“I think every time you do something, like a painting or whatever, you go with ideas, and sometimes the past can conjure those ideas and colour them. Even if they’re new ideas, the past colours them.” It was this line, delivered by David Lynch at the beginning of Jon Nguyen’s compelling documentary, that not only opened up the colourful backstory to one of Hollywood’s most intriguing and fetishised filmmakers but also helped Nguyen and his colleagues when pasting together three years of footage.
Every frame and line of David Lynch: The Art Life is steeped in anecdotes from everyday encounters to deeper interactions with the artist’s father and peers. It’s a personal piece of work about a man who normally lets his work do the talking – something that will be happening a lot when his hugely anticipated Twin Peaks revival hits screens this spring.
In Nguyen’s documentary, however, Lynch cautiously divulges the details of his life right up until he began filming his debut feature Eraserhead. It’s a rich backstory that can instantly be applied to the characters, narratives and overall aesthetic that he so carefully creates for the screen. In The Art Life, we see Lynch apply the same stories to his more physical creations, pushing paint around with his bare hands,kneading doughy substances into bubbling masses and spending quiet moments with his daughter in his workshop.
This article appears in full in Issue 77 of Aesthetica Magazine. For more information or to pick up a copy: www.aestheticamagzine.com/shop
1. Trailer for David Lynch: The Art Life. Courtesy of Thunderbird Releasing.