Maria Popova’s excellent blog BrainPickings, which has all sorts of interesting content and ruminations about creativity, recently posted a piece that presented lithographs illustrating the 12 signs of the zodiac created by the great Salvador Dali.
It is true that Dali (1904 – 1989) was a showman, an eccentric, and a shrewd businessman often known for his mustache and erratic behavior. Yet he was also an innovative and skilled and passionate artist whose work resonates with the delicious energy of his surrealist and avant-garde background. And, a fellow Taurus to boot!
I fell in love with these lithographs immediately because they are a wonderful expression of Dali’s whimsical visual language. Throughout his career he painted his dreams and nightmares, what he understood and what he was unafraid to explore about his own subconscious.
Little did I know that the journey behind writing this piece would include a lovely conversation with David Barnett, an established artist and Wisconsin gallery owner who acquired one of the 250 limited editions shortly after they were created in 1967 and is now making them available for purchase as individual signed lithographs.
Maria’s personal favorite is Dali’s interpretation of Cancer as a lobster rather than a crab. Yet, I love them all. Their explosive use of color and freedom of movement make them feel almost like watercolors and are a reminder of Dali’s association with the Fauvism movement and artists such as Henri Matisse and others. Yet even more important than their historical reference is the fact that they’re joyful and fun to look at. Life is hard and in the end we choose in which direction to focus our energy every single day. Personally, I prefer to look up. And therefore, it really doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks about art or design or film. What’s most important is to have the courage to feel that our own personal response is meaningful, because what we’re drawn to, and why, are all parts of the puzzle that make up our own unique aesthetic vision. And by-the-way, that’s just how the Surrealists and Modernists thought about things too.
If I could, I’d buy them all! Enjoy!