A small boy stands on the side of a road in the desert between Albuquerque and Santa Fe. A recent head on collision has left bodies of Native Americans dying in agony on the blistering hot pavement. Bewildered by the carnage and desperation in front of him, the child’s consciousness is awoken, and his spirit engages the energy of the Native American spirits leaving this plane, bound for the next.
Thus begins the lifelong obsession with the fleetingness of mortality, for a young Jim Morrison heading west to eventually settle on the rocky shores of Los Angeles, in the culturally rich neighborhood of Venice Beach. Studying film at UCLA, he looked at life through the lens, and developed an immense curiosity about the different mechanisms of life. Death, sex, and consciousness were all elements of his poetic style. He wanted to use his writing to evoke change and help create perception of a larger universe.
This voice resonated with the youth of the day. Disenfranchised with the politics and wars their government was constantly embroiled in, they chose to turn inward and look for higher meaning in the random circle of life. Jim’s fellow film school student, Ray Manzarek was a talented keyboardist, and invited Jim to join a band with other neighborhood musicians Robby Krieger and John Densmore. Together, they formed The Doors, and rode the wave of the counterculture uprising on the streets of Los Angeles in the late 1960s.
Jim was an artist first and was reluctant to take on the mantle of star. At local iconic venues like the London Fog and the Whiskey A Go Go, he often sang with his back to the audience. After testing the waters, however, Jim threw himself into his art with reckless abandon. He pushed the boundaries of what the physical body could take, and was driven to see how close he could get to the edge without slipping over it. His energetic and drug-fueled stage antics made him the perfect spokesperson for a wild and rebellious generation. It also brought him into conflict with various police organizations, culminating with an arrest and conviction for an Indecency and Obscenity Law violation in Miami.
The court room drama and impending prosecution forced Jim into exile. He went to Paris, and spent the following months writing and recording his poetry, and living as an expatriate, with his lifelong love, Pamela. On the night of July 3, 1971, after an over abundance of drugs and alcohol, Jim retired to the bath and slipped into a final sleep. He was 27 years old.
“If my poetry aims to achieve anything, it's to deliver people from the limited ways in which they see and feel."
This piece honors Jim Morrison’s desire to be known for his poetry and is centered around his very thoughts and words. Each belt buckle is unique and features excerpts from the prolific writer. The keyhole outlining the text symbolizes a dual passageway - A way of looking out towards the unknown, as well as the introspective power of looking into oneself. Morrison strived to reach beyond the confines of a typical human experience and discover the truths of the universe, the world around us and our psyche. Through his outrageous stage antics and provocative lyrics, Morrison felt a calling to free people from the shackles of societal pressures and deliver them another truth.
On the sides of the buckle, the waxing and waning moons, represent life and death. In his poetry, Morrison often wrote of death and throughout his time here, he closely rode that fragile line between this world and the next. He was aware of death’s presence and instead of denying its inevitability, he embraced it. Lastly, the moon phases depict the dark side of the moon. This represents Morrison’s desire to look beyond what is readily available to us. He spent his life searching for answers and through his poetry hoped to expand the minds of the people around him.
Morrison led a life on the fringe of reality and embraced the idea that pushing our personal limits could unlock the secrets of the universe. Cut from a discarded drum cymbal, this belt buckle is meant to invoke curiosity and trigger an awakening. It serves as an invitation to look beyond the perceived boundaries of our existence.