Guest Post! Undive/Middle River: Salvador Dali Tribute

It’s that time again! My best friend and fellow blogger, Naomi, are teaming up this week to celebrate her favorite artist, Salvador Dali. This week will include posts inspired by her love for the passionate and eccentric surrealist. Be sure to check out her blog, Embrace the Crazy, for more poetry and musings about the events and people in her life! Here’s day 1 one of Dali Week – Enjoy!

Happy Birthday to my favorite artist, Salvador Dali!

To honor and celebrate this day, each year I try to collaborate with my best friend (another favorite artist and painter) Traci, and I’m really excited about our plans this time around!

Tune into the blog all this week as we combine the world of creative writing with modern art, as I’ll be sharing poetry and writing pieces to go along with her visuals. I feel honored to be involved in this collaboration. Traci is an up and coming artist who produces bold works that never cease to pull at my heart strings and inspire me to be better, work harder and feel all the things. Please please follow her blog: A Purple Paintbrush, and visit her website www.tracilturner.com to view and purchase more of her works.

Undive

Undive ~ Traci L. Turner

I swim, to the middle of your river and
Stop
Let me drown
In my own expectations and frivolities– all the lies you’ve said to me
The scent of you all over me
Washed in these waters; I can’t get clean
Or rid of the stink of reality
If the illusion of truth lies on the surface
I choose to sink
Never to emerge from underneath
Too broken and damaged
Irrevocably
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Naomi and Dali 2013: Finding Your Muse

salvador-dali

Salvador Dali

I have a large coffee table book of Salvador Dali paintings. My entire living room is decorated around it. It is what moves me. However, with a two year old walking around vandalizing everything in her wake I had to put it away and it now lives underneath my bed. I’m a person heavy into symbolism– and I do believe that at that time I had also put away a large part of myself. To stand out from others, even at my age, is tiring. It is exhausting to constantly fight just to be yourself.

My annual celebration of Dali week, of course seems silly to most and is strange indeed, but opening up old books and viewing art that takes my breath away reminds me why I’m alive. It is a very personal thing for me that I choose to share because I believe creativity and art is a gift to the world. We cheapen words with biased interpretations, we prostitute visual art to the highest bidder, and taint our music to feed the mindless masses. I don’t want to be told what to do, I just want to feel.

"Three Young Surrealist Women Holding in Their Arms Skins of an Orchestra", 1936.

“Three Young Surrealist Women Holding in Their Arms Skins of an Orchestra”, 1936.

Salvador Dali was able to transfer emotion onto the canvas. Most of my favorite pieces summon dark emotion in me…such as the melancholy that often comes with the desire to create. Dali was loved for his outrageous persona, and praised for his art but in the end was clearly misunderstood and written off as crazy by most. Which goes to show that sometimes people take from others what they want but often won’t accept or appreciate the whole.

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“The Burning Giraffe”, 1937.

Through my obsessive love for Dali I’ve learned to appreciate it all. People will bleed you dry, extracting your talent from you and leaving your core to be eaten by the judgmental wolves that attack what they don’t understand. I have a fascination and love for Dali the artist, the madman, the elitist, the intellectual and it is a mirror for how I choose to love and accept others. This is what moves me.

Sleep_-_Le_Sommeil_Salvador_Dali

“Sleep (Le Sommeil)”, 1937.

I celebrate Dali week each year to motivate others to find their own inspiration. Hold fast to whatever inspires you in the world of art and creativity. The world is damning enough and it’s totally ok to seek refuge and to be influenced by reality and people who are just as imperfect as you. It is ok to allow the creativity of others to be your life’s muse.

To my favorite muse, Señor Salvador Dalí, happy birthday.

The-Persistence-of-Memory-1931

“The Persistence of Memory”, 1931.

The Beauty of It All

Photo courtesy of CSM Art and Frame

The “Beauty” theme day during last week’s celebration of Salvador Dali inspired me to share a bit of my personal view on what makes a certain piece of art beautiful. I have to preface this by saying that this is just my own opinion, and not really a cornerstone on how one should view works of art. It’s too subjective of a topic to have any hard/fast rules telling people how to look and what to see when viewing a piece of work. That takes the fun out of it! But if you’re reading this as someone that’s just curious about another person’s viewpoint, then I gladly invite you to read on.

