I was 15 when I first gazed at Tina. I had seen her before in pictures but never in the flesh. But there she was in my favourite vintage shop her eyelids heavy with lashes, pinky orange lips parted staring out at me- she was beautiful. At that moment I fell in love with her.
“Tina” the name of this an iconic picture is painted by my namesake and inspiration the painter J.H. Lynch during the early 1960s. I saw my first ever Lynch painting in a my favourite vintage shop growing up called Attica in Newcastle. It is still to this day jam packed with vintage clothes and furniture with beautiful 60s ashtrays gleaming like sweets, and velvet jackets hung next to Edwardian shirts. I used to go there and browse wearing my first vintage purchase a 70s Burberry Mac ( which I used to get called ‘Flasher!’ for wearing-rainwear being obviously controversial in sportswear ridden 1999 Newcastle.
“Tina” captured my imagination and right then became the quintessential 1960s fantasy woman to me, more ‘Bond’ than a Bond girl. She is so perfect I wonder if she was a real person? Sadly the probably the only person who can truly tell me, the reclusive J.H. lynch, died in 1989 aged 78.
And so my love affair with the Lynch girls began, even though I discovered them in my teens I only bought my first print 5 years ago ‘Autumn Leaves’ followed quickly by ‘Tina’.
With my interest renewed I wanted to find out more about the artist and I found this excellent (and the only) website http://www.jhlynch.org/ by Mario Klingemann. Lynch’s paintings were mass produced throughout the 60s, they were even sold through Boots the Chemist. He died in 1989 destroying much of his work, as he never received the critical acclaim he deserved. Subsequently very little information is known about him. Acording to Klingemann’s website the originals are in the possession of his nephew. (lucky him!)
J.H. Lynch’s early pictures were of country scenes and then he started painting these goddesses! I wonder what first inspired him to do so? Was it a woman he knew? Did he paint from life?
I get the feeling that some of the paintings might been inspired by photographs and then exaggerated into a gorgeous ‘Lynchian’ vision of woman that is almost cartoonish. I think “Autumn Leaves” might have been inspired by this picture of Jean Shrimpton. What do you think?
I think it’s sad that Lynch never felt appreciated in his lifetime. Admittedly these paintings are not perhaps ‘technically’ brilliant, the bodies are sometimes a little off (See Tina’s shoulder) and some might argue that these paintings are simply not ‘art’ but wall decoration. They are to me missing the point and the magic of Lynch. While Lynch’s paintings have become almost a visual shorthand for 60s kitsch they mean more than that to me. 1000s of prints were produced because the are beautiful and fantastical and who doesn’t need some of that?
I chose the stage name ‘Agent Lynch’ because I want to be on stage one part Bond Girl and one part mysterious Lynch like nymph. Having a stage name, and I think this is true for most performers especially burlesque, allows you to create a character that gives you a licence to be who ever you want to be when you perform. This fiction of character allows me to create and perform something I would simply lack the confidence to do if just plain old ‘Kate’. I would feel naked on stage as Kate, as Lynch it feels almost natural. (what a floozy)
And while I will never know if Tina or Lisa really existed, I know Lynch had a love affair with them if only in his mind. I can see these beautiful creatures now running barefoot through the moss with big hair, eyelashes and pouting lusciously next to trees swathed in silk (well ok ploy-mix satin) and I like to think of them all cooing over J.H. Lynch in heaven finally united with his creations. As I grow older Tina will always be perfect to me- and as I’m looking at her now she looks pretty darn good for 72. How does she do it?
Here is my homage to the Lynch girls shot by the uber talented fashion photographer Wendy Bevan. www.wendybevan.com
Places of Lynchian interest: please do mail me if you have any more using contact link above.
www.mrlynch.co.uk Newcastle bar decorated with Lynch paintings and orginal 60s furniture. Groovy baby.
www.atticavintage.co.uk an Aladin’s cave of vintage(and the occasional Lynch)also in my home town Newcastle
http://tinawesaluteyou.com/ My wonderful local coffee shop in Dalston London which is named after and features Lynch’s most popular painting.