06 July 2012

oh ART: a Masters from Patti Smith


 a ten minute Master Class,

"I could not give myself to him 
I felt another call - the call of art."

Patti Smith on her song Constantin's Dream:
"It questions the role of artists in our society. The questions are there, and they're not answerable questions. They're more things that we contemplate and ruminate constantly. As an artist, one thinks, "What is the purpose of art? Can we make a difference? Is art just more pollution in an already polluted world?" There are a million questions one asks oneself."

The song title refers to a dream of the Roman Emperor Constantine, which was instrumental in his conversion to Christianity. Ruler of Britain and Gaul upon  his father's death, in 306AD, HE found himself  within 6 years  battling with Maxentius over control of the entire Roman Western Empire. On the eve of the Battle of Milvian, as he was about to cross the Alps, Constantine dreamt of a cross of  light  reflected in the sun inscribed


The Emperor ordered his men into battle with the sign of the cross painted on their shields and standards. Victorious in Battle, Constantine converted and became ruler of the Western Roman Empire, Constantine the Great.

"I read so many books to make a 10-minute improvisation, I have a roomful of books that I distilled down into those 10 minutes. And when I was ready, I went into the studio, the band was there to give me encouragement, and I improvised my lyrics. I did two takes, and I think we used the second one. It's all one take on the record."

linked within the text the entire article by Jordan Zivitz in the Vancouver Sun here
the banga tour
the sign that changed the world here

 painting by Piero della Francesca in the Basilica of San Francesco in Arezzo.

*"In this sign you shall conquer." 


  1. without art what would are world be........ everytime I see Patti Smith I am inspired to create......... having just seen her 2 nights running I feel suitably charged to crack on!!

  2. I just watched the documentary "Black White + Gray" on Netflix, so your post was very timely for me. Do check it out on Netflix.

  3. Loved her book Just Kids...she has an experience of honesty many do not probe.

    Art by Karena

  4. a thoughtful post. I paint to clear the "pollution" from my brain

  5. That is a favorite painting, and I enjoyed the quote by Smith. I can read and listen to Smith all day long.



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