I like this picture: “Nighthawks” by Edward Hopper

“Nighthawks”, Edward Hopper, 1942; Wikipedia

Let me tell you why I like this picture.

I like it because it captures every curious thought I’ve ever had about people I don’t know.  I like that you can go back time and again and tell a different story about the scene before you.  I like that the people in the picture all look like they would rather be anywhere else but here.  I like that the pavement is too big.  I like that the cigars cost five cents.  I like that the guy serving looks like a sailor and the woman looks like every man’s midnight dream, and we all know she’d walk out on us by six.  I like that it looks like life’s tough but here’s some kind of light.  I like the night-shut street and the blankness of the city.  I like that it looks real but can only be fake.  I like how the hunched over man looks beaten sometimes and sometimes like he’s plotting his next move.  I like that you can play jazz to it and think about Philip Marlowe stories.  I like that it’s universal and specific.  I like that I’ve been in late night places and hunched over a drink and wondered what the fuck was going on with the world and here’s my painting.  I like that you can never get an answer.  I like that this is a painting that is universally known but is still art worth appreciating.  I like that the Simpsons spoofed it when the Simpsons was still funny.  I like the skill that goes into making such simple brush strokes reveal so much yet leave so much hidden.  I like how everyone thinks they’re Edward Hopper and yet so few are.  I like that I’ve seen it in two different art galleries but the first time I fell for it was on a postcard a few inches high.  I like how the story starts again every time you look at it.

That’s why I like it.

Now read more.

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