The muses look different with every decade, but on the inside, they stay the same. They are the girls whose eyes are like stars with artists in their orbit; whose beauty is eternally captivating, but impossible to capture completely, and so they are drawn and photographed and written about into eternity. They are unknown girls wearing pearl earrings and depressed souls who commit suicide between walls of tin foil and silver paint. They know that their lives begin and end with art, that they are created for and by inspiration. They are gasoline bodies waiting for the right artist to set them ablaze.
My obsession with Edie Sedgwick started when I was fifteen years old. I have always been drawn to troubled beautiful people with tragic endings. I guess most teenagers are. It’s part of that strange thing where you obsessively care about people you have never met and project your own dreams and ideas onto them.
I read all the books that I could find about her and the Warhol crowd. I even managed to catch a few of the films that she starred in, Beauty No.2, Vinyl and Poor Little Rich Girl, at a film festival when I was eighteen. I was captivated by her innocent quality and beauty. I had never seen anything like it. I idolized Warhol and thought that Edie had lived the life, during those few years around 1965, that I would want for myself if I could choose. I even spent a couple of years depressed over the fact that I’d never be Edie Sedgwick. At the same time I was sickened by her life.
I’m not sure I quite understood the depths of darkness that she was going through and I romanticized the time, and the drug use that contributed to her tragic downward spiral and death, which in her own words is a ridiculous thing to do, “It’s sort of like a mockery in a way of reality because they think everything is smiles and sweetness and flowers when there is something bitter to taste. And to pretend there isn’t is foolish.” Edie Sedgwick