David Bowie and Cracked Actor: The Fly in The Milk
David Bowie and Cracked Actor: The Fly in The Milk
David Bowie and Cracked Actor: The Fly in The Milk
David Bowie and Cracked Actor: The Fly in The Milk
David Bowie and Cracked Actor: The Fly in The Milk
David Bowie and Cracked Actor: The Fly in The Milk

David Bowie and Cracked Actor: The Fly in The Milk

Red Planet Books
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The Fly in the Milk is the story of the making, broadcast and influence of Alan Yentob’s groundbreaking 1975 BBC documentary. Including interviews with many of those involved and access to internal BBC files from the time – this book is a celebration of Bowie captured during this crucial period.

The book features artwork by renowned British artist and longtime Bowie fan Mark Wardel, previously unseen live ‘74 shots of Bowie by David Stratford and words by Susan Compo and Mark Wardel.

The book is printed in colour on art-quality paper and will be available on its own or in a limited-edition box including a copy of the life mask shown being taken in Cracked Actor. Bowie/Isolar purchased two of Mark’s masks for inclusion in the official Bowie archive.

Both versions of the book are available to purchase in advance now for delivery in September. 

Mark Wardel says: "Since Ziggy Stardust beamed in and took over my life in 1972, David Bowie has been an inspiration in most areas of my life particularly my life as an artist.

"I won the Art prize at school for my 1974 painting of Bowie (the only thing I ever won at school) and continued from there, even receiving in 1979 a Berlin Air Mail letter from the man himself thanking me for a piece of Cracked Actor inspired fan art I had made at art school and given to him via the charming Barbara DeWitt his P.R. at the time ... so creating the hand-painted artworks for this book really was just a natural extension of all of that – and a process I greatly enjoyed.

"This book is the culmination of an obsession going way back to my first viewing of this iconic documentary in 1975. I hope my artworks help bring the essence of Bowie and the atmosphere of Cracked Actor to life in the pages of the book.

The book is printed as an artbook-quality hardback featuring the story of the Cracked Actor documentary by Susan Compo and Mark Wardel. It is illustrated with artwork created for the book by Mark wardel and photos from the Los Angeles shows by David Stratfor that have not been seen in print before.

About the Bowie mask

Since first watching Cracked actor as a 17 year old Bowie obsessive in 1975 Mark Wardel became fascinated with the semi-translucent plastic life mask Bowie holds over his own face and the process of its creation seen in the program.

Mark says: "This fascination never left me through decades of repeat viewings thanks to a VHS copy I acquired from a friend at a London TV company in 1979.

"Jump-cut to the mid-1990s and an EMI A+R man who was a close friend acquired from America a cast of the same Bowie life mask seen in Cracked Actor from which he allowed me to take a mold.

"I proceded to smooth and perfect the slightly rough cast to give it a marble like finish and began casting copies and re-creating classic Bowie makeups on the plaster masks mainly for my own enjoyment or as gifts to Bowie fan friends such as Boy George.

"In 2013 I was asked by the V&A museum to create an edition of 300 'Silver Duke' silver finish plaster Bowie masks as official museum merchandise to tie in with the blockbusting 'David Bowie Is' exhibition.

"The edition sold out and I began to experiment with other metallic paint finishes then in 2014 I was contacted by Eileen D'Arcy, David Bowie's New York personal assistant who purchased two of my Bowie masks – a silver and gold 'Kabuki' and a white 'Aladdin Sane' with silver flash, on behalf of Bowie and for inclusion in his official archive.

"I never set out to become known as a mask maker but like the many Bowie connections in my life it happened almost by accident that I became known as 'The man behind the Bowie mask."

For the special edition box set of this book we have recreated as closely as possible using the same vacuum forming technique, the beautiful life-size semi-translucent silvery plastic life mask seen to such great effect in Cracked Actor.

The box set is limited to 300 copies and will contain a signed and numbered copy of the deluxe hardback book and a copy of the mask with a numbered certificate of authenticity from Mark Wardel.