David Bowie played a couple concerts in Memphis back in the early 1970s, during his Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane days. In February of 1973, Bowie played (as Ziggy) alongside his band, the Spiders From Mars. The eyebrowless rocker then hung around town for another day and paid an impromptu visit to Memphis College of Art, where he met longtime teacher and painter Dolph Smith.
Smith engineered the meeting by contacting Cherry Vanilla, Bowie's PR person. The artist presented Bowie with a painting inspired by the song "Major Tom." It shows a vividly-colored landscape and two paper airplanes — a longtime motif in Smith's work.
Smith, now in his eighties, remembers Bowie as unpretentious: "You know performers have a stage presence," Smith remembered. "I found he had a modest person to person presence. No pretense... just so easy to be with that night."
The entire incident is remembered by local film auteur and lay historian Mike Mccarthy in two essays about the meeting
, and about Dolph Smith
. The photos below are all by Cherry Vanilla.