Some of my classmates may be too young to know who Patti Smith is but hopefully her rare PVD appearance on the RISD campus did not fly over their radars. The artist, songwriter, activist and all around incredible rock’n woman “lectured” tonight about her art and life’s adventures. Her body of work spans over the past 40 years and includes numerous recordings, acclaimed memoir and poetry, and world-renowned photography. She is also a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee (2007), National Book Award-winning author (Just Kids, 2010), Commander of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (France, 2005), and winner of the prestigious Polar Music Prize (2011). http://events.risd.edu/event/patti_smith_the_gail_silver_memorial_lecture#.UkzUEBZm3ww
To me she is a rock and roll goddess and role model who exemplifies the multiplicity and magic of an accomplished maker. For her steadfast devotion to her craft and convictions instill a belief in the power of thought and the uncontrollable drive to make. As an artist, designer, and woman I can only hope to create, influence, and push boundaries with such eloquence, honesty and mastery.
Her words of wisdom for the evening spanned many a topic from an artist’s process to the importance of professional dental hygiene (something I am now old enough to attest to)! And there were many highlights to the evening but the moment she picked up her guitar and sang brought chills and a deep sense of admiration. It also reminded me that here at the beginning of the semester we can’t forget the importance of selecting a theme song and image of inspiration to get us through the long nights of study and rigorous days of design conundrums. We are a part of a community (and extended community) of great makers and thinkers. The gift of having such encounters as tonight’s only annunciates the magic that is this collective called RISD.
Theme song for the semester: “Because the Night”
(…belongs to makers!)
Image of inspiration: