Dreams sting in the big apple
What if Salvador Dali was born in 1983 instead of 1904?
Imagine his childhood filled with images of urban America instead of the beautiful countrysides of Spain. What would his work look like if he painted out of a studio in Brooklyn, a product of this generation, influenced by our fashion, music, and style?
Envision a Salvador painting about the issues facing modern society, inspired by things like the internet, social media, corporate america, politics, religion, and more. Witness Dali’s masterpieces reworked through an updated lens as art history collides with modern culture. I intend to pick up where he left off, with more than fifty years of perspective to guide me along they way. It is a humble tribute to my greatest inspiration.
Dreams sting in the big apple
36 X 48″ Acrylic on canvas, 2013
In this “hand-painted dream photograph” — as Dalí generally called his paintings — we find a seascape of distant horizons and calm waters, perhaps Port Lligat, amidst which Gala is the subject of the scene. Next to the naked body of the sleeping woman, which levitates above a flat rock that floats above the sea, Dalí depicts two suspended droplets of water and a pomegranate, a Christian symbol of fertility and resurrection. Above the pomegranate flies a bee, an insect that traditionally symbolizes the Virgin.
In the upper left of the painting a fish bursts out of the pomegranate, and in turn spews out a tiger who then spews out another tiger and a rifle, followed a second later by a sewing needle that will sting Gala in the arm. Above them an elephant with long flamingo legs, found in other compositions of the period such as Dalí’s The Temptations of St. Anthony, carries on its back an obelisk .
The bayonet, as a symbol of the stinging bee, may thus represent the woman’s abrupt awakening from her otherwise peaceful dream. This is an example of Sigmund Freud’s influence on surrealist art and Dalí’s attempts to explore the world of dreams in a dreamscape.
I decided to take this scene and try to insert New York elements that could fit within a narrative. ince everyone is in New York for a dream, it only made sense. The elephant is now represented by a hand which puppets the course of our days, pulling the strings that benefit and letting go of those that hinder. Th yellowish rock has been replaced by a floating Taxi, representing the desire to leave, but the inability to go. This is one of those dreams you wake up and try to find your way back to.
The large pomegranate is replaced by a classic Katz’s Deli Pastrami, the fish into the city pigeon, and the tigers by pitbulls. The pigeons and dogs represent the slang terms for each. Hollow woman, dogs of men, trying to permanently write their names with sharpies containing no ink.
The big apple looms front and center, as the nude figure dreams. An elevated track rises with no support in the distance, as lost souls wait for the next train to take them away.
How many unanswered dreams does it take for you to climb the track, give up on the city, and leave for something that you know you don’t want, and cant keep you happy?
Luckily, I’ll never know my number.