David Lynch

11.20.09

Left: David Lynch, Figure #2—Man Laughing, 2009, mixed media on wooden panel, 30 1/4 x 34 1/8 x 3 11/16“. Right: David Lynch, I Burn Pinecone, 2009, mixed media on cardboard, 82 1/4 x 118 1/4 x 8 3/4”.


David Lynch is a renowned filmmaker, visual artist, and writer. Before making a career in film, he studied fine arts at the Corcoran School of Art, the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. A comprehensive solo exhibition of his paintings and photographs is currently on view at Griffin Gallery in Santa Monica, California, through December 12.

I LIKE IDEAS. THEY ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS. So you get an idea, and sometimes you get an idea that you fall in love with, and that drives you. It’s all about the love of the idea––and ideas come for everything. Perhaps you get a “painting” idea and you’re totally fired up to go and paint that idea. Sometimes you get a “cinema” idea and you’re totally fired up to go do cinema. And sometimes you get a “musical” idea and you go and you work on that in the studio; it goes like that. With these paintings, I’m really interested in a story––not a long one. But the paintings have a story. There are things to look at, and hopefully you go out on a thought or a dream.

The massive jewel-box frames are inspired by an exhibition of Francis Bacon’s work I saw at Marlborough Gallery in New York, I think in 1966, and I remember thinking, “Whoa. Oh my goodness, that is the way.” Because these new works are behind glass, in my mind I go in there. And I really, really love that. There is something magic about a stage. It’s very important. I am not happy with flat paintings anymore. I don’t know where it will go, but I am interested in more three-dimensional work.

The organic material in the work is a secret formula. Sometimes it’s a combination of things, but it’s something that helps me get that more three-dimensional look. Texture is another keyword. Texture is a magic thing, and I like organic phenomenon. I would say I Love—capital l—organic phenomenon.

I’m sure every painter has this, but there are fast and slow areas and a relationship between fast and slow. There are no rules, but there is this feel for how much fast goes with how much slow. I always say intuition—a feel—drives the boat––a feel. It doesn’t go, not in an intellectual way at all; it just goes because it feels correct that way. When it feels right, there is a burst of happiness and a burst of love. It’s incredible.

The “Figures” are part of a new series. There are things that are timeless, but these are really more people of today, in a way. I mean, people spat in medieval times, but there is something about spitting that people have more of in modern times, for me.

I like the painter Georg Baselitz, and he said that a gallery space is really supposed to be built for the paintings. So I think a lot of paintings end up being in places where the surroundings disturb the paintings. Some things putrefy the environment. I like minimal environments with little disturbance around the paintings.

Whenever you do anything, not whenever you do anything, but sometimes—when it gets magic—the whole is greater than the sum of the parts, so you don’t know what it will conjure in people. As soon as things get a little bit more abstract, the interpretations and the feelings while looking at the work greatly vary. Everyone that comes up in front of a thing gets a different thing, the more abstract it is.

Modern science now, quantum physics, has discovered the unified field at the base of all matter and anything that exists, anything that is a thing––so it’s at the base of all matter and of all mind. There it is, unity. It’s all throughout diversity and creation, but on the surface, we’re cut off from that deepest level––the unified field, ocean of consciousness. All meditation does is reestablish that contact. And once you reestablish the contact then you have the experience of that, not just the knowledge of that, but the experience. This experience is what is missing. When you experience the transcendent––the unified field—you unfold it; you start infusing it. With every experience, you infuse some of it. You grow consciousness. And it’s an “all-positive” level. There is no negativity there. It’s infinite unbounded bliss––intelligence, creativity, love, and energy––all there within every human being.

— As told to Stephanie Snyder