Notes on Just Kids

Monday's Children

I thoroughly enjoy this book. I enjoy the stories, the writing style, the content, the history and the images. It talks about love, loyalty, art, artists, muse, photography, music, poetry, travel, friendship, family, growing old, growing wisdom, facing life, facing death, hope, dreams, and so many many things both trivial and great in life. All the names of the writers, artists, musicians, actors and the works by them mentioned in this book are invaluable and insightful contemporary art references. As usual, I take note as I read, writing down sentences and paragraphs that inspire and resonate with my ideas. A special more-than-thank-you to the person who got me this book.

Just Kids by Patti Smith

P.13 The light fell upon the pages of his colouring book, across his child’s hands. Colouring excited him, not the act of filling in space, but choosing colours that no one else would select. In the green of the hills he saw red. Purple now, green skin, silver sun. He liked the effect it had on others, that it disturbed his siblings. He discovered he had a talent for sketching. He was a natural craftsman and secretly he twisted and abstract his images, feeling his growing powers. He was an artist and he knew it. It was not a childish notion. He merely acknowledged what was his.

P.183 I thought of something I learned from ready Crazy Horse: The Strange Man of the Oglalas by Mari Sandoz. Crazy Horse believes that he will be victorious in battle, but if he stops to take spoils from the battlefield, he will be defeated. He tattoos lighting bolts on the ears of his horses so the sight of them will remind him of this as he rides. I tried to apply this lesson to the things at hand, careful not to take spoils that were not rightfully mine.

P.189 Because of the price of film he felt obliged to make every shot count. He did not like making mistakes or wasting film, and so developed his quick eye and decisive manner. He as precise and economical, first out of necessity, then out of habit. Observing his swift progress was rewarding, as I felt a part of his process. The creed we developed as artist and model was simple. I trust in you. I trust in my self.

P.200 We need time to figure out what all of this mean, how we were going to come to terms and redefine what our love was called. I learned from him that often contradiction is the clearest way to truth.

P.213 Much of the original brick was concealed with moldy drywall, which he removed. Robert cleaned and covered the brick with several layers of white paint and set it up, part studio, part installation, all his.

P.223 Robert and I took a lot of photographs at Bond Street. I liked the atmosphere there and I thought we took really good pictures. They were easily taken against the backdrop of the white washed brick walls and were bathed in beautiful New York light. One of the reasons we took such good pictures there is that I was out of my element. There were none of my things to clutter the pictures, for me to identify with, or hide behind. Even as Robert and I parted as a couple, our photographs became more intimate, for they spoke of nothing but our common trust.

P.233 We weren’t quite certain where we could take this, since the Broadway Central had collapsed. What we were doing was so undefined and there seemed to be no suitable venues. But the people were there, and I believed we had something to give them, and I wanted Lenny to be a permanent part of the equation.

P.234 … but one cannot judge their relationship without an understanding of their consensual code. Robert liked Sam’s money, and Sam liked that Robert liked his money. Were that all that motivated them, they could have easily found it else where. Instead, each possessed something the other wanted, in that way, complemented the other…By association, each tasted the other’s attributes…I saw them as two men who has a bond that could not be severed. The affirmation that came from each strengthened them.

P.235 …he wasn’t taking pictures for the sake of Sensationalism, or making it his mission to help the S & M scene become more socially acceptable. He didn’t think it should be accepted, and he never felt that his underground world was for every body.

P.236 His mission was not to reveal, but to document an aspect of sexuality as art, as it had never been done before. What excited Robert the most as an artist was to produce something that no one else had done.

P.256 In the narration of the film, I had explored ideas that Robert and I often discussed. The artist seeks contact with his intuitive sense of the gods, but in order to create his work, he cannot stay in the seductive and incorporeal realm. He must return to the material world in order to do this work. It’s the artist’s responsibility to balance mystical communication and the labour of creation.


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