February 27 2014 Thursday at 12:44 PM

Embroidery As Art: Patti Smith

Patti Smith Transfigured (detail) - 2014, 26 1/2" x 31", hand embroidery on cotton.
- click here to view work in full - 

Last month my embroidered portrait Patti Smith Transfigured was displayed along with Nico Nude and Deaf in One Ear at fresh stART in Santa Monica. 

This portrait was begun after reading Just Kids and inspired the symbols and combined imagery used throughout the piece. The tulips behind her head are from this Mappelthorpe photograph and her right hand is really his, taken from this Self Portrait. Really, this is a portrait of both of them, and of how Patti Smith was transfigured by her relationship with Mappelthorpe. 

A few years ago, I blogged this on Dinosaurs and Robots:

Patti Smith appearing on 'Kids Are People Too', singing Debby Boone's schmaltzy classic "You Light Up My Life". Without a trace of irony or condescension, Patti answers children's questions and sings her heart out for them. The 70's were a wonderful time to be a kid, and I have very happy memories from that decade so, yeah, I got a little choked up when she explains why she chose the song and says, "1979, the Year of the Child". Because, it kind of felt like it was.

Special thanks to Lenny Kaye for approaching me with such kindness and humor, for suggesting I do this portrait and for sharing it with Patti.

I'll blog the Nico piece soon...xo