Classic Films and Filmmakers, Rendered in Woodcut By a Los Angeles Artist-Cinephile

A great many indus­tri­ous cinephiles live in Los Ange­les. It’s no mis­take, for instance, that those rock-and-roll auteur shirts you see around come from there. In fact, I write you from that very town, to which I moved for a vari­ety of rea­sons relat­ed to my film habit. While I may not count myself as par­tic­u­lar­ly indus­tri­ous, I do count myself as a cinephile, and I can thus appre­ci­ate a project of gen­uine film-lov­ing indus­try like Loren Kan­tor’s clas­sic movie wood­cuts and linocuts.

Tak­ing Hol­ly­wood and its fringes as inspi­ra­tion, Kan­tor cre­ates strik­ing, high-con­trast black-and-white images that bring icons of con­tem­po­rary cul­ture into a far old­er aes­thet­ic realm. And who counts as more of an icon of con­tem­po­rary cul­ture — at least, I sense, in the minds of most Open Cul­ture read­ers — than David Lynch? Kan­tor’s wood­cut, seen above, cap­tures the air of simul­ta­ne­ous unflag­ging whole­some­ness and infi­nite dark­ness that swirls about the direc­tor and his films.

Or per­haps you con­sid­er Steve Busce­mi more rel­e­vant to our times; in that case, Kan­tor has cre­at­ed a wood­cut of him as well, one that evokes the actor’s alter­nat­ing lay­ers of worn-down malaise and pecu­liar alert­ness. Just above, you’ll see Kan­tor going in a dif­fer­ent direc­tion with a ren­di­tion of the poster for Man­hat­tan, one of Woody Allen’s most beloved New York pic­tures. “I fell in love with wood­cuts in the 80’s when I attend­ed a Ger­man Expres­sion­ist art show at LA Coun­ty Muse­um,” Kan­tor tells Open Cul­ture. “The stark lines and brusque images remind­ed me of film noir clas­sics.”  Should you ever find your­self in Los Ange­les with time to take in a movie screen­ing at the Los Ange­les Coun­ty Muse­um of Art, pay a vis­it down­stairs, to the floor below the the­ater. There, through­out the hall­way, the muse­um dis­plays the posters for all its Ger­man Expres­sion­ist art shows — includ­ing the one that inspired these wood­cuts in the first place.

To view more of Kan­tor’s work, vis­it Wood Cut­ting Fool: Jour­ney of a Carv­ing Enthu­si­ast or this recent spread on Brain­Pick­ings.

Col­in Mar­shall hosts and pro­duces Note­book on Cities and Cul­ture. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall.

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.