Salvador Dali: 20th Century Artistic Genius

Today marks the 30th anniversary of the death of one of the most celebrated artists of all time, Salvador Dali. To honour his iconic life, Hey Ants is staging a full takeover of Dalí-inspired artworks from around the world.

Daniella Millership spoke to artists about how Dalí inspired their personal journeys into the world of art.

So, who is Dalí you might ask?

Salvador Dalí was born on the 11th May 1904, into a somewhat surreal household in Catalonia, Spain. From a young age, Dalí’s parents told him that he was a reincarnation of his brother, also named Salvador, who died nine months prior to his birth. As he grew up, this became a concept that he believed, calling his deceased sibling ‘a first version of myself but conceived too much in the absolute’, which I suspect lay the groundwork for his acceptance and exploration into surrealism. His artistic talent was apparent from a young age, attending drawing school and furthering his education at the School of Fine Arts in San Fernando. Unfortunately, he never graduated as a few weeks before his final exams he was expelled for stating that no one in the school was qualified enough to examine him.

Following his expulsion, he traveled to Paris where he met fellow Spaniards Pablo Picasso and Joan Miro, who introduced him to Surrealism. Although it was a new concept to him, Dalí was well versed in the psychoanalytic theories of Sigmund Freud, and consequently much of his art was underpinned by Freudian theory and the workings of the human mind.

Picasso and Miro heavily influenced Dalí’s artistic style throughout his career (although it is known that Picasso and Dalí had a problematic relationship), pulling elements of both their styles into his work. Many critics were left perplexed with how to receive Dalí’s work as his love of using a combination of disciplines in a single piece was unorthodox.

He was particularly influential for his explorations of subconscious imagery, self-inducing hallucinatory states to explore the way objects mutate in dreams.

The Persistence of Time — Diogo Veríssimo

I’ve always admired his ability to further venture into the unknown and the weird — to break boundaries while encouraging us, spectators of his works, to join him on his dreamy journey’ says Portuguese artist Diogo Veríssimo.

Diogo’s featured artwork is heavily inspired by one of Dalí’s most recognisable pieces, The Persistence of Memory. This piece visually challenges the concept that time is rigid and has become one of the most well-known symbols of Surrealism due its juxtaposition of the ordinary and the bizarre amidst a dream-like environment.

The themes in Dalí’s paintings often paralleled his real-life happenings. A noticeably recurring subject was that of his wife Gala — a mysterious Russian woman 10 years his senior, who became his greatest muse. She played a pivotal role in catapulting Dalí to become an icon of modern art. In his work, Secret Life, Dalí writes: ‘She was destined to be my Gradiva, the one who moves forward, my victory, my wife’. She was often portrayed in religious roles, one of the most notable being the Blessed Virgin Mary in the painting The Madonna of Port Lligat.

Artwork by Juan Ibanez Mantero

Seville-based featured artist Juan Ibanez Mantero created a series called ‘The Secret Loves of Dali,’ a series of 13 portraits that explore loves and influences in the life of Dalí outside of Gala. Juan states ‘We all know Gala, Dalí’s official love; however, when we approach his work, we discover the enormous influence that populates the Dalinian universe. Dalí was a multidisciplinary artist, who flirted with the cinema, directors, actors. He collaborated with the greats, Buñuel, Hitchcock, and Disney amongst others.

Eccentric by nature and renowned for his flamboyant personality, Dali’s manic expression and famous moustache made him something of a cultural icon for the bizarre and surreal. ‘Dali was undoubtedly a unique man and one of the most prominent artists of his time. He moved apart the scopes of perception of the surrounding world the art. I admire the plasticity of his thinking, the free possession a form and his fantasy visions!’ says Michael Zavorotniy, a featured artist based in Ukraine.

Artwork by Michael Zavorotniy

Dalí’s work transcends cultural and geographical boundaries with ease and despite what people think of him on a personal level, whether they enjoy his work or not, it’s impossible to argue that the art world would be the same without him.

At Hey Ants, we strongly believe in supporting creative communities, including artists who have been inspired by Salvador Dalí himself. We aim to enable people to collaborate and share their work, as well as provide users with something aesthetically pleasing to look at. If you’d like to have your artwork showcased on our website, please send your artwork to marketing@heyants.com

FUN FACT: The Spaniard is so famous he even has a desert named after him.