coincide with the Starman’s anniversary

Ziggy Stardust needs no introduction. Devised in the early 70s, David Bowie’s first – and most famous – stage persona is instantly recognisable by his flame-red mullet, space-age make-up, and outfits that crossed sci-fi dystopias with Japanese kabuki theatre and the androgyny of glam rock. In fact, it’s arguably the alien rockstar’s striking visuals, as much as his music with The Spiders From Mars, that secured his lasting cultural legacy, which continues to this day.

In 2022, more than ever, Bowie’s uncompromising approach to self-expression and sexual fluidity in the Ziggy era feels particularly relevant, reflected in an emerging virtual world where shape-shifting avatars and alter egos reign supreme. This June, many fans will also mark the 50th anniversary of the character’s debut on the eponymous concept album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, further highlighting the Bowie’s visionary work in the spheres of music, fashion, and visual art.

To coincide with these celebrations, Adobe is releasing a new pack of Bowie-themed digital tools across its Creative Cloud apps, in collaboration with Bowie75, as the latest iteration of its ongoing initiative to bring to life historic tools from artists that have changed the world, and place them in the hands of modern creators. First launched with a digital recreation of Edvard Munch’s paint brushes, this project has also seen Adobe revive the lost typography of Bauhaus Dessau, and was last seen in 2020, with the release of a vast array of brushes inspired by the legendary 1980s New York artist, Keith Haring.

The Bowie-themed collection will include digital tools such as textures, patterns, and stickers featuring some of the most iconic Ziggy Stardust imagery, including the gold “astral sphere” that adorned Ziggy’s forehead, and psychedelic patterns that could have been lifted from designs by his go-to style icon, Kansai Yamamoto – plus the famed red-and-blue lightning bolt from Aladdin Sane. Also including more creator-oriented tools, such as one-off paintbrushes, palettes, and textures, the Adobe x Bowie collection offers fans a chance to tap into Bowie’s trailblazing creativity and self-expression, and to experiment with their own out-of-this-world looks. 

The tools – which feature over 150 new graphics, colour swatches, vectors, patterns, and stickers – are available throughout Adobe Creative Cloud for Photoshop, Illustrator, Fresco, Substance, and Adobe Express users worldwide. They also include a range of make-up brushes named after some of Bowie’s biggest hits, such as “Ashes”, “Changes”, “Major Tom”, and “Queen Bish”.

For budding creatives who are looking for even more inspiration amid the anniversary celebrations, Adobe will be opening up the vibrant environment that spawned Ziggy Stardust. On July 1, as part of Adobe’s acceleration of the Future of Creativity and exploration of new, immersive worlds, Adobe is launching Bowie’s Dressing Room, a virtual rendition of the musician’s London dressing room, where Bowie invented, and dressed, the persona five decades ago.

Fancy exploring new modes of self-expression? Take a look at Adobe’s new tools for constructing your own alter ego, and share your own Bowie inspired persona on social media using the #AdobexBowie hashtag.