Tag Archives: Patti Smith

One and Only

genuis-artists-musicians-actors-inspiration-01“It’s easy to stand in the crowd, but it takes courage to stand alone” Mahatma Gandhi

One! Dylan, Patti Smith, Madonna, Picasso, Rumi, Marilyn, Chaplin, Gertrude Stein, Miller, O’Keefe, Kerouac, Ginsberg, Jobs, Joplin……..

One cannot be Undone.

 

unique-people-artists-musicians-actors-inspiration-02There is only One when it comes to the unique individual, who does, acts, creates, lives, in a different spectacular universe far removed from the rest of the rest. Encompassing the Best of the Best.
When these alien species appear, they are usually mocked, rejected, cast out, and scorned.
The masses just don’t get them. And – they are not supposed to.
But yet they persist like the crazy glue you can’t get unstuck from your hands.
They are extremely focused, loyal to their identity, used to the blowback received from peers and society clamoring for sameness, the pervasive herd mentality, yet commandeering their particular OneNess with overwhelming solidarity and singular ness, as they machete their way through the dense forest of criticism, denial, mockery, and rejection.
But still they persist.

The OneNess.

unique-people-artists-musicians-actors-inspiration-03Van Gogh had it. Michelangelo nailed it. Gertrude Stein invented it. Picasso owned it. Einstein invented it. Warhol flaunted it. Dylan folk singed it. Kerouac wrote it. Neil Cassidy drove it. EE Cummings rhymed it. Billie Holiday sang it. Emerson thought about it. Einstein hypothesized it. Freud analyzed it. Kerouac typed about it.

And we are still talking about these icons today. Because they are one of a kind. Unique, special rare, and everlasting. They are never disappearing into the abyss, as so many lesser personalities have done, but remained constant, with eternal, staying power, their destiny gave them, imprinted into infinity for all of us to share, learn, and reap the benefits of their unique Oneness!

Cool. Crazy Cool. The kind of cool that never warms up with the blasé cynicism of time.

unique-people-artists-musicians-actors-quotes-jobs-04ONE signifies the pioneer spirit of discovery! It’s revolutionary and life changing in theory and process . Who wants to run in a pack? Who wants to be a sheep when clearly it’s the sheep herder possessing the real power? But it takes guts, perseverance , creativity, solitude ,and self awareness, to separate from the sheep herd, and run alone.

One can be a lonely number, true, but it’s the ONLY number, existing for the trend setters, artists, and scientific geniuses of all time! The Kafka’s, the Jobs, the Edison’s, the Twains, the Thoureaus, the Pollocks, the Sontags, the Kahlos! No different from the great explorers of history, seeking new worlds in the abyss of the unknown.

unique-people-artists-musicians-actors-quotes-chaplain-05While the world seemed flat to most, for the explorers coming from their unique revolutionary experience of thought they knew that there was another theory waiting to be proven. And prove it they did. But it required charting unknown territories and blasting through the cemented thinking of popular opinion.
To be the One in a chosen destined field of creativity is to be blessed and cursed.

Like famed actor Robert Deniro told the graduating class at Tisch School of the Arts in NYC “you are fucked”! He would know!

unique-people-artists-musicians-actors-inspiration-07Following your dream, passion, fantasy, whatever you want to call it can be a lonely and torturous road. One beset with rejection, poverty, and disappointment. You have to put your Man Pants on if you want to crush it! You have to keep it moving, or you may fall off, never get back on your unique ride towards your individual destiny.

unique-people-artists-musicians-actors-quotes-stein-06But what’s the alternative?

When you are on a creative path you can get side tracked but will eventually get back on the right road. The one leading to your destination. The one that makes you who YOU are. The twists and turns are necessary roadblocks teaching and guiding on the way to greatness.

That’s the beauty and the magic of ONE.

It all starts
And
Ends
With
ONE!

Dream Onnnnn

pop-art-blog-nyc-brooklynGenius & Dreamers. The Yin and the Yang. The Yes and the No. The Up and the Downs, the Roof and the Basement.

