Friday, December 24, 2010

x Marianne Faithfull x

Once the girlfriend of Mick Jagger, a woman with an incredible mind and beauty; you would never think she used to be homeless, anorexic or an addict?

I started this research after reading a book on Courtney Love. Even her band name Hole spoke to me. We all have holes, holes in our souls and we try desperately to fill them. With love, food, sex, drugs, whatever. The belief that these holes have been created by environment, that only when we were born were we once whole is a scary thought.

But perhaps the most worrying thing at all is Fear.

Fear is what stops us (even if just fleetingly) from pursuit.

Looking at Marianne Faithfull, or even just listening to her songs, she sings through those holes, she breathes through them, she cries through them.

And she still has those beautiful eyes that looked scared, intrigued, hurt and hopeful all at the same time.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Venus Xtravaganza

For a commission for a really lovely client, he told me to watch "Paris is Burning", the documentary of 1980s "Balls" in New York. Mainly for gay black guys segregated in society, but it seems the balls were open to anyone who felt lowly or misplaced in society. The balls were a celebration of individuality. Watching the film you see these absolutely spellbinding beautiful drag queens and transvestites; what shines through is their utter commitment to themselves and their gut of who they want to be. It's an intensely beautiful strength.

So how does this fit into heroin(e)?

The above picture is of Venus Xtravaganza, a pre-op transsexual. My fascination in gender leads me to the belief that she is a woman. You look at the beautiful dainty bird-like way she moves, not unlike Edie Sedgwick, the camera absorbs her every nuance and loves it. You see an unusual strength in her as she tells of everything she has been through: leaving home at an incredibly dangerous young age, not eating for days, having to jump out of windows to escape enraged clients who discover she's a man (she lives off prostitution) but then you see her at the balls. She glides along the floor looking stunning, you believe (like she does) that she was born to be more than this. Gliding with an innate sense of class and composure, she belongs on catwalks and being spoilt.

Then the film cuts to her drag mama giving the details of her death. Venus was killed during the making of the documentary, found dead under a motel bed four days after she died.

Death to me is a mystery that crawls into my mind heavy with fear. Its unfair, its inevitable. But you just kinda think, what would've happened if it didn't happen?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Black Oxen : Clara Bow

Suicidal Mother

Winner of the Fame and Fortune Contest 1921

Child Star

WAMPAS Baby Star Award 1924

"Too fat" for parts

Editing room floor


"It Girl"

Films Cancelled

Pay for your own publicity photographs


Left Movies to become a wife and mother

Suicide Attempt



Life-long Undiagnosed Heart Condition

I worked at a film fair the other week and managed to find some gorgeous photographs of Clara Bow. The story of her is unbelievable; A definite worthwhile read. The more I think about heroines, the more it brings me back to the concept of Shakesperian Tragic Heroes, do people have to have flaws for us to fall in love with them?

Tragic Female Heroes

At the start of my last year at art school (I graduated earlier this month) I did a project called "Tragic Female Heroes" that mapped alternative female heroes (heroines) that had tragic ends or circumstances within their lives.

I'm resurrecting this project and the stories of these women. As you can see from above, some are literary figures, but all are spurned with hurt or holes.

"There's a hole that pierces my soul." (Euripides, Medea).