Understanding Art
Salvador Dali

Ok, right off the bat, let me tell you that I love Dali.  I have liked or at least admired everyone I’ve talked about on here, but I love Dali in the “even his signature is a work of art to me” kind of way.  In the “I should get one of his melting clocks tattooed on me” kind of way.  It is serious.  So instead of telling you the normal important facts, or talking about his art, I am going to tell you why I love him as a person as much as an artist.

1 - His facial hair.  No, really, LOOK at that mustache:

It’s not just impressive and huge and outlandish, it tells you EVERYTHING you need to know about what kind of guy Dali was.  If you can handle that mustache, you can handle hanging out with him is the basic message it sends.  And you KNOW you’re going to be in for an interesting time.

2 - His work ethic.  When he wasn’t hanging around with other influential artists, or having a loving relationship with his wife, or practically inventing surrealism, Dali was working HARD.  He collaborated on books and portraits (the one above took over 28 takes, and had to be developed between each take to see if they got it right).  He painted over 1500 paintings, and even made a short film for Disney. (which you can watch here)

3 - His quotes.  There have always been people who are defined as much by their actual work as by the quotes they leave behind - Winston Churchill, Oscar Wilde, and Mark Twain among them.  My favorite is how Dali explained how predictable life is - “When I order dinner in a nice restaurant, why does the waiter never bring me a flaming phone book?”  He has quotes on every topic from art to the nature of the human mind.  So I’ll end with a few I like the best:

  1. Drawing is the honesty of the art. There is no possibility of cheating. It is either good or bad.
  2. The difference between false memories and true ones is the same as for jewels: it is always the false ones that look the most real, the most brilliant.
  3. Have no fear of perfection - you’ll never reach it.
  4. A true artist is not one who is inspired, but one who inspires others
  5. At the age of six I wanted to be a cook.  At seven, I wanted to be Napoleon.  And my ambition has been growing ever since.
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