So, this very cool writer named Jonathon Carroll in one of his books titled ” Outside the Dog Museum” says This about genius:

“Geniuses are allowed to do anything. Picasso was a big prick. Beethoven never emptied his chamber pot, and Frank Lloyd Wright stole as much money from his clients as any good thief. But it was all okay because they were all “geniuses”. He goes on to say that “genius is a boat that sails itself”.

Braque said that “ones style -it is in a way ones inability to do otherwise…. Your physical constitution practically determines the shape of the brush marks.”

“Bullshit on all that artistic suffering, “agonizing” over the empty page….. Canvas”

Anyone who agonizes isn’t a genius is an idiot! Carroll goes on to say.

And there you go.

There it is.

pop-art-blog-nyc-brooklynCould that be because dreams, are the genesis of art in its multi forms? And dreams don’t involve agonizing or forcing, they just are, like the rose petals unfold, a natural process, like nature shows us, from the caterpillar evolving into the butterfly, to the bumble bee giving us honey, to the sun drenched grapes on the vine providing us with wine in the glass. They just happen. Because they are supposed to.

Geniuses always seem to just BE. Creation is easy and they just Have IT covered! Is it because the “geniuses” make their dreams reality and treat them as such, without the wake up process that most people experience?  Or are certain individuals just inordinately blessed, hit the jackpot, were given that bonus coupon, the extra gift that makes them fly, surpassing the rest of us ordinary mortals?

Most of the greats the Rimbauds, the Van Goghs, Kerouac, Hemingway, Mapplethorpe, were intense dreamers, whose dream – reality state was seamless. A unit. They all knew who they were, what they wanted, and where they were going! Dreams are infinite. They are timeless, with out restrictions or human boundaries, free –  fall experiences of the mind, and could it be that “geniuses” accept that idea, live it without questions asked,  and thus accomplish supernatural things that mere mortals cannot comprehend?

The French writer, a genius so to speak, Cocteau, in his journals says:

pop-art-blog-nyc-brooklyn” Then I realized that my dream life was as full of memories as my real life, that it WAS a real life, denser, richer in episodes and in details of all kinds, more precise in fact, and that it was difficult for meto locate my memories in one world or another , that they were superimposed, combined, and creating a double life for me, twice as huge and twice as long as my own”

That’s pretty heavy stuff. His dream life was more real than his so-called real life.

One wonders. Is this true? Who knows? I don’t. Do you?

pop-art-blog-nyc-brooklynWhere does creativity come from? The dream world is certainly a prime originator of all creative genius. The “Songs of Innocence and Experience”, William Blake’s masterpiece, is essential dream material, as is most of his work, his Dragon series, his mystical dreamy, other world visions translated unto his poetry and artwork as a harmonious symmetry of passionate self expression give us his dreams coming to live on the page.

Blake’s work is the substance of genius no doubt, and breaks through  that magical world, the genius spirit taps into, entertains, envelops, and encourages. “I must create my own system or be enslaved by another’s” was Blake’s fundamental goal.

Are you a dreamer? Or are you firmly rooted in the real world? You know WHO you are. But do you know WHERE you Really are?

Are you thinking of your 9-5 humdrum rat race experience, or are you mentally swimming in the ocean of the I don’t know what, but it isn’t THIS!

Patti Smith, in her epic biography, ” Just Kids “, describes her starving days, with Robert Mapplethorpe, freshly fired from their respective bookseller jobs, persevering in their creative goals, aka LIFE, freezing, broke, hungry, in their Lower East Side walk up, pushed to the max, energy pumped by dreams, youth, and that indescribable “IT” factor that makes certain stars shine brighter in the sky!

Joseph Cornell, the “Master of Dreams” was a dream maker incarnate toiling away in his mothers utopia parkway kitchen on his magnificent dream boxes , the world outside a blur, his inner world manifested within these surreal boxes germinating in his unique and fantastic MIND!

These geniuses, some born, others made, believed in their dreams! Nothing was getting in the way! The yellow caution light was blinking but dreamers don’t slow down, they just drive faster through it and beyond to the green light signaling GO GO GO!

pop-art-blog-nyc-brooklynSo when I look at Blake’s engraving of “Jacob’s Ladder”, or “The Ancient of Days”, I have no doubt that he was tapped in, connected to the dream world inspiring and guiding him on his artistic path. His images came from his spiritual, other world reality far removed from the gritty ugly, Dickensonian London cityscape he was dwelling in at time, late 1700’s -1800’s. His interior world transported him out of his exterior world. Lucky!

