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(Credit: Far Out / Alamy)

Film

Watch David Lynch and Patti Smith discuss artistic inspiration

David Lynch and Patti Smith are titans of their fields and their contributions to their respective art forms can hardly be forgotten by anyone. In an interesting segment by the BBC, they decided to put the two in the same room together to see what discussions were possible and the result was incredibly fascinating and enriching.

Lynch and Smith’s discussion revolved around the theme of artistic inspiration, a question that has perplexed artists for ages. On previous occasions, Lynch has compared the process to fishing and has said that the fragments of ideas are like fishes. Over time, you catch enough to complete the bigger picture and have the adequate resources to embark on a coherent artistic endeavour.

While discussing the same ideas, Smith revealed that her song ‘Grateful’ actually came to her mind as a fully-formed work in a moment of spontaneous artistic inspiration. In her mind, she saw a vision of Jerry Garcia smiling at her when she was feeling anxious about the thought of ageing and her hair turning silver.

Smith claimed that the formation of this song was immediate despite the fact that she often “laboured” over her work. For Lynch, the process of artistic inspiration was a long and tedious one, as he explained: “It’s as if in the other room, there’s a puzzle… and the first piece I get is just a fragment of the whole puzzle, but I fall in love with this fragment, and it holds a promise for more.”

During their conversation, Smith even spoke about how the works of Lynch had impacted her by referring to the image of that severed ear on the grass in Blue Velvet and claiming that it really scared her. When she asked Lynch about how that image came to his mind, he spoke about Bobby Vinton’s interpretation of the ‘Blue Velvet’ song.

Even though he did not like it at first, Lynch heard it after a gap of a few years and ideas started popping into his mind. The image that entered his mind at first was “red lips at night in a car and green lawns with some dew” which was followed up with the iconic image of that severed ear. From those fragments, Lynch managed to construct a fascinating neo-noir about human depravity, morality and suburban ennui which is now regarded as one of his finest works.

Watch the conversation between David Lynch and Patti Smith below.