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Of course in this image I'm influenced by Edward Hopper. Has anyone who has seen his paintings not influenced by him? He's like that tune you can't stop whistling. His color palettes and drawing techniques are so American. It's amazing to me that Hopper came along so early in the last century and yet still influences designers of the hottest cutting edge films.
Hopper’s most cherished paintings are seventy to ninety years old now and his oils have darkened, lending a brooding mood to what were probably much lighter statements. I thought about cranking down the vibrancy of Early Sunday Morning over Lancaster but wondered whether I’d be influenced by Hopper or by what’s come to be considered Hopper as his messages to us pass through time.
Look at this darker take on Early Sunday Morning. I’ve incorporated what Hopper’s critics now call his poem to urban American drabness. They say that this darkened palette captures suspended moments of great pessimistic clarity even as a new day dawns. Maybe, or maybe he bought a box of oils that lacked archival permanence.
Suppose I’m right. Suppose that Hopper painted in the vivacious hues of the image I’ve led with up above. So what are we to think of his ideas today? Or are they his ideas? If it is your intention to build a grand three story building and long after your death a quake levels it to a cute one story structure… Can we judge your intent from what’s left?
And doesn’t the same thing happen when the image stays exactly the same as you intended and culture changes over the years? When different eyes and minds interpret your image, are the ideas and feelings that are communicated yours?
Yeah, I’m influenced by Edward Hopper’s paintings. But, I wonder how much I’m influenced by what forty-something Edward Hopper set out to communicate seventy five years ago? And I wonder if future generations visit my work, or yours, how much that we intend our images to carry to them will have faded in the overlay of their beliefs?
Which leads me to a question: At the moment you release a work into the wild, do you retain any control over its meaning? Is any other meaning as valid as yours? I think that what comes through a time tunnel is what the people on the other side want to come through. And it is quite possible that relatively little, if any of your intentions will withstand the scrubbing of time.