Living in the Material World. George Harrison talks about “drowning in the material world”, that he has a lot to do to get out of this place, and he does it by dreaming himself out.  Aerosmith tells us to “Dream On”, Fleetwood  Mac in their “Dreams” tells us that when the rain washes it all away then we see the visions, which set us straight, and many more musicians sing the dream theme, because it’s a popular and powerful message.

pop-art-blog-nyc-brooklynSeveral years ago, in NYC, The New York Public Library produced a fantastic exhibit on Jack Kerouac’s writings. During my visit, I was amazed by the extensive collection  of dreams and visions that Kerouac documented in his personal journals and sketchbooks, diaries, and  stories. Mysticism, Buddhism, Beatism, other world experiences, and (yes he was a victim of alcoholism ), which took him to the “other side ” sooner rather than later,  but his dreams pushed him into his destiny as a “Beat” Writer ,an icon , a representative of the NY  literary cultural dream team along with Alan Ginsberg, Bill Burroughs, Diane DiPrima, Gregory Corsco , Hettie and LeRoi Jones! Kerouac, definitely a dream inspired man On the Road! Death could not stop him. His dream lives on!

Genius mentality can be found in any profession from the scientist to the chef, to the mechanic, to the writer, to the landscaper, it is all about taking the dreams and making them real. It’s about the ones who believe in their dreams as serious goals, life blood, veins of gold , and pursue them. The rest of the world calls them geniuses. The dream weavers incarnate.  The surrealists, the Project Runway contestants, the Chopped contestants, the walking dreamers. They all move towards the endgame, the dream dust the oxygen they inhale every moment of every day.

” Dreaming is an art of pure imagination, attesting in man a creative power, which if it was available in the waking world would make every man a Shakespeare or a Dante”

art-blog-nyc-brooklynThoreau whose dream was to retreat in solitude at Walden Pond, and write about his experiences, tapped into his dream power, making his dreams reality! We can read all about it in ” Walden”, a must for every high school student for the past 60 years.

Cocteau did it all as novelist, poet, dramatist, filmmaker, said ” one of the characteristics of the dream is that nothing surprises us in it. With no regret we agree to live in it with strangers, completely cut off from our habits and our friends.” Like Thoreau he identified the dream life with solitude. While a fertile ground for creative growth the genius often survives in isolation living the “dream” apart from the world around him.

art-blog-nyc-brooklynDiane Arbus, Georgia O’Keefe, George Sand, Colette, Piaf, Suzanne Valladon, Sylvia Beach, Simone de Beauvoir, Freida Kahlo, Sylvia Plath, these women were proof of this identifying quality, living off the grid, pursuing their dreams, often without social encouragement or recognition. Dreaming  is gender oblivious. You are or you are not. You Do or you Don’t.

There are an infinite number of examples where dreams are pivotal in the lives of geniuses and creatives throughout time. That tells me that you can’t have one without the other. It’s a tandem experience. It’s the apple pie a la mode, the wine and cheese, the Billie Holiday and gardenias, the Kerouac and Cassidy, the Frieda and Diego , the genius -dream duo is a made to order duality of creative energy and inspiration propelling certain individuals into the stratosphere where dreaming becomes reality and gives the world a special experience unique, valuable and timeless!  The bicycle built for two!

art-blog-nyc-brooklynWebster defines dreams as: ” a conception or image created by the imagination and having no objective reality. ”

“Dream On”. We’ve all heard that at one time or another, meant to dismiss and demean. When actually it should be used to encourage and enlighten. Dream On. Are you kidding? Dream on. I kid you not.

When Dorothy saw OZ she knew she wasn’t in Kansas anymore! She had a dream that became reality, or was her reality the dream? This is the question of the ages, the one that the dreamers accept, thriving in the OZ of their own making , that world of imagination and fantasy, spinning dreams into reality, birthing geniuses, creating art in its many dimensions and forms, inspiring, sharing, and blessing lives into infinity!

