Friday, January 28, 2011


Old Town San Diego, Canon 5d, 35mm Carl Zeiss

“The cultural machinery that produces judgments about an artist's lifetime of effort has less material to process when that artist dies young. The wheels grind faster and on thinner stuff. And when that young artist (or writer or actor) is a suicide, the quality of the material is often overlooked because it is immediately more valuable. The lurching randomness of existence suddenly has a steady meaning. Everything done or said by the deceased seems to be a clue that will explain why someone would choose to die rather than live. The last act suddenly becomes the most important act.”   When One Act Colors a Lifetime of Work, Richard B. Woodward

Perhaps.  Although the only young artist I know who committed suicide was Kurt Cobain. Others like Hendrix, Joplin and Morrison seemed more like their deaths were caused by their own recklessness.  Either way, pop culture has a tendency to celebrate their life styles leading to their deaths. 

Woodward further notes, "The photographer Francesca Woodman has received far more attention from critics and collectors since her death in 1981 than ever came her way when she was alive. Indeed, before she threw herself from a New York roof at age 22, she was unknown as an artist."

I'm not sure what motivated her suicide.  Rejection?

Was Michael Jackson suicidal?  Who knows. Sadly, he probably sold more albums after his death (Thriller is the exception).

"Suicidal recklessness seems like an easy path to fame when you're young but when you're old it's pathetic." - Bor Ortsac

Boris may have a point.

Big wheels keep on turning... proud Mary keeps on burning... roll 'em by the river... (John Fogerty, Creedence Clearwater Revival)