With roots originally in fashion illustration, I am flattered by and grateful for the extraordinary response I’ve received to what began one dreary northwest November day in 2011, as a capricious idea to create a present day homage to my favourite Film Noir and French New Wave films – an undertaking much easier said than done, but a labour of love all the same.
Over the past several years, I have frequently been asked why I’ve chosen such a fluid and contemporary approach to Film Noir, rather than using traditional noir symbolism.
In reply, I’ve never been one to circumscribe my approach to creativity, thus have shunned a narrow archetypal interpretation of Film Noir and chosen to limit my use of shady characters in dimly lit alleys, fedoras, garter belts and Venetian blinds. As well… you aren’t going to find any guns populating my canvases, because frankly, I don’t believe repetitive characters and themes, when used for the purposes of recognition or commercialism, necessarily result in anything apart from soulless art, which in the case of Film Noir, would result in a gross injustice.
The aesthetic of Film Noir, influenced by the powerful imagery of German Expressionism, calls into question such weighty topics as virtue and corruption, morality, redemption and paranoia, and it is each of these elements I find so compelling about the genre.
Visually, Noir is an urban, edgy-angled melodrama played out between tyrannical or effete men and defenseless or guileful femme fatales. It is, as well, a timeless abstract response to the emotional frailties of human nature, consistent elements I strive to incorporate into each of my canvases.
Following on from the aesthetic of 40’s and 50’s American noir, and drawing influence from the uncensored ‘Golden Age’ of neo-realism in Italian cinema, filmmakers such as Francois Truffaut, Jacques Demy, Claude Chabrol and Jean-Luc Godard, among others, rejected traditional filmmaking, as they embraced the sociopolitical atmosphere surrounding a post-war France, thus La Nouvelle Vague (The French New Wave) was born.
Exploring existential themes while developing innovative filmmaking techniques such as jump cut editing, the French New Wave directors were masters of narrative ambiguity. As this theme is such a prominent influence on nearly all of my past compositions, I’m excited to soon exhibit my Nouvelle Vague series – put on temporary hold due to COVID, but one I hope will be as well-received as my 9-year commitment to the art of Noir.