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.
10 X 12″ Pencil on Bristol, 2013
The iconic elongated elephants that Dali created and repeated throughout numerous works were perfect. Every detail about the animal, the presentation, and the vast landscape all harmonize to hammer home the effect. I pondered this concept for a year and eight months trying to find an appropriate reinterpretation. I did studies and experiments with every animal you could think of. Nothing matched the elephant. Nothing even came close.
An behemoth stalking high above the land on stilt-like legs that seem on the verge of snapping with each step. I was close to conceding to the Catalan master that this couldn’t be touched. An unmatched concept combined with unequaled presentation. I had been up for three days and wearily laid down to rest on eighteen months of failed ideas. I had to remix the elephants; it was a crucial aspect of this show.
It hit me like a ton of bricks. I got up, grabbed the paper and transformed hands into elephants. The fingers extended perfectly to resemble legs, and a deft bend of the thumb suggests a trunk. The shape of the palm could mimic the girth of the bodies, and the wrist bent perfectly in the direction of the structures on their back.
In the years since Dali created this piece, the Internet has bloomed and allowed for endless discoveries about what is really happening in our world. There is a groundswell of people who believe that we are controlled by big brother. I envision a puppeteer in the sky, pulling the strings behind the scenes. Their reach is extensive, plunging deep into politics, religion, education and the economy.
The visual worked. The concept fit, and the interpretation was relevant. I took a step back and wondered how that happened after going so long without a breakthrough. Then I recalled Dali’s paranoiac critical method, which involved awaking from a dream state and tapping into its inspirations, and instantly realized I had arrived using the same route Dali traveled. I didn’t need to go any further. The moment is left captured in the frame.