The Cost of a Creative Life with Platon and Marc Jacobs
The recent news around Marc Jacobs has not been complicated. It’s been mostly a simplistic litany of bad behavior and post-mortems that are as shocking as they are strange. When Platon welcomed Jacobs to his studio to shoot the cover of The Fashion, The Guardian’s bi-annual fashion magazine, he wasn’t sure which version of Marc Jacobs was going to arrive. What he found was that every version of Marc Jacobs was revealed in front of Platon’s camera, and none of those versions were the bad boy the tabloids had been reporting on. “There’s moments of vulnerability, there’s moments of incredible confidence and style, and he’s really almost voguing,” says Platon. “I don’t think you can say that one picture sums him up. And it’s about a collection of pictures that helps describe the different sides to that process of being in the creative front line that I saw.” Platon was able to get a wide range of visual experience out of Jacobs because Jacobs was willing to be vulnerable in front of the camera. He is unapologetically himself, which is both the reason for and the result of his creative power. For Platon it was almost like viewing a live gallery of experience, but rather than seeing it as a charade Platon recognized it for what it was: the perpetual reshaping of a creative soul.
The seat of creativity is an authentic life and the willingness to share and experience the truth of living in this world. Throwing oneself into that fire is elective, and something that most people don’t do. “It’s a choice to stay somewhere in the middle of the dial. But if you dial it up you’re going to swing, and that’s just how life is. If you look at anyone in history who’s been a mover and shaker, it swings,” Platon explains. His examples range from Frank Sinatra to Bill Clinton to Miles Davis. Each of these figures has contributed an incredible amount to our world and have seen themselves slip to the extreme ends of what makes their contributions possible. But those slips are part of the deal. You can’t get one without the other. “You can’t say ‘If only he hadn’t done that.’ That is part of the process,” Platon says.
That changeability is inherent to a creative life. Living on the extremes is what makes it possible, and we cannot forget that fact when we examine these figures from the outside. “You’re at your best as a creative person but it’s also volatile,” Platon explains. “Often physically or emotionally, certainly intellectually as well, and if you’re going to be courageous enough to push yourself to those limits then there’s a lot at stake. It takes courage, and I recognize that in Marc Jacobs.” The recent news about the designer has been plagued with rumor and gossip about slips into drugs, and incredibly erratic behavior, but that’s not what Platon saw when Jacobs was in his studio. He saw the hints of what could be read inaccurately, but to Platon it’s just mistranslation. “There’s a cost and people don’t ever understand.”
“When you’re engaged in it, that moment of creativity at the highest level: it’s confusing. It’s a three dimensional experience. It’s not two dimensional that you can see,” says Platon. These creative giants don’t fit so easily into the world of polite expectations. But that’s how they’re able to push us further as a culture and contribute offerings that are truly new, truly fresh. “It’s all connected,” Platon says. “And I think Marc Jacobs has that.”