Social defiance, friendships and creativity

Creativity is an act of defiance. You’re challenging the status quo. You’re questioning accepted truths and principles. You’re asking the universal questions that mock conventional wisdom. –  Twyla Tharp.

Photography NORMAN SEEFF, JUDY LINN
Photography NORMAN SEEFF, JUDY LINN

What sustains us writers, artists and illustrators is the unique kinship we develop that is different from the traditional construct of friendships seen by this world.  Our friendship takes birth in the creative conduits and spill over the landscape of art, music, and our collective non-conformed lifestyle choices. As years pass on, although we drift apart from friends we meet in our creative spaces, our soul collect parts of their journey and makes it our own.  Soon we outgrow the need to be physically around each other. These friendships leave a permanent impact on our creative lives and fuel our discovery towards new realms of art and literature. One such relationship that we cannot stop obsessing over is the friendship between Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe. Their journey brings to life a personal odyssey of self-discovery that mirrored their passion and curiosity for aesthetics and arts. Pushing the boundaries while exploring mythology, sexuality and religion but always cocoon in the tenderness of love and compassion. At the creative crossroads Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe sacrificed everything often struggling to pay for food and shelter, to make art, write poems and breed their fragile dreams against the conventional wisdom of the society. Their relationship endlessly oscillated between comfort and exploration – pausing the narrative and examining the role of society in the process of creation.

“In 1968 Robert was living with Patti in a little apartment near mine in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn. They were always working, making paintings and drawings and sculptures, and the walls of their apartment were covered with their work. They were both very young and I found them very beautiful. I asked to come over to their place one day to shoot portraits of them. They were among the first double portraits I shot. Patti published two of them in her book, Just Kids, in 2010, and credits them as the first portraits made of the two of them.” – Art Director Lloyd Ziff recalls.

Photography NORMAN SEEFF, JUDY LINN
Photography NORMAN SEEFF, JUDY LINN

Launching our creative talents in this world is a self-loathing gig for most of us. We have grown up as freaks, clinically insane and still continue to question the fundamental nature of our troublesome personalities. The highly fantasized “creative journey” actually feels like driving blindfolded into an abyss. The world dismissing it as a drug-induced delusional life of no responsibilities and no commitments. Of being feared as an imposter to the truth set by the collective norms of this world. To watching the death of our favourite stars, ones we worshiped and loved. To realising the inanity of our own creation against the wonderful, fascinating creations of other musicians, writers and artists.  To feel like an island and feel a huge disconnect with the society we live in.

It is here where a co-conspirator, a friend, a fellow-traveler helps in calibrating ourselves and sets tone for our exploits. These friendships help us in realising our creative potential in its anti-institutional context, detaching our egos and de-aligning our self-obsessed individualism from its center to a bigger, larger impulse. An impulse to create because we do not know anything better. An impulse to destroy what we created because it was not honest enough. That impulse that becomes our final beacon and the friend our sole plotter.

An indispensable soul mate, our favourite person, on the road to the great creative Valhalla.

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