The Daily Rambling Artist: You Never Got Me Down, Gertrude - Embracing Everything!

The Daily Rambling Artist: You Never Got Me Down, Gertrude - Embracing Everything!

I’m sure my tattered and heavily read copy of Jake LaMotta's autobiography is somewhere tucked away in a box of my old stuff at my parent's house. When I first read it, I was completely enthralled. Already intrigued by LaMotta's story through the film "Raging Bull," the book added a whole new dimension to this fascinating life. It's amazing how a narrative can have different facets across various mediums, coming together to create an even cooler picture.

The book opens with the memorable line, "I fought Sugar Ray Robinson so many times, it's a wonder I don't have diabetes." As I delved into the pages, I found myself captivated by LaMotta's musings. Among them, he described a peculiar notion: he had always envisioned the story of his life as if it were told in black and white. Having seen the movie and knowing that it’s in black and white, I felt time stand still when I read LaMotta’s words in this instance.

Although I've never come across direct evidence of these exact words influencing Martin Scorsese's iconic choice to shoot the film in black and white, I can't help but feel that it must have played a part. The film "Raging Bull" already had a remarkable depth, but reading LaMotta's thoughts on seeing his life in black and white amplified the film's spectacle for me. His specific words added another layer of magic and emotional resonance to the story. I could see De Niro, playing LaMotta, saying, “You never got me down, Ray,” as he’s against the ropes in a black and white, bloody massacre.

The intermingling of the arts is something I didn’t ponder in any real depth until undergraduate school when we studied Modernist literature. I remember reading Gertrude Stein, and it hurting my head, but then unraveling it all, and realizing she was doing with words what Picasso did with paint. She’s not the only example, but I felt like Lamotta on those ropes when I was done processing her texts. You never got me down, Gertrude! 

This intermingling between the arts has never been lost on me. When asked about my influences, I’m not afraid to say, 'Everything.' The Scorsese revelation was perhaps one of the most powerful examples I encountered organically while exploring different mediums. I find myself frequently revisiting that beautiful cinematography of the opening scene, and it ignites a desire to shuffle and dance right back into the studio.

-Sergio Santos