The City of Absurdity David Lynch
Interviews & Articles

by Paul Young, Buzz Inc. 1993

Moving pictures are hardly film director David Lynch's only passion. As the director of such movies as Eraserhead, Dune, Blue Velvet, and Wild at Heart, as well as the television series Twin Peaks, David Lynch has bewildered, shocked, even enraged audiences, attracting in the process a huge cult following. But moving pictures are not Lynch's exclusive passion. Inspired by artists Francis Bacon and Mark Rothko, Lynch worked for years as an abstract expressionist painter, long before he ever picked up a camera. Today, Lynch's paintings are represented by major dealers around the world, including James Corcoran in Los Angeles and Leo Castelli in New York.

Ow God Mom, the dog he bited me As in his films, the predominant theme of Lynch's paintings is that of innocence trapped in a corrupt world, and they evoke a sense of unease familiar to anyone who has seen a Lynch movie. The strokes are fast and smudged. The paint oozes and cracks. The imagery is often of a single figure, such as a lone tree, a lost dog, or a shoddy house. Words and phrases are embedded in the canvas, such as "Oh God, Mom, the Dog, He Bited Me" or "Here I am, me as a house." Lynch spoke with Buzz's Paul Young about his uncanny ability to draw outsiders into his subconscious.

David Lynch:

"What I'm trying to do with each canvas is create a situation in which the paint can be itself, which means letting go of any rationalization. It's important to let ideas blossom without too much judging or interference. The beauty of children is their ability to look at the world openly, without being bound by the intellect. Your intellect can hold back so many wonderful, fantastic things. Without logic or reason, there's always something else, something unseen. The world is infinite rather than finite.

"I never end up with what I set out to do. Whether it's a film or a painting, I always start with a script, but I don't ever follow it all the way through to the end. A lot more happens when you open yourself up to the work and let yourself act and react to it. Every work 'talks' to you, and if you listen to it, it will take you places you never dreamed of. It's this interaction that makes the work richer.

"One of the reasons I prefer painting in black and white, or almost in black and white, is that if you have some shadow or darkness in the frame, then your mind can travel in there and dream. In general, color is a little too real. It's too close. It doesn't make you dream much. If everything is visible, and there's too much light, the thing is what it is, but it isn't any more than that.

"I hate slick and pretty things. I prefer mistakes and accidents. Which is why I like things like cuts and bruises – they're like little flowers. I've always said that if you have a name for something, like 'cut' or 'bruise,' people will automatically be disturbed by it. But when you see the same thing in nature, and you don't know what it is, it can be very beautiful."

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