I Read 3 Books on Salvador Dali. This is What I Learned

"The unconscious mind is the source of all creative insights."

I Read 3 Books on Salvador Dali. This is What I Learned
Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee around a Pomegranate a Second before Waking by Salvador Dali (1944)
  • Dali meticulously crafted his public persona. He wanted to embody the eccentric genius artist persona.
  • Dali biographers note that you can't always trust what Dali says.
  • He wanted to impose his view of the world on everyone else. To fully express his individuality. His aim was to have absolutely nothing in common with anyone. (Reminds me of a James Dyson quote: "Be different for the sake of being different.")
  • Dalinian: Absurd and surreal, with a touch of the sublime.
  • Dali found Dalinian moments in everything. Anything could be art — even talking to strangers.
  • He intentionally would create a narrative that places himself in the best possible light, rather than an accurate representation of what happened.
  • To Dali, truth is something that can be molded and created, like a painting.
  • He was an ardent follower of Freud and psychoanalysis.
  • Dali says his older brother was 7 when he died. But records show that he was just under 2 years old. Why would Dali lie?
  • He studied the great painters of history and the newest art movements. Picasso did this too. Picasso had an encyclopedic knowledge of art history.
  • Dali would get to the point right before sleep when you start to have dreams. Then he would wake up and paint his dreams.
  • Most people forget their dreams upon waking but Dali would wake himself up mid-dream and begin painting. He would hold a spoon over a plate, so when he fell asleep the spoon would fall on the plate and wake him up.
  • Slumber with a key method: You sit in a chair for 15-20 minutes. You place a plate in between your feet. You hold the spoon, resting your wrist on your thigh. Try to fall asleep. Relax and breathe deeply.
  • "The unconscious mind is the source of all creative insights."
  • What made Dali different from the other surrealists is that he explicitly sought out international acclaim.
  • Dali writes about farts and poop. Reminds me of the philosopher Michel de Montaigne who did the same and used it to say that humans are still animals.
  • Dali also wrote about sex, affairs, and non-monogamous relationships.
  • "A great artist merely translates the symbols in their own unconscious. It is the public's job to project any meaning into the art."
  • When you are creating, just start. You can start at any place. You can start a book in the middle, for instance, or any scene that compels you the most to write. You don't have to start at the beginning.
  • When he went to New York, he connected with Julian Levy who handled the business side while he focused on his art and public persona.
  • Attach yourself to a movement. When asked what he thought about the surrealist movement, Dali said, "I am surrealism." Dali did not create surrealism but many people attribute it to him because he claimed it. (Reminds me of when Cathie Wood said that the ARK funds represent innovation.)
  • A man talks to Dali and says that he can live on just beans and rice. Dali says that beans and rice are expensive; champagne and caviar are inexpensive. The man laughs, but Dali is not joking. (I think Dali was saying that if you are famous and well-dressed, people will give you things for free. If you're an unkempt nobody, you have to buy everything yourself.)

Ian Greer © . All rights reserved.