Heroes : Edward Hopper

Edward Hopper is an American realist of the first half of the 20th Century.  You can read up on him here via Wikipedia.

I’m not sure when I got into him, but I’m glad I did.  I identify with his work in a very similar way to that of Gregory Crewdson.  There’s the evocation of loneliness, introspection, voyeurism, mystery, and character depth by depicting (in many cases) these isolated people painted in harsh contrasts framed, or often contained, by some larger construct.

To the left, I chose to paste in “Nighthawks” because it’s one of the iconic images by Hopper, and from it, one can also see similarities to the works of Lynch, Scorsese, and Crewdson reminiscent ofTaxi Driver, or below, “Summer Evening”, which feels of Twin Peaks or Blue Velvet. 

I have a fascination with night and the way light can create these pools of contrast and drama.  In nighttime, we choose what to light and therefore what to see.  We also choose what to keep concealed, what to leave for the imagination to consider and maybe even obsess over.  I think that mystery of the dark areas is a beautiful thing and that depiction of the light areas, the way we choose to throw the light, really paints the story being told.

A friend of mine gave me the quote once by Leonard Misonne “The object is nothing; the light is everything.”










I was trying to find some interesting Hopper video on YouTube.  Maybe some footage of him working, but didn’t have any luck.  This is kind of an interesting clip someone put together of his work against “Town Without Pity” by Gene Pitney.  I don’t necessarily like the idea of listening to music when looking at paintings because I think it messes with your own interpretation, however, in this case, I do think this is an interesting work worth the few minutes.  (and if you want to just watch the slide show, hit mute).


Photographer : Gregory Crewdson

Gregory CrewdsonMy favorite thing to do at Barnes and Noble is to go to the photography section and build a massive stack of books.  I take them to someplace quiet and start flipping from back to front: loading up my imagination.  When I get full of one, I’ll move to someone different and just keep going back and forth until my brain is fully saturated. It was during one of these extended stays that I came across Gregory Crewdson’s book Twllight.

The cover grabbed me.  There was just something beautiful in the image of an Ophelia-like woman suspended in a mirror between the ordinary and surreal.  To me, it’s haunting in that way of a good movie or book: you leave the theatre, you finish the last sentence and still – the story continues replaying over and over in your head as you try to dig deeper and decipher every bit, look from every angle.  I love that feeling.  It’s the primary reason why I put David Lynch near the top of my director’s list : his stuff taps into me and the experience just keeps going weeks after I watch the movie.


Something has happened in his photos.  He creates the moment when, whether good or ill,something has transpired. I can’t help but be mesmerized by the mystery invoked.  I do not feel judgment, rather a surreal curiosity.  Many times his work carries that same kind of isolation and loneliness that I would see in Edward Hopper.  Curiosity becomes an almost voyeuristic fascination as we stand looking into a very private moment, oftentimes within the home itself.  Sometimes, I want to step through.  Sometimes, I just want to hold back and watch/listen; otherwise I might be too much the intruder.

You can read about Gregory Crewdson here, at Wikipedia.  His work is featured at the Luhring Augustine gallery.


Reach out and make a friend