Naomi and Dali: Anticipation

The Great Masturbator, Salvador Dali. 1929

Talking about sex is either two things: icky or pornographic. I can sort of promise not to touch on either of those two but I am possibly the WORST person to speak on this topic because I think that sex is absolutely hilarious! However, I had a long talk with one of my classy friends about sex today and I think I got the worst of the 13 year old boy out of my system and I’m ready to be a big girl about this now.

So, why even discuss sex and sexuality as it relates to Dali? I mean, this is Salvador freakin’ Dali we’re talking about! The man embodies unbridled passion and hedonistic impulsiveness at its most clever. If you are bold enough to declare that you are drugs, doesn’t that make you sex and rock and roll, too? (Electric guitar solo) As it turns out…not so much -_-  There is a surprising cloud of mystery surrounding Dali’s sexual persona and from all that I’ve read it’s hard to gather what exactly was his deal. To sum it up the best way I know how: Dali was a bit weird about sex, almost to the point of neuroses. Many of his paintings during the time he met his wife, Gala, reveal a healthy sexual desire for her and in general, but also a suppressed fear of impotency.

The Accommodations of Desire, Salvador Dali. 1929

Because I just KNEW the sexual life of Dali was going to be wild and exciting, I found myself not really knowing what to do with this information. After giving it some thought (about 2 years of thought) I realized that perhaps I should go easy on my man. He lived in quite a different time and I could see how somewhere the ability to express himself through art and to express himself sexually perhaps crossed wires and possibly confused the man. I can see how difficult it would be having exposure to sexual freedom, having lived your repressed sexual desires out on canvas while in your mind developing a fear of the actual act itself. Then he meets the love of his life and the anticipation grows and the insanity festers until he almost completely breaks down.

In this day and age there is very little room for sexual thought driving us to near insanity. Sex is everywhere and I don’t care who you are: you are exposed. The value of sex has depreciated. We don’t take the time to let the anticipation of sex and intimacy build within us anymore. With pornography, phone sex, sexting– you name it– there is aways the opportunity for immediate release just around the corner. But before these tools Continue reading

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Naomi and Dali: In Dreams

The First Days of Spring, Salvador Dali. 1929

The great, and most certainly controversial, Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) was undoubtedly a heavy influence on the Surrealist society.  Andre Breton (founder of the movement), Surrealist film director Luis Bunuel, and Salvador Dali were fascinated by Freud’s writings– the “Interpretation of Dreams” most specifically. The heartbeat of the entire movement became about the marrying of the conscious with the subconscious in order to create a new world of shocking imagery that brought dark secrets and perverse impulses to light. Through their art, the surrealists were able to create an indulgent world free of suppression and censor, and paved the way for artistic liberties we are able to enjoy today.

Shades of Night Descending, Salvador Dali. 1931

It’s difficult for me to articulate in words what the members of this movement were trying to convey through their respective films, poetry, and other arts. But I do know that I can track the progression of Dali’s work during this influential time and feel the difference. I can look at his paintings and see the metamorphosis  of reality and illusion blending  into one right before my eyes. I know nothing of shadowing, contouring, or [insert other technical phrase here], but I do know the feeling of goose bumps rising on my skin and the quickening of my heartbeat. I look at Dali’s paintings during this era, and the eerie tone captured produces Continue reading

Naomi and Dali: Beauty

Galarina, Salvador Dali. 1944-45

The world’s concept of beauty has become such a repellent to me now. As it turns out, it really weighs nothing in the grand scheme of things. Your fate supposedly lies in the eye of the beholder – a daring concept that allows strangers to have power over you and your self- esteem. It shouldn’t be so damned easy for us to put so much trust into people who barely know us. The cynic in me finds that even the simple observation of physical beauty has become a cop out. Verbalizing approval of someone’s looks has become a way of saying “I accept you,” and “I approve of you simply because I like the way you look.” And I don’t know about you, but once I’ve gained this level of approval without even trying, it makes me lazy. You don’t need to know anything else about me. You’ve given me the thumbs up without peeling back the layers and making sure I’m not completely spoiled and ugly underneath. 

The magnificent thing about Dali’s art, in my opinion, is that he was able to peel back gritty layers of ugly to reveal the overall beauty of whatever scenario or mood he was trying to capture. Along those lines, it seems to me his life was a true imitation of that particular art. As many of you may gasp to know, I find Dali’s relationship with his muse and wife Gala to be THE most fascinating mystery about a most fascinatingly mysterious man. On paper, this woman reads as an opportunistic older woman who abandoned her children to leach off the dreams of successful artists. She’s the equivalent of today’s gold digger with the addition of 10 years on her and not so much in the looks department. However, I replay in my mind how it could’ve gone down upon Salvador’s first sight of her. How, like a painting, he was most likely drawn to the concept of her– the outline of her– and the desire to expose her layers became a fascination. 

There she was. It didn’t matter all the negative things he had heard about her. It mattered less the age difference between them, and even less that she stood there married and on the arm of Paul Eluard. There she was. And maybe it wasn’t the brilliance of her smile, the glint in her eyes, or her demure manner as she spoke to guests at the party with ease and confidence.  It didn’t seem to be the thrill of the chase that moved him to declare that she was to be his wife. His artist’s rendering of her alone causes me to believe that it was perhaps the way her laugh lines framed her small mouth whenever she chose to speak. Or maybe he was entranced by the wideness of her forehead, the soft glow of red in her high cheekbones, or the deep set of her eyes. There she was… An obsession formed. What he saw before his eyes was something real, a beauty and likeness designed almost specifically for his Dalinian eyes. Dalinian eyes that fought through the fog of the opinion of others and through the obstacle of another man that claimed her attention to see this majestic being before him – there she was.

