David Lynch Takes Center Stage In The Art Life

Although he is one of the most immediately recognizable directors in film history, David Lynch originally wanted to be an artist. As his early work evolved, he settled upon the description “film paintings” to describe defiantly transmedia efforts like The Grandmother, Six Men Getting Sick, and the epochal, influential Eraserhead.

This interplay and flux between disciplines takes center stage in the new documentary, David Lynch: The Art Life, filmed in the Hollywood Hills compound where I once visited the director for a series of interviews. Read below for more details on both:

“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 color them, even if they’re new ideas, the past colors them.”
– David Lynch

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David Lynch: The Art Life is an intimate journey through the formative years of his life, from his idyllic upbringing in small-town America to the dark, industrial streets of Philadelphia. The film traces the events that have helped to shape one of cinema’s most enigmatic directors. Directed by Jon Nguyen, Rick Barnes and Olivia Neergaard-Holm, David Lynch: The Art Life will make its North American premiere at DOC NYC on November 13th, and open theatrically in March 2017.

David Lynch: The Art Life is infused with Lynch’s own art, music and early films, shining a light into the dark corners of his unique world, and giving audiences a better understanding of the man and the artist. We’re invited into and given a private viewing of Lynch’s compound and painting studio in the hills high above Hollywood, as he retells personal stories from his past that unfold like scenes from his films. Strange characters come into focus, only to fade again into the past, leaving an indelible mark on Lynch, the artist.

We become witness to the fears, misunderstandings and struggles that Lynch overcomes, and along the way meet the various people that have helped to mold him. It became evident early in Lynch’s life that he views the world differently, absorbing its shadows and weaving a dream-like tapestry for audiences worldwide to become tangled in.

This film is dedicated to Lynch’s youngest daughter and serves as a personal memoir from father to daughter. By pulling back the curtains on an icon the film hopes to uncover the individual: David Lynch.


Back in 2006, Lynch was reluctant to sit down for interviews during the making of LYNCH ONE, but we felt he was nearing a point in his life where he would become more inclined to reflect back on his life. The birth of his youngest daughter in 2012 was a turning point for us. Over the next 3 years, we recorded over 20 audio conversations with Lynch at his home. David Lynch, the storyteller, took us on a journey through his early years, reflecting back at the events and people that have left their indelible marks on him. We learn about the journey that the young artist took and about the internal struggles that still shape him to this day. Hearing about Lynch’s life, we discover how his art and films have become so colored by his own life, reflecting ideas and moods that have originated from his personal experiences