Surrealism has always been important to me. In fact, my affinity to Surrealism is responsible for me taking the leap and creating a large body of visual work. When I saw what self-taught artists and Surrealists could do, it gave me confidence to make art. It put a fire under me. It got me going. I was 23 when I got serious about painting, drawing and making sculpture.

I’d look at surrealist art and poetry and feel a special connection. Also their extreme and passionate point of view appealed to me: Andre Breton, Joan Miro, Benjamin Peret, Toyen, Luis Bunuel, Andre Masson, Yves Tanguy, Joseph Cornell, Victor Brauner, Robert Desnos, Man Ray, Leonora Carrington, Antonin Artaud, Wifredo Lam and many more.

Some artists and poets were deeply involved with Surrealism their whole lives. Others, like Picasso and Arshile Gorky, had some involvement and made friendships within the Surrealist Group.

Some, like Dali and Max Ernst, were Surrealist for a while but eventually were cast away from the group for excessive devotion toward $$$ or for watering down their work and so on.

Then there are the precursors. Many were surrealist in spirit before Surrealism hit the globe as an authentic movement. These include poets (in writing) such as Lautreamont, Arthur Rimbaud, Alfred Jarry, Lewis Carroll, Jonathan Swift, Charles Fourier and Saint-Pol-Roux. Earlier painters admired by Surrealists included Giuseppe Arcimboldo, Hieronymus Bosch and Gustave Moreau.

Surrealism also loves much of what I love: the Cinema, slapstick, animated cartoons, music (blues, jazz, Harry Partch), comic strips, Ernie Kovacs, Watts Towers as well as many other “popular culture highlights.”

It’s an important sort of weather vane or loadstone amidst my myriad of researches. Thoughts, dreams and emotions fly and crawl in the struggle to change life and transform the world.

Field of Mutations

Field of Mutations

Early on in my “Surrealist studies” I found that there were still active groups both here in the U.S. and around the world. Since the 1970’s, I’ve met and corresponded with various Surrealists. I met with a group of Surrealists in San Francisco (including the late, great Philip Lamantia). They gave me good conversation and a box of books to hitchhike home with. I’ve visited Chicago and met Franklin and Penelope Rosemont, Paul Garon and others involved with Surrealism in the U.S.

Their concerns often dovetail with my own: dreams, mysteries, haunted magic, revolutions, scandals and various histories. Then too, the struggle for the rights of the Earth itself, of “nature”, of animals, of Native Americans, of all indigenous peoples, of women, of the poor and hungry, of children, of African-Americans, of the so-called Insane, of youth and future generations and of true Artists everywhere.

Surrealism convinces me that artists have an essential part to play in waking the world up. We need to fertilize the Earth for amazing growth (in the form of changes, reconsiderations and restructurings). Creativity contains some of the keys toward freedom and liberation.

Mass cruelty, bloodthirsty activities, an extravagance of screaming and frustrated weeping, insensitive exploitation and usury, strings of wars, mindless attacks, fear of art, indifference to art, feeding the cycle of poverty and not feeding the poor: all of these things are not really essential. If human nature often becomes ugly, it doesn’t always need to be so. Beware, but be aware. Don’t be afraid to love, to dream, to live.

2 Responses to “Surrealism”

  1. arwulf arwulf / theodore grenier Says:

    Beautiful! I must devise a true response. To mine own be true, and then to you. Thanks for breathing and kicking around so creatively. You is one of my heroes.

  2. Franklin Rosemont and Surrealism « for art and artists Says:

    […] […]

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