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Blackstar Sleeve Contains Secrets Not Even Known By Bowie
Christian Eede , January 11th, 2017 16:00

Sleeve designer says that the album artwork has some hidden features not even known by Bowie himself

Jonathan Barnbrook, the designer of the artwork and sleeve for David Bowie's Blackstar album has spoken further about the secrets hidden within copies of the album, revealing that some were not even known by Bowie himself.

As NME reports, Barnbrook spoke at the V&A over the weekend as part of a special event marking what would have been Bowie's birthday, and told those attending why he had decided to be more secretive about his creative process. Having had a disagreement with Bowie over releasing the rough designs for his penultimate album, The Next Day, as part of the 'David Bowie Is' exhibition, Barnbrook decided to remain more secretive about his work on Blackstar.

"[David] phoned me up and said ‘you didn’t ask me about putting the roughs in the exhibition’," Barnbrook said. "I said ‘I thought it would help people understand how we got to it’, and he said ‘I’m not telling you off, but the final outcome is affected by you showing the roughs’. I think that’s a very important lesson that I learned. If the end product isn’t an immaculate finished thing, then you change the meaning – that’s why for Blackstar, I haven’t shared everything."

He further revealed that the pair discussed not immediately revealing all aspects of the album's art direction from the start of their work together on it, and said that Bowie hadn't specifically requested that he fill the artwork with secrets, and therefore did not know about some of them himself. A number of secrets hidden within the artwork have already been discovered, including the finding that if you expose the artwork to blacklight, it will change to a fluorescent blue colour.

An EP, entitled No Plan, featuring a number of songs from Bowie's musical Lazarus was released on Sunday to mark what would have been his 70th birthday. You can watch a video clip for the title track below.

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