Dream On. Keep dreaming. What? You must be dreaming? YES! YES! And again YES!

And

No – Dorothy you’re NOT in Kansas anymore.

Writers & Artists Love Affair

patti-smith-just-kids-art-blog-nycWriters and artists have always carried on a clandestine love affair between the pages and on the canvas. Life gets expressed through the visual, and the literal, and both genres meld as they influence and are influenced in a mutual admiration society giving to the world the unique perspectives through the combined literary and art expression. This is a blending of spirits, of like minded souls, and it’s pretty awesome! Check out “Just Kids” Patti Smith’s, personal expose of her artistic journey with her soulmate, the avant, underground, photographer, Robert Mapplethorpe. These two comrades in their artistic journey into the unknown, wandered through the East And West Village, in the 60’s and 70’s, searching,  dreaming,  ultimately knowing that their future was intertwined in the Netherlands of art, its pain, it’s passion, the fuel driving it’s undeniable rewards. She is enamored of the French poet Rimbaud, and her dual identity as both writer and singer is clarified by her own words, “Please no matter how we advance technologically, please don’t abandon the book. There is nothing in our material world more beautiful than the book.” There. She says it. And she means it. Her story, ” Just Kids ” is pure gold, for us pioneers, the writers and painters, who have walked the walk so to speak. If you are a “creative”, ignoring this book is a BIG mistake! Get it ASAP! It is a love story, a trippy art journey, and it also gives the younger reader a chance to experience a glimpse of the downtown hippie lifestyle of the past, far removed from today’s hipster world of tech, commerce, and astronomical student loans!

patti-smith-quote-art-blog-nycOn the other hand, let’s go on a vastly different trip with Steve Martin as he takes us from North to South, literally speaking, from the authenticity and earthy Greenwich Village experience of Patti and Robert, to the cold culture where Cash is King, and art is a commodity of the pocketbook first, not the innate soul purity of “Just Kids”.

Reading Steve Martin’s, “Object of Beauty” took me into the upscale art world of business art, and the inner workings of the personal lives involved, as Martin illuminates his particular characters, these bodies, who define his novel, in his style, so that the reader not only reads it, but also lives it, meeting the characters, and recognizing them, maybe, or maybe not. His protagonist, Lacey Yeager, hot NY art dealer, social climber, Sotheby’s star, she exemplifies the apex of art world social climber, with dollar signs in her eyes, she is the “Monster Goddess” of Bill De Kooning’s “Woman I”. In “Object”, Martin combine his own personal art collectors vision, residing in this world, with a passion for writing, spinning his tale of the status driven art world, a world that Martin knows very well. He buys. Collects. Spends. Just like the characters in his novel. Included we find prints of images of artists work, from Milton Avery to Andy Warhol. As if to remind the reader that this is all about art, though it’s fiction, the truth is that art is the foundation of his novel! sometimes Truth can be translated through fiction!

gaddis-the-Recognitions-art-blog-brooklyn-nycBut getting into the nitty gritty so to speak one should start with “The  Recognitions”, published in 1955, Bill Gaddis’s, lengthy, detailed, wordy, story of the life of Wyatt Gwyon, art forger, describing his craft of fakery, this book is an expose of the contradictions life offers in Wyatt’s counterfeit world where real is fake and fake appears to be real, and the perception as seen from the outside is everything, similar to viewing a painting, so subjective, yet coming from that intangible mix of the inner and outer mechanisms of mind and matter combined. In this fat novel, books and paintings are intertwined. The philosophies expounded by the characters release so much expertise and insight from the writers, artist, painters, business, point of view, that though a heavy read, it’s challenging, and it forced me to delve in with the persistence of a miner digging for gold in that pit of dirt. The results SO worth it!