Buuuuut, that is all speculation on my part. I say all that to say that anyone can recognize the near perfect symmetry in a face and declare it optimum beauty. It takes a trained eye to look beyond a face and see the deep sadness in another’s eyes, to admire the furrow of a brow, the ruggedness of once delicate hands, or the quick flash of innocence in an expression. Flowers are pretty, and sunsets are magnificent, sunrises—even better! But what lies beyond…? To me, beauty should be seen as the entire journey of where an object originates to where it is now. The story should be whole and complete before anyone dare pass judgment on how they feel about the look of things. The heartbreaker that falls in love, the liar who tells the truth, the ignorant that opens the mind, the uninspired who finds a muse…the beauty is what is recognized after, and never before. 

Naomi and Dali: An Introduction

The Elephants, Salvador Dali. 1948

This week the worlds of the arts collide and the truly insane rejoice!

I am honored and humbled by the opportunity to guest blog on apurplepaintbrush.com to celebrate Dali week. I am a lover of the written word, I am a lover of Salvador Dali, I — insert dramatic pause here — am a lover of Traci Turner. Friends for 15 years and practically opposites in every way, we’ve found that our very own passion for our respective arts (my writing, her painting) has allowed us to connect with one another on levels that most people don’t care to explore these days :-/.

We live in this new world where it’s perfectly ok to use technology to shield others from who you really are. The core of a person can now be determined by the look of an Instagram photo or whack updates posted on Facebook. I hope that we can at least look inside ourselves and find that there is a lot more where that came from and who we truly are is not what we post. Maybe, in the rarest of moments we allow something to trigger spontaneity within us and reveal a glimpse of who we are at heart. The song that brings the wallflower onto the dance floor, the documentary that moves you to start a revolution, or even the beauty of a stranger’s mouth that triggers a wildly inappropriate fantasy. The question is: do we wish to allow our personalities to be auto-corrected into something more palatable for the masses? Or is it finally time to reveal the grit and insanity within and let the chips fall where they may?

This week, in honor of Salvador Dali, I hope to take you deep into yourself to extract the part of you all have yet to see. Dali has been dead for years but it is from his life that I have learned to pursue my art without censor or fear of judgement, to always say exactly what I mean, and to live life as if I am slowly going more insane with each passing day. Join me in the asylum, if only just for the week, and we’ll let go of our inhibitions and open our minds together….

Happy Dali week!!

Salvador Dali Week!

Salvador Dali (May 11, 1904 – January 23, 1989)

Something that I love to do is research some of the most famous and well-known artists to find out what really made them and their body of work so notable. Because honestly, by looking at some of their work alone, sometimes I just don’t get the big deal – and I studied art in school. Sorry, Art Historians. However, as I mature and my understanding of the art world deepens I have grown to approach this in a more open-minded way.

This Friday marks the birth of one of the most famous and provocative surrealist artists, Salvador Dali. No one has sparked my interest in this artist more than my best friend and aspiring writer, Naomi. It’s because of her that I actually am able to enjoy and understand Dali’s work now. So I’ve asked her to share her enthusiasm for this artist and his work as we go into what she lovingly calls “Dali Week”. She’ll be a special guest blogger this week on Purple Paintbrush, tying her posts to Dali each day leading up to his birthday this Friday.

So join us this week in celebrating Salvador Dali, by sharing your thoughts on Twitter using the tag #DaliWeek! We are @PurplPaintbrush and @SoftWatches. Can’t wait to hear from you!

Aniekan Udofia – The Villiage B-Boy

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Thanks to Twitter, I was able to hear about a solo show by an old college friend of mine, Aniekan Udofia. Filled with excitement, I HAD to make sure that I left work early to go catch him for the evening of his artist talk at the Lamont Bishop Gallery in DC 2 weeks ago. His show is titled “The Village B-Boy” and features several works of art inspired by the impact that hip hop music had in his life and on those around him while growing up in Nigeria.

I’ve always known Aniekan was an amazing artist, and as a passionate and motivated individual. I’ve seen some of his illustrations in popular hip hop magazines here and there over the years, so to see his work hanging in a solo snow was truly a treat! He said that with this body of work, he wanted to touch on something that hit closer to home. The overall response from the crowd was overwhelming positive. Aniekan’s pieces in the Villiage B-Boy show were mostly acrylic paintings, with many incorporating graphite, and spray paint into the work. He exhibited his dynamic skills with figures, each one so unique and conveying a piece of the story he tells about his early experiences with hip hop. The way he can compose a piece through rhythm and color is as lyrical as the songs from which he pulled inspiration. Ranging from smaller digestible canvases, to larger-scaled dramatic pieces, Aniekan evokes a world so vastly different from the streets where hip hop was born but he reaffirms the timeless message of how music is a language that we can all speak. It’s a connection that can span nations and eras of time.

If you haven’t made weekend plans yet, this should be a part of your itinerary. You definitely won’t be disappointed. On Friday (tomorrow) the Lamont Bishop Gallery will be hosting a closing reception from 6-8pm for Aniekan’s show. The final day of the art show is this Saturday March 3rd. So since this is the closing week, make it count and show your support for a rising DC-based artist!

To see more of Aniekan Udofia check out his Facebook page!

For more information about the Lamont Bishop Gallery:
LBG’s Facebook page
LBG on Twitter – @Lamont_Bishop
Located at 1314 9th St. NW, Washington, DC 20001

And don’t forget you can holler at ME on twitter – @purplpaintbrush, and on Facebook!