Surreal Summer Trip

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Creatives and thinkers have long looked to dreams (and drugs) to expand their awareness, and this summer we’re exploring the surreal symbolism and visual vibrancy of this realm.

Whatever the method of transport, this alternate reality connects us to all things instinctual and primordial, and the source of our creativity.

So light up and let go, darling. Join us on a journey to a higher state of unconsciousness as we take a Surreal Summer TRIP.

Let’s Get Unconscious

Creating art in an “altered state” is nothing new. Throughout the first half of the 20th century, Surrealist painters employed various “techniques” that allowed the unconscious mind to express itself and blurred the line between dream and reality to create an inspired super-reality.

Salvador Dali would tap into his subconscious through a self-induced paranoid state that enabled him to forego his previous notions, concepts, and understanding of reality in order to view the world in new, expanded and more unique ways. He would then paint what he had witnessed, creating “hand painted dream photographs.”

René Magritte’s work often depicted ordinary objects in unusual context to reveal what may be concealed by the unconscious mind, and to connect the real with the surreal.

Later, Abstract Expressionists focused on emotional expression with particular emphasis on the creative spontaneous act, rooted in the instinctual and subconscious.

In the sixties and seventies, artists and scientists explored the effect of drugs, like marijuana and LSD, on drawing and painting. Some believe that the evolution of Op Art was influenced by the hallucinogenics and psychotropics popular at that time. Whatever the reasons, we absolutely love the trippy effect the movement had on contemporary art and culture.

 

 

Analyze This

Sigmund Freud introduced the world to the idea of unconscious motivation, which he thought informed our conscious mind, experiences, and behavior. He believed that we are beings driven by sexual and aggressive instincts.

Freud’s work was profoundly influential for the Surrealists, particularly his book, The Interpretation of Dreams, in which he legitimized the importance of dreams. His exposure of the complex and repressed inner worlds of human desires are the basis for much of the movement.

Timothy Leary was an American psychologist and writer known for advocating the exploration of the therapeutic potential of psychedelic drugs under controlled conditions. He used LSD himself and developed a philosophy of mind expansion and personal truth. Another psychologist, Dr. Oscar Janiger was one of the pioneers in the field studying the relationship between LSD and creativity with experimental trials.

 

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Treatments

Treatment References
Drip: Jen Stark "Drippy"
Iridescent: Felipe Pantone "Planned Iridescence 33"
Prismatic / Hyper Saturation: Victor Vasarley "Oslop 3"
Ombre: Ruth Pastine "Witness 8-S7272"
Photo Negative: Andres Serrano "Piss Discus"

Elements

Elements References
Clouds: René Magritte "Le Faux Miroir"
Surreal Plants & Flowers: Erik Parker "New Breed Bay"
Sun Rays: Eugenia Loli
Eyes: Maurits Cornelis Escher "Eye"
Ladder: Georg Broe "The Ladders"

Key Movements

Key Movements References
Surrealism: Salvador Dali "Feather Equilibrium"
Surrealism: Rafal Olbinski "Maze"
Psychedelic / LSD Art: Damien Hirst "Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD)"
Psychedelic / LSD Art: Ben Frost "LSD"
Psychedelic / LSD Art: Fred Tomaselli "Untitled"

Surreal Symbolism Defined 

Skull: The skull is a symbol of our mortality or Memento Mori, which translates to, “Remember that you have to die,” as well as Vanitas, which translates to emptiness.

Eye: The eye is a representation of the dream state and unconscious mind.

Ladder: The ladder (or staircase) is symbolic of the connection between heaven and earth. It represents progress, ascension, and spiritual passage through the levels of initiation.

Tooth: The tooth is a symbol of sexuality and our instinctual, sometimes aggressive nature.

Snake: The snake and the sloughing of its skin is a symbol of renewal and transformation.

Feather & Birds: Feathers and birds are symbols of ascension and spiritual evolution to a higher plane.

Eggs: The egg is linked to pre-natal images and the intra-uterine universe, and thus it is a symbol of both hope and love.

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Palette

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