I was recently asked what gives my painting a certain look. Well colour is one thing but honestly I don't really see things in colour when I'm creating a piece. For me it is all about light and dark. The battle, and sometimes harmony of the extreme in values. Of course, I am well aware that my work plays off this metaphorically as well as aesthetically. My influences are simple…silent films. The play of light and shadow in those early cinematic endeavours weighed heavy on my artistic sensibilities.
Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
This is a GREAT film! If you haven't seen it you must. It's a dark tale of a murderous sleepwalker and his master. What is truly amazing about this film is that it is as if the characters walked into a German Expressionist Painting. I've learned more about painting watching this film than I learned in school.
Another spectacular film is Fritz Lang's Metropolis. Light and dark galore but, perhaps, what I get the most from this film is symmetry. Lang has a very symmetrical film style that appeals to my shrine-obsessed nature.
F.W. Murnau is mostly known for his vampiristic treat, Nosferatu. And though it is a classic that changed the world, my favourite is his Faust. If I were to think of what I gained artistically from Murnau, I reckon that it would be the hazy, foggy feel his scenes seem to have. Light and dark, but through a mist.
So the moral of the story…you can sometimes learn more about a particular medium by looking elsewhere.