I recently finished Just Kids, a sensitive, personal and loving retelling by author, poet and musician Patti Smith of her relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. Beautifully written, this is an homage to a friendship of remarkable depth and affinity.
It was only by chance the two meet: the poet and artist, and the jeweller and installation maker, each penniless and near homeless. The connection was instant, enduring for a lifetime and beyond.
If we did not know the trajectory of their lives, we could easily have said they had a profound innocence and naiveté, adrift and directionless in their youth.
But they were not bereft of ambition, as each had an immutable belief in the talent that lay within. And this strength of personal conviction was matched only by the faith they had in each other.
Patti continued as an artist and is, perhaps, better known today as a musician. Robert eventually discovered photography and is now remembered as one of the 20th Century’s most prominent and provocative photographers.
“I always thought I was good. That’s why it was so frustrating when other people didn’t agree.” – Robert Mapplethorpe
It is the inner strength of personal belief that I found most compelling. It was not questioned, but trusted. It was not ego, but determination. It was not taken for granted, but nurtured.
And it was also the strength of their personal relationship that nourished their spirits and feed their creativity.
Their’s is a story of self-belief and determination; a story of dedication and of vision; a story of empowering relationships.
It is also a story that tells us…
To know what you do well,
to believe in what you do,
and to nurture, trust and share what you do.
Thanks for the ideas: Just Kids, Patti Smith A Live Beyond ‘Do What You Love’, Gordon Marino Show Your Work!, Austin Kleon