“The Horses Mouth”, by Joyce Carey, also another art novel, published in 1944, shows us the life of a painter, who doesn’t cater to the popular fads, and survives by criminal activity in order to afford to maintain his craft. Caught up in his passion, he is willing to do whatever it takes at any cost. Morality, and conforming to the social standards of his time are rejected as the painter, Gulley Jimson, exploits, and tricks his friends and acquaintances in order to further his own ambition driven artist needs. Keeping it Real – Not all artists are saints, not then, not now!

philosophy-of-andy-warhol-art-blog-brooklynLa creme de la creme for me is “The Philosophy of Andy Warhol.”He NEVER disappoints. His philosophy is sooo simplistic, yet in it’s simplicity, abstract and really profound. I just Love his statement on page 112- where he talks about the “So What?” Saying “so what” puts every big awful “thing” in its place and instantly you feel better. This gem is full of nuggets like this one, and if you haven’t gotten acquainted with Andy’s philosophy than you are really missing some cool observations from the Master of Cool. This guy made a soup can famous! Remember??? The brilliant Voyeur whose quote “Everybody will be famous for 15 minutes” made headlines with it’ Andy Fabulous Truth! The Reality Shows of today prove Andy’s prophetic words beyond what anyone would have ever imagined!

max-jacobs-picasso-nyc-art-blogThere are many reminders of the indisputable link writers have with artists and vice versa. Witness Picasso’s best friend Max Jacobs, and the poet Appolinaire, known for his “AlCools,” devoted, bonded in their artistic life, in their Montmartre Bohemia, where eating, and sleeping came far behind creating, and dreaming. The true sustenance being, the preferred art of the subjects at hand, be it Satie and his classical Gymnopedies,Lautrec and his bordello posters, Picasso, and his circus paintings of harlequins and acrobats,  or Valladon and her nudes. Perhaps it was Baudelaire and his absinthe infected poetry, or Jane Avril, friend and model for so many of Lautrec’s posters, celebrity of Montmartre, as star attraction at the Moulin Rouge, they all had a common goal -Art- the making, living, eating, breathing, the food they thrived on that kept them alive, and provided them with nourishment that  no simple meal ever could!

Somerset Maughm’s, ” The Sixpence “, written about the painter,  Gaugin, ” Lust for Life,” Irving Stone’s, representation of painter, Vincent Van Gogh, and of course the famous , made for cinema, Girl with the Pearl  Earring, based on Tracy Chevalier’s novel, the subject originating with Vermeer’s masterpiece,  now prominently displayed in the The Hague. All chains in the link that is soldered together between artists and writers. We get a literary view to back up the visual experience we have while looking at a painting, and we get a complete picture.

henry-miller-pop-art-blog-nycHenry Miller, the novelist of all times, love him or hate him, he can’t be ignored! He was a self taught water colorist, which he claims was fulfilling, in a way that transcended his writing. Thousands upon thousands of watercolors, he produced joyfully, giving away randomly, at his will, to friends and fans.  Talk about a writer – art love affair, Miller, epitomized this duality with his novels , his Tropics series, and his future essays, where he talks as if he’s sitting with us , about his favorite subjects like, art, writing, spirituality, people, Big Sur, Anais Nin, and Paris! In Big Sur, The Henry Miller Museum, is a unique dream place, a stone’ s throw from his old hangout Nepenthe, the former love nest of Orson Welles and his lover Rita Hayworth. It was recreated into a bar, restaurant, hanging off a cliff over the Pacific Ocean, a favorite hangout for Miller and his friends during his Big Sur years. The museum, a picturesque cabin, and the former home of his best friend Emil White, displays his works, paintings, and obscure writings, not commonly found in your local Barnes & Noble. Standing under the majestic Redwood trees, Pacific Ocean crashing below the rocky coast, this humble cabin holds a wealth of artistic bounty, that only the fortunate traveller is led to discover!

henry-miller-canvas-pop-art-nyc-blogMiller’s watercolors are a spontaneous, pure, colorful expression of his thinking, always soulful and pure. In his novel, Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymus Bosch, he confirms his spiritual relationship to the Divine, as authority for the creative genius he has expressed through his prolific writings, his paintings, and his individual life story, from Brooklyn to Paris to California!

Again, writer, artist, – Seamless!

