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My school had a poster sale earlier this month. The point of it is for the poster guy to make some money and the college students to have some things to decorate their dorm room walls. Last year I think I had class during the poster sale and wasn’t able to make it over. The consequence was that my room looked like a stark white asylum and was a dark and uninspiring cave all year. It doesn’t sound like that big of a deal writing it down but it definitely was.

So I went ahead and bought some posters to decorate my new dorm this semester. While I was divining the right posters I came across the work of Salvidor Dali. Now, to the outsider, it probably seems like I’m a complete idiot because everyone knows Dali’s work and even if you don’t you probably still do. Save me the complaining, I’ve seen the melting clocks, and no, I don’t live under a rock.

I found two of Dali’s works as posters:

 

I had never seen these before, I was amazed and purchased them to outfit my dormroom. It’s not that I had never heard of Dali, but I always knew him as “that weird guy that made the melting clocks painting” and pretty much nothing else so I never paid him much attention. It seems a little naive of me to think that Dali only ever made that one painting, he had thousands of paintings, his painting “The Persistence of Memory” is just one of his most popular works.
Now that I had seen these two posters of Dali’s work I was interested to find out a bit more about him. In my searches I looked at thousands of his paintings online and came to ultimately discover that he was, apart from being weird, a major groundbreaking surrealist of his time. By looking at his work I finally got a good handle on what surrealism was, which was also yet another term that I had always known about but didn’t pay much attention. Most importantly for me I finally put two and two together that Dali was a surrealist and surrealism is the word to describe one of my favorite, if not my most favorite genre of art.
What initially drew me to Photoshop, not photography in this particular case, was the crazy art people where able to create with it. The phrase, “That’s definitely Photoshopped” applies here. In Photoshop it is possible to create almost anything you want provided you have the correct images and what intrigued me the most were a lot of photo manipulations. Photo manipulations can be as simple as a landscape that is edited together from multiple images. A Photo manipulation can also be a ton of unlike objects fit together in the same image with photo realistic quality. A perfect example of this type of work is that of photographer, Erik Johansson, who is a Swedish artist known mainly as a world class retoucher and photomanipulator. His work is made up of the same types of images that inspired me to start using Photoshop.

You can find Erik’s work HERE.

When I think about it, the genre that Erik Johansson works in is simply a different medium than Dali’s but it has a lot of the same qualities to it. A lot of the images are comprised of unlike objects and surrealism also has a sort of an “anything goes” motto to it as long as the work is done well. This realization of finding and connecting Dali’s work to Erik’s work to Surrealism is such a huge thing for me. It just clicked together and fills in so many blanks because before now I didn’t really have a term to describe where I was headed with my art. I’m always on Flickr or Pinterest finding photographers that have done some amazing conceptual work with their images but the description usually stops at “conceptual” and I didn’t know how else to describe it but now I do.

Before this I really just thought that all photo manipulations and conceptual imagery was sort of an anomaly and it was really obscure. I would always struggle to find others online that created artwork that was close to what I wanted to see but now I know that almost all of the what I was looking for falls under the heading of “surrealism” and it’s awesome. With my discovery of Salvidor Dali and the catastrophic impact his work has had on me I can now see the reason why people study artists old and new. I have found the genre that I have always loved but had not had a name for and that alone is very important to me.

-Alex

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