David Lynch is an iconoclast amidst cookie cutter Hollywood. His willingness to stay true to his personal visions and his love for creating is definitely why he is an artistic genius.
David Lynch isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. For every person that likes his films, there will be one that doesn’t. Then again, to each his own.
As a long time admirer of his efforts, I will be the first to admit that not every project is a home run. There were portions of Twin Peaks: The Return that I found to be self-indulgent but overall, it was a masterful work of art.
What sets Lynch apart from other creators is his Zen like approach to his craft. In interviews, he can be frustrating because he is a huge believer in not assigning meaning to his productions.
It is that willingness to let the audience draw their own conclusions about his movies that is extremely admirable. Considering most of the entertainment world is crafting overt messages in their mediums of choice which can be distracting.
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In these modern times, when it seems as if the world has come to a screeching halt, at least we can take solace in the fact that we live in the digital age where an amazing film library is literally at our fingertips. There is some comfort in knowing that we can watch our favorite movies to get us through those dark moments.
That is why I decided to celebrate David Lynch. Here are the reasons why I feel he is an artistic genius.
His Love of Ideas
Lynch is in love with ideas. So much so, that he likens the process to “catching fish.” In a 2016 article in Mindfully Alive, the director talked about getting inspired while daydreaming.
For him, opening his mind up and allowing bits and pieces of information to come to him is usually the genesis of a film project. He doesn’t know where the abstract concepts will take him but eventually, he arrives at the destination.
His willingness to trust in the universe for guidance, could explain why his films are so original in their approach to various genres. One thing is for certain, his productions are never boring.
Treatment of Actors
For some directors, actors are a nuisance. They don’t see them as partners in their projects, instead, they are a means to an end.
That is not the case with David. He is deeply supportive of the people he collaborates with and that is why whenever he calls, stalwarts like Kyle MacLachlan and Laura Dern are ready to spring into action.
He respects thespians and the feeling is mutual. Fourteen years ago, Lynch didn’t have the money to do a full-fledged Oscar campaign for Dern for her performance in Inland Empire.
Undeterred and determined to see that his leading lady got recognized for her incredible contributions to his movie, the director set up camp on the corner of Hollywood Blvd and La Brea with a cow. Of course, the bovine was random like much of what David does so he did get attention. Unfortunately, Laura did not get a nomination.
Doesn’t Spoonfeed His Audience
One of the many reasons why I enjoy David Lynch as an artist is the fact that he allows me to use my brain. His movies don’t use music cues to tell me how to feel. He trusts that I will draw my own conclusion about the “meaning” of the story.
For some, the finale of Twin Peaks: The Return was confusing and they wanted Lynch to explain. His response, “Ideas came, and this is what they presented.”
Sure, it is frustrating for the interviewer but it makes sense. Must we always have a clear-cut answer to everything? Real life doesn’t afford that luxury.
It’s okay, not to have a story full of beats and measures. Sometimes, just sitting back and enjoying a film instead of deciphering it or breaking it down can be immensely fulfilling.
Lives the Art Life
The concept of the “Art Life” is that there are no distractions keeping you from your craft. You devote your energy to creating.
That all encompassing dedication can cost you certain relationships which Lynch found out during the course of his life and several marriages. However, living for one’s passion and the idea of doing what you love for a living is hugely appealing.
Knows the Secret to Keeping Creativity Alive
David Lynch has been practicing Transcendental Meditation for over 45 years. He started going “within” to combat anger and depression issues that he was experiencing in the past.
Once he started removing that noise through being still and allowing his brain to rest, he found that his stress melted away and as a result his creative drive kicked into gear. For artists, this is like the key to the Holy Grail.
When we are unencumbered and not bogged down with negativity, we can dream bigger and create more. Just look at David Lynch’s filmography and see how TM has helped him realize his visions.
You can find various David Lynch films on Netflix, Showtime, Hulu, CBS All Access, Disney+, HBO Max, Kanopy, hoopla and Amazon Prime.
Let us know what your favorite David Lynch films are in the comments.