Yes, IT IS the Love Affair of all time! This writer, artist combo. If you are writing, you’re also probably, in the galleries, or fooling around with your paints and brushes whenever you can. You enjoy a hearty discussion on the merits of Dadaism, and your disenchantment with the Fauve Period. If you are deep in the well of your studio, I know you are hitting the bookstores, and have a couple of novels on hand, and can talk for an hour about why you either detest “Infinite Jest”, or why you love it!

spending-mary-gordon-nyc-artist-blogOne of the most interesting artist stories in contemporary fiction is “Spending”, by Mary Gordon. A sexy, hot and spicy, page turner, depicting a tale of the relationship between a powerhouse commodities broker, who decides to collect her work while also being her Muse.  It’s a lush, witty, sophisticated story of this complex relationship in which art and commerce meet and lead to an emotional quagmire. He spends and she spends and both of them achieve an ambiguous cocktail of experiences as they mix the artist with the money man.

This discussion, highlights that YES, in fact and fiction, art and writers share have a metaphoric womb, like Siamese twins. The poets of the day hung with their artist friends with the common bond that painters and writers intrinsically possess. Gertrude Stein,  with her famous salon in Paris, at 27 Rue de La Fleuris, were legend as the hotspot for all up and coming painters, of the day with only the best writers thrown in, like Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and and while Stein’s talent was writing,  “a rose is a rose is a rose” everyone knew that  she had an insatiable passion for art and collecting! In “The Autobiography of Alice b Toklas,” by Stein, when asked had she ever met a genius, she states that yes, she indeed knew three geniuses: Pablo Picasso, Gertrude Stein, and Alfred Whitehead. Not exactly the humble, shy type, Gertrude made the unknown painters and writers of the day in Ex-Pat Paris, the “Lost Generation” as she coined that infamous phrase; crave her attention, and sit at her feet, beholden to her charisma, intellectual brilliance, and her love of art! These qualities drew those pioneers to her like the moth to the flame! . That’s heady stuff. It’s interesting when I read her quote on genius: “Being a genius means sitting around doing nothing nothing nothing.” Tongue in cheek, so typical of Stein, when what she is really saying is that it LOOKS like they are doing nothing, but their thinking is so far beyond most people, that nothing is actually Everything! Amen to That!

Her writing involves a lot of repetition and perplexing statements. One can only interpret subjectively, because of the vast collection of multi meanings. Always with a question attached. And of course the artists, the painters, flocked to her, she cultivated her favorites, and they went on to great success.  She was one of the highest standards for acceptance, the 27 rue du Fleuris, where Hemingway sought an invitation,  when he arrived in Paris , an unknown at age 24. He got the “word on the street”, that Stein was his ticket into the art world. And he was right, and along with his mentor Sylvia Beach, of Shakespeare and Company, he moved to the head of the line, working hard at his craft, and eventually became a published writer.

Painters and writers. Writers and painters. Ny, Paris, Rome, London, from the depths to the heights, from obscurity to fame, they create an indisputable bond throughout eternity.

john-lennon-quote-art-blog-nycThe San Francisco Beats, hung at the Cedar Tavern, in Nyc with the ab – ex painters of the day like, Kline, De Kooning, Pollock, all sharing a similar life force, mutual interest and ambition. Rarely will you find a division. when people love painting, they usually have a fully stocked library as well. It’s a natural match.

Bookstores adorned with posters is a given expectation. A shared and compatible pairing like wine and cheese. Like Gertrude Stein, and her lifelong roommate, Alice B. Toklas! Like Picasso and Max Jacobs, like, Lautrec and Avril, like Warhol and Basquiat, like KiKi and Man Ray!

The Love Affair, is documented historical evidence of the shared passions between artists and writers. It is and will continue to be a match, an arrangement natural to this psyche that embellishes, and enhances the artistic world, giving it an infinite and profound character, a blending of the written and the painted, the sculpted, the designed, the ying and the yang, the color with the black and white, the multi dimensional personalities that bring these individuals together, in a harmonious blending, providing for everyone, a concert of harmonious notes, entertaining and nourishing the soul.

We experience this Love-In is right here in our city! NYC has cast us into the vortex of a hyper creative atmosphere, as the voyeurs watch the scene, groove to the beat, living vicariously off this powerful synergy, that brings Everyone here and Keeps them here!

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