Why Noir? Begin the béguin
A series on how film noir inspires my art- Entry #2
How did I start my film noir obsession?
I was in a state of transition with my art. Unsatisfied with the work I had been doing at that time, I went back to basics and started experimenting, and taking classes from Mark Andres. I was engaging in an exercise to copy a film still in the style of a painter of my choice. My choice was to do a still from The Bad and the Beautiful, in the style of the German Expressionist, Max Beckmann. I entitled it “Lana Turner Lost in the Land of Beckmann” The drama of the subject, matched with the freedom of Expressionist painting was a revelation.
I was hooked.
At first, I created my art directly from screenshots of films. They were very altered, but from specific scenes. Gradually, the images kept getting more and more altered, until I started to create my own scenes.
Now ideas emerge from multiple sources. I may be inspired from a film scene or photograph, or I may want to express something from my own imagination. The people I paint are slivers of my own soul, maybe even archetypes of our collective soul.
The scenes in my artwork are presented without irony and are imbued with an immediacy which invites the viewer to step into the scene as a contemporary moment. If we could walk through the picture frame and become part of the action. If this could be possible, what would you see, and who would be there?
Why Noir? is a series! Read 'em all.
Entry #1: Why Noir?
A series on how film noir inspires my art- Entry #1
I am an artist who is inspired by the past. As a narrative painter, I feel compelled to tell a story with my art. For a number of years now, my subject matter has been primarily based on classic film noir imagery.
So, I feel I must ask myself, why noir? Why do I feel myself drawn to this imagery?
Film Noir? Qu'est-ce que c'est?
The hey-day of this film genre is roughly the 1940’s and 50’s. But, the term "Film Noir" was coined by French film critics later, in the 1960’s. At the time, they were simply known as “crime pictures” inspired by American hardboiled crime fiction. They were largely “B” movies with a tight budget.
Many of them were made by European émigrés escaping the Nazis. They brought with them a grounding in what is called “German Expressionism”.
The term “noir” has since expanded to not just describe a moment in movie history, but to describe a sensibility, that can be infused into any form of expression.
To read more about film noir, you can read my posts:
A Brief Primer on Film Noir Part One: The Formal Visual Elements
A Brief Primer on Film Noir Part Two: Oh, the Drama!
Or better yet!
Why Noir? is a series! Read 'em all.
What is a Blog?
Okay. If you are reading this, you may think I'm mad, because, obviously, this is a blog.
But, it recently came to my attention that not everyone really understands what a blog is. Since I am about to release a blog series, I thought it would be a good idea to just spell it all out.
Typically, blogs are arranged in reverse chronological order, newest going down to oldest. It is as if you collected a daily newspaper, and stacked them all up on the floor: the newest would be on top. The oldest at the bottom.
A few more details:
On the side bar, there are ways to find specific entries or subjects under "categories" and "archives". There is even a search bar, where you can do a mini-google-type search on the blog.
There is also a way to make comments on my blog, just below each entry. The comment gets kicked over to my email box, where I can decide whether I want my readers to see the comment or not. If I do want that, I "publish" it, and it will be seen just below.
A bit of history...
I started my blog at blogspot.com in 2008, even before I had a website. In May, 2022, I switched away from Blogspot to to this blog, which is hosted by Weebly, the company that hosts my website.
This means that I essentially have two blogs. I was able to switch some of my entries from the old blog to the new, but the original Blogspot version has many, many more entries, and if you ever become obsessed and want to know about my artistic history, that is where you'd go. But all new posts will be hosted right here.
Here are the hotsheets with the sordid details, the true confessions, and the inside info on my artistic process. Learn how it all happens right here!
Not seeing what you're looking for? My previous blog on blogspot can be found HERE.