Wednesday, March 28, 2012
The next portrait in my series of watercolors is none other than the Spanish surrealist Salvador Dali. I think, Dali more than any other painter has influenced the way that I think as a painter or an illustrator. Well, pretty much any thing I do, that is. When I was very young, one of my buddies parents had a copy of Dali's painting the Bread basket, from 1926 hanging in their dining room. Of course, I had no idea that this was a Dali painting at the time, not even knowing who he was. But I do remember on many occasions just staring at it marveling at the odd texture of the crust wondering just what kind of bread it was. Later on I would find many similarities between that textured crust and the cliffs of Cadaques, which he had as a backdrop in many of his paintings.
Another early encounter with a Dali image was when I purchased my first book of the painter's works when I was about 19 or 20. On the cover was the painting Dream Caused By The Flight Of A Bee Around A Pomegranate A Second Before Awakening (You just have to love the lengthy Dalinian titles!). Instantly I was taken back to a moment when I was very young. The tiger in the painting was used on a program when I saw the Shrine Circus at old Olympia Stadium in Detroit years before. That exact tiger leaping forward. I doubt that he ever gave permission for its use, but yet another unknowing Dali encounter.
So, fast forward to my early twenties and completely absorbing as much as I could about Dali's life and works. These were exciting times for me. I spent much time exploring the possibilities of surrealism and symbolism, which Dali was actually a painter of, especially after breaking with the surrealist movement. He however remains forever their poster child. Paintings such as Autumn Cannabailsm, Meditation On The Harp, Millet's Architectural Angelus, The Spectre Of Sex-Appeal, The Anthropomorphic Chest Of Drawers, and The Invention Of Monsters challenged the way that I looked at art, including my own and the world. Beauty, horror, madness and genius all wrapped into one.
To this day I am always revisiting his works recharging my surrealist batteries and always rowing through some dreamscape or another.
In the above watercolor I chose to depict Dali as a young man wild-eyed and with a delirious future ahead of him.
If anyone is interested in any of these portraits they are available for purchase through the River's Edge Gallery in Wyandotte, MI.