Which of David Lynch’s Non-Movie Projects Are Actually Lynchian?

David Lynch/Powerhouse Books

David Lynch’s creativity doesn’t limit itself to his movies: Over the years, the beloved auteur has dabbled in music, photography, sculpture, carpentry, and, of course, amateur meteorology. With his latest non-cinematic project, Dark Night of the Soul — the awesome, troubled Danger Mouse–Sparklehorse album for which Lynch created an accompanying photo book — in stores this week, Vulture takes a look back through Lynch’s many projects, examining them on the basis of their Lynchian qualities. What, exactly, constitutes Lynchian? David Foster Wallace explains: “A regular domestic murder is not Lynchian, but if the police come to the scene and the man and the cops have this conversation that the man killed the woman because she persistently refused to buy, say for instance, Jiff peanut butter rather then Skippy, and how very, very important that is, and if the cops found themselves somehow agreeing that there are major differences between the brands and that a wife who doesn’t recognize those differences was deficient in her wifely duties, that would be Lynchian.” Got it? Okay, good. Here we go.

Lynch actually pitches in vocals on Dark Night, but his primary contribution was “visuals”: a 100-page photo book accompanying the album, featuring such memorable images as a family sitting down to a dinner of a giant head and a disembodied hand holding a tiny sheep. Lynchian?: Yep!
Hard to speak for the totality of Lynch’s work in the field, but the story behind this particular sculpture — a bleeding, decapitated cow that has the words “eat my fear” scrawled onto it that was submitted by Lynch and summarily rejected for the public art project CowParade NYC 2000 — fits in right along the man’s movies. Lynchian?: Yes.
His abstract works, with titles like She Wasn’t Fooling Anyone, She Was Hurt and She Was Hurt Bad, Billy Finds a Book of Riddles Right in His Own Backyard, and A Bug Dreams of Heaven are certainly odd. But where’s the twist? Lynchian?: No.
Yes, David Lynch makes furniture. Why? Because “to my mind, most tables are too big and they’re too high. They shrink the size of the room and eat into space and cause unpleasant mental activity.” Sounds like a completely reasonable complaint to us! Still, David Lynch makes furniture. Lynchian?: Just barely.
From 1982 to 1993, David Lynch drew a weekly comic strip called “The Angriest Dog in the World,” carried in the L.A. Reader, Creative Loafing, and New York Press. Outside of some tweaks, the images never changed: three identical boxes of a dog that looks like a shark tied up in a yard, and then one of the shark-dog tied up at night. Sample dialogue: “If everything is real … the nothing is real as well.” Lynchian?: Yes.
In 2001, Lynch collaborated with John Neff on an album called BlueBob, playing guitar and writing the lyrics. It was officially self-described as “a music idea based on the pounding machinery of the smokestack industry and the raw amplified birth of rock and roll. [I]nspired by machines, fire, smoke and electricity” and “beats like machines, like dogs on PCP — when they bite down you feel it.” So, exactly what you’d expect from a David Lynch album. Lynchian?: More or less.
David Lynch loves coffee. David Lynch wanted to have his own coffee. David Lynch created the “David Lynch Signature Cup.” What part of that doesn’t make sense? Lynchian?: No, just sensible.
Which of David Lynch’s Non-Movie Projects Are Actually Lynchian?