The City of Absurdity   The City of Absurdity
Short Biography


"Eagle Scout Missoula Montana"

that's David Lynch's own four-word bio which he chose to characterize himself to the press in 1990. I don't want to make it that short.

1946 David Keith Lynch was born on January 20th in Missoula Montana

Lynch: "My father was a scientist for the Forest Service. He would drive me through the woods in his green Forest Service truck, over dirt roads, through the most beautiful forests where the trees are very tall and shafts of sunlight come down and in the mountain streams the rainbow trout leap out and their little trout sides catch glimpses of light. Then my father would drop me in the woods and go off. It was a weird, comforting feeling being in the woods. There were odd, mysterious things. That's the kind of world I grew up in."

"As a teenager, I was really trying to have fun 24 hours a day. I didn't start thinking until I was 20 or 21. I was doing regular goofball stuff."

"There was nothing much going on upstairs until the age of nineteen."

"My mother refused to give me colouring books as a child. She probably saved me, 'cause when you think about it, what a colouring book does is completely kill creativity."

Lynch has a younger brother and a younger sister.He grew up in Sandpoint, Idaho, Spokane, Washington, Durham, North Carolina and eventually Boise, Idaho.

Lynch: [His sister Margaret] "was afraid of green peas because they were hard on the outside and soft on the inside"

1961 He and his family move from the Pacific Northwest to Alexandria, Virginia

Lynch: "In a large city I realized there was a large amount of fear. Coming from the Northwest, it kind of hits you like a train."

1963-1964  Corcoran School of Art, Washington DC

1964-1965  Boston Museum School

1965 Sets off for Europe with his friend Jack Fisk to study with the expressionist painter Oskar Kokoschka in Salzburg, Austria. Trips to Paris, France, and eventually to Athens, Greece, but they returned to the U.S. after only 15 days

Lynch: "I didn't take to Europe. I was all the time thinking, this is where I'm going to be painting. And there was no inspiration there at all for the kind of work I wanted to do."

"I intended to stay three years. Instead, I stayed 15 days! I remember lying in an Athens basement with lizards crawling along the walls and contemplating that I was 7,000 miles from McDonalds!"

Back in Alexandria Lynch landed - and lost - a succession of jobs at a drugstore cigar counter, an art store, an engineering office and a frame shop

Lynch: ("The owner's name was Michelangelo - honest!')

"Whenever I was fired, it led somewhere else with new experiences. Each time I got axed, I was ecstatic!"
"But, after I'd cleaned a clogged toilet - a job no one else would touch - for five dollars, I'd have gone anywhere to get out of there."

Finally begins studies at the Pennsylvania Acadamy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia (PAFA)

Lynch: "It was a great time to be at the Academy. Schools have waves, and it just happened that I hit on a really rising, giant wave. There were so many good people at the school. And that really started everything rolling. I kind of got a feeling for things in terms of painting, and my own style kind of clicked in."

"The house I moved into was across the street from the morgue, next door to Pop's Diner. The area had a great mood - factories, smoke, railroads, diners, the strangest characters, the darkest nights. The people had stories etched in their faces, and I saw vivid images-plastic curtains held together with Band-Aids, rags stuffed in broken windows, walking through the morgue en-route to a hamburger joint."

"We lived cheap, but the city was full of fear. A kid was shot to death down the street, and the chalk marks around where he'd lain stayed on the sidewalk for five days. We were robbed twice, had windows shot out and a car stolen."

"One year I made a kind of electrical pool table, in which you dropped a ball-bearing which went down a ramp, setting off a whole series of contacts that first struck a match on a scraper to light a firecracker, then others opend the womans mouth, lit up a red bulb and made her scream when the firecracker exploded."
"I also did a series of "mechanical women", women who turned into typewriters."

1967 Graduates art school, his first animated film "Six Men Getting Sick" awarded the second annual Dr. W.S. Biddle Cadwalder Memorial Prize, PAFA.

"The Alphabet" awarded an AFI (American Film Institute) Grant

Gets married to his first wife Margaret (Peggy) Reavey when she's pregnant, and gave birth to his daughter Jennifer in April 1968.

1968 group exhibition at the William Barnett Galery, Philadelphia

1969 solo exhibition at the Paley Library Gallery, Philadelphia

1970 films "The Grandmother" with a $7200 AFI Grant

Moves to Los Angeles with his wife Peggy and daughter Jennifer, attends the AFI Center for Advanced Film Studies

1971 Begins work on "Eraserhead" script, various jobs during his work on "Eraserhead" like delivering the Wall Street Journal, installing hot water heaters or building sheds.

1972 Begins shooting "Eraserhead"

1974 Films "The Amputee"

divorce from Peggy Lynch (Peggy Reavey)

1976 "Eraserhead" completed

1977 March 19th, official "Eraserhead" premiere at Filmex in L.A.

Gets married to Mary Fisk (Jack Fisks sister).

1978 Signs contract with Mel Brooks and Brooksfilm to direct the "Elephant Man".

1979 Begins working on "Elephant Man" in London, group exhibition at the International Art Fair, Washington DC.


top next

The David Lynch Quote Collection | "Lynch on Lynch" | David Lynch main page
© Mike Hartmann