Compared to others that I’ve talked to, I think my taste is definitely on the simpler side and more traditional. As far as subject matter, what makes a piece beautiful to me is whether or not it seems to speak from the heart. I tend to gravitate towards work that tries to connect with something deeper within the artist, and is expressed in a way that allows the majority of viewers to feel a certain impact. Is the artist’s motivation more isolating and self-indulgent, or is the intention to present a vision of a concept that is supposed connect with the viewers? Those are just a couple of questions that I ask myself when viewing a piece. If there’s a story behind it, I’d like to be able to at least get a close guess as to what the artist is trying to convey instead of feeling like I’m just looking at an inside joke. It’s hard for me to connect with something so mysterious that I’d need to carry around an art history book just to stand a chance at possibly partially understanding the intent of the artist. I can still appreciate the effort of something that I don’t understand, but I may not feel inspired by it. I love figurative pieces (work that has a person or more as the focus), and work with strong symbolism.

Visually, I love color. Intentionally or unintentionally good use of color – expressive (abstract) and representational (realism). I think those who are able to do this well show an incredible amount of skill, patience, and thought. I love paintings with obvious brushwork, and texture. It’s amazing when an artist can render a subject with such detail and realism, but personally I also think there is much beauty in being able to simplify or suggest it. Reading what I just typed, one of my favorite painters, Vincent van Gogh, comes to mind:

A Pair of Shoes – Vincent van Gogh. 1886

This is just a quick overview of what draws me into a specific piece of work. I could really go on and on! For those who have no idea how to explain why they like a piece of art, next time just pay attention to what it is that grabs you and let it linger. Maybe it’s the size of the piece, or the subject? Maybe it reminds you of a certain era of time that you love, or your childhood? Think about any sudden emotions within you that may come to the forefront when viewing the piece. I may want to understand what the artist was trying to do, but who says YOU really have to understand the true intent or message of the artist? I think what really matters is how each individual responds to the piece. At least being able to identify what you like and why already gives you entry into a dialogue about art, then you can learn more details from there. That’s also what I think is the beauty of art – the fact that any one piece can mean so many different things depending on who views it. The experience can start a conversation between people who were once strangers, but now they’ve been brought together through an unseen person who dared to put themselves on display. I know this all sounds so corny, but I do see a certain beauty in how art can bring people together.

And that’s something I will never get tired of seeing.

Naomi and Dali: The Craziest of These is Love

Salvador Dali and the love of his life, Gala

I didnt want to write about this topic because I didn’t think there would be a way for me to mask the tone of my heavy heart. However, this is my foundation and the very reason I was drawn to Dali in the first place. The intensity and the complexity of Dali’s relationship with Gala appealed to me initially because it was such a foreign concept. How could a man so full of greatness and charm allow himself to be brought to his knees for the love of this insignificant woman? It wasn’t until I experienced this kind of rare, all-consuming love for myself that I was able to come to more of an understanding of the dynamic of their relationship.

Toward the end of their lives together, Gala’s numerous affairs with younger men began to take their toll on the relationship. In addition, her gambling habits and generosity toward these men put a strain on the pockets as well. Even in her eighties, Gala showed a resentment toward growing older, creating yet more tension– enough that she was now giving her husband drugs that led to the eventual breakdown of his nervous system leaving him unable to paint. Eventually Gala moved alone into a castle Dali had built for her, unseen unless upon written request. Still, when Gala passed away, the elderly painter embarked on a downward spiral struggling with depression. There were even a series of freak “accidents” that hint of possible suicide attempts. With his muse forever gone, was there any reason left to live?

It is a beautiful thing to simply fall in love. It is quite another to find your reason to live. All control is lost as you allow yourself to be poisoned, broken and lost yet unashamed of your shameless weakness. In the end, the intensity of the obsession proves to be maddening and a certain pathway to your psychological demise. You have found in this person the perfect blend between reality and illusion, and you refuse to be awakened from this dreamlike state.  A glitch in the system has been discovered that allows you to somehow exist in this world and be able to escape to a parallel universe with this person. A utopia where each other’s flaws don’t exist and it doesn’t matter if this person is draining everything from your life’s force. In that world, dull moments are extinct and no tomorrows are the same. You have given in to complete insanity making the complexities of common love totally void. By giving in to this kind of love you have given in to destruction.

Memento mori, my friend! Destruction is inevitable. Endure the pain, suffer all consequences, and take all risks for a love most surreal. Drink heartily of the poison, and before you do, look your muse in the eyes and say “cheers”!

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

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