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David Lynch

Updated: Mar 13, 2020

Lynch Artist to Film Maker

Born January 20th 1946 in small-town Missoula Montana USA, this small-town setting will go on to be a familiar feature in his films.

Lynch spent his childhood moving from state to state as his father was a research Scientist.

Attending various art schools due to his constant relocation, one art school allocated in a violent and run-down area of Philadelphia, would contribute to the inspiration for Eraserhead.

Lynch married his first wife in 1967 aged twenty-one. And his daughter Jennifer was born in 1968, the marriage and birth would be the second contributing factor for Eraserhead

Lynch went on to have another 3 children all to different wife's, two sons Riley, Austin and his second daughter Lula was born in 2012 when Lynch was 66 years old.

All of Lynch’s wife's have either worked on or appeared in his films and tv shows.

Lynch's three eldest children have also appeared in his movies and tv shows. They have gone on to forge their own careers in movie and television.

Lynch studied painting at Boston Museum school and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. Whilst at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts he mostly painted where he was living. but he also had a small cubical in a big large studio within the school.

Whilst in his cubical one night he was painting a garden at night mostly black with some green coming out. David heard some wind looked at the painting and seen the green moving and this inspired him to create moving paintings with sound.

This led to the creation of his first film on a one-minute loop titled Six men getting sick

His second film the Alphabet would go on to help David become the film maker he is now.

With the Alphabet and another script David had wrote he won an independent filmmaker grant from the American Film Institute.

Using the grant, he created a movie called the Grandmother where a young boy plants some strange seeds and they grow into a grandmother.

The Grandmother got Lynch accepted to the centre for advanced film studies AFI in Los Angeles, this is where he made Eraserhead which took 5 years to complete he also created a short film the Amputee during this time.

The school at that time was fifty-five room mansions on a hill in the best part of Beverly hills which was surrounded by 18 acres of land, there where car garages, hay lofts, maids’ quarters and stables. David was able to use practically all of these facilities for sound stages and sets for over 4 years helping to create Eraserhead.

Mel brooks was advised by Stuart Cornfeld to give David the opportunity to do the Elephant Man on the strength of Eraserhead David had to sit and wait outside of the screening of Eraserhead for Mel and once finished Mel burst the doors open embraced David and said “I love you, you’re a mad man and you’re in”

This launched David’s career to Oscar Nominee level for best director.

Not too long ago there was a list of Lynch’s all-time favourite films and directors, in this list he discusses how he has often turned to music as a source of inspiration for his films, Roy Orbison’s ‘In Dreams’ and ‘Blue Velvet’ by Bobby Vinton are just a few songs he found inspiration in. Lynch states “It was the song that sparked the movie,” Lynch once said listening to ‘Blue Velvet’ inspired his film of the same name. Stating “There was something mysterious about it. It made me think about things. And the first things I thought about were lawns – lawns and the neighbourhood,”.

In the same list Lynch honours the works of Federico Fellini, a filmmaker that has had a great impact on Lynch’s cinematic outlook. In a interview with the Guardian, Lynch discusses in more detail the Fellini influence: “Federico Fellini is one of the all-time great film-makers and 8½ is maybe my favourite of his – I did a whole series of lithographs based on the last scenes in that movie,”.

In a Manchester exhibition Lynch will have a dedicated room to show films that have impacted him over the years, Lynch goes on to say: “The Wizard of Oz is a cosmic film and meaningful on many, many different levels, and ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ is one of the most beautiful songs ever.” More films will be showing as part of the exhibition, Lynch continues: “And I deeply love Sunset Boulevard for how it captures the golden age of Hollywood and its fall. It’s just a great Hollywood story.


Academy Awards, USA

Honorary Award Winner 2020

Best Director - Mullholland Drive, Nominee 2002

Best Director - Blue Velvet, Nominee 1987

Best Director – The Elephant Man, Nominee 1981

Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium,

Nominee 1981 shared with Christopher De Vore, Eric Bergen

David has been nominated for four Global Awards

Nine Primetime Emmy Awards

Two Bafta Awards

These are just a small amount of all the Awards David has been nominated and won over his entire career

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