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.
12 X 12″ Acrylic on Paper, 2013
Dali’s “Sleep” is a Freudian inspired view of dreams, which have been serving as a source of inspiration and intrigue for the Surrealists. They believed that the unbridled subconscious set free in sleep could be utilized, plugged into and actualized in their art.
“Sleep” intends to visually depict the body’s collapse into sleep. The soft sagging of the head suggests the slow creep of the body into the unconscious world in which we dream. The head is supported above land by a series of wooden crutches. The mouth, nose and also eyes are all held in place by the crutches, suggesting that the head might fall if they were removed.
When selecting a title for my interpretation I decided not to deviate from Dali’s original. Sleep is a basic human function, and although it is some seventy years later, we do not sleep differently. So I focused on the dream state instead and envisioned how that world evolved. I concluded the pressure of today’s fast paced society manifests differently than the peaceful relaxing image Dali gave us of a 1930’s nap.
The main face is altered in a deliberate attempt to portray attractive features in contrast to Dali’s head. Nowadays we are consumed by beauty and the refinement of our image. It is a major element of our daily activity in today’s world. Superficial is an art form in New York City. You cannot buy the missing parts of your soul in the window display, and satisfaction is not in aisle five. They sell you a gimmick for an inflated price that you gladly pay.
A condition created and proliferated by our system; it is highly effective and rudely efficient. The workweek drains you for a paycheck that lasts through the weekend party. Enough to numb you until Monday’s daybreak and the cycle repeats. Occupied with a life outside your fiscal means, we collectively line up and voluntarily give away in 48 hours what we worked for all week. It’s free to be you, and we go broke trying to be someone else for them.
In my version, this internal conflict is depicted by the figure inside the sleeping head. We are all refugees inside a prison where your conscious is the warden. People avoid confronting their own moral code because they are terrified of what it reads, even though the key to freedom is in the words. Lies don’t exist on the inside, only truth. So we’re stuck in this paralyzing position as the person we really are plays a backseat to who we pretend to be. The two people are still dependent on supports of some variety, and instead of wooden crutches, I used street poles. They are blank roads, because everyone forgets where they came from, with no sense of direction of where to go. It’s time to wake up. Lost souls focused on a good snooze button, instead of ringing every single alarm.