Jon Nguyen, Rick Barnes and Olivia Neergaard-Holm could have not filmed David Lynch – The Art Life differently and still paid a fair tribute to the artist. Here, Lynch is seen out of his element, but more comfortable and at peace with himself than in anything else he’s made. He is combining materials and making dreadful, nightmarish art, while telling anecdotes of his past, speaking to a random microphone hanging in a dimly lit hut and listening to atmospheric music with his toddler daughter. Lynch seems to live the way we would have imagined him to, spending his time layering absurd textures and looking at the world around him in the most unique way.
The filmmakers respect the artist and look up to him, even when his creations become perplexing. His art is indeed of a questionable quality – which he knows and openly admits. He doesn’t care, he’s having the time of his life. He’s alone with his thoughts, away from people, making art, listening to music, spending time with his family and not having to work to make money. There is nobody he’s angry with and he comes from a very warm, tight, loving family, which allowed him to start one like that of his own. He’s a nonconformist, but it is invigorating to meet an artist who’s rebelling out of principle, not necessity.
Approaching a filmmaker’s mind to find that it is not frustration that has led him here, but rather sensitivity, curiosity and wonder is refreshing. His films are dreams gone bad, and his art follows the same path too. In fact, I was surprised to discover that it was the art which came first, and Eraserhead that followed, as a result of Lynch looking for ways to put his art into motion. This is why so much of his focus has always been on the colours, textures and dreaminess of the sequences, rather than the story he’s telling.
Read at Unsung Films: Eraserhead.
At some point in David Lynch – The Art Life, the artist tells a story about a naked woman approaching him as a boy. He doesn’t remember the incident clearly, not does he really know what that was all about. But he knows how it made him feel, what it evoked in him, and that is what it has left behind. That is typical Lynch. It’s not about the moment, it’s about how the moment felt. That’s the memory it leaves behind and that’s what’s worth turning into art, since that’s all you have to work with and elaborate on, try to untangle, relieve or eradicate once and for all.
What I found really interesting was Lynch‘s unwillingness and disinterest in leaving his home/studio. He seems to have created such a comfortable and safe parallel universe there, that there is nowhere better for him to be. He doesn’t hate people, not is he hiding from them, but he has now secured the means necessary in order to pass his days doing what he loves, having reached that wonderful point in any artist’s life where validation is obsolete and reaching compromises is not required. He is right where he needs to be, even if he seems out of place to us.
Watch David Lynch – The Art Life even if it is just for the ultimate comic relief moment when he tells us about his father and brother staging an intervention trying to wake him up and shake him back into an ordinary work life, when it was clear that his artistic endeavours were not going to secure him and his family a comfortable living. That made me laugh out loud as well as made me realise that if it has happened to Lynch, it’s bound to happen to all of us at some point in our lives and we shouldn’t take it personally.
Watch the trailer for David Lynch – The Art Life here:
David Lynch – The Art Life at IMDb
David Lynch – The Art Life at Facebook
David Lynch at Wikipedia
David Lynch – The Art Life (awards won and nominated for) at IMDb