Dylan Jones: ' As a teenager, I adored Dali and thought the moustachioed Surrealist dude was the coolest painter of all'

Share
Related Topics

I thought I was all done with Dali. As a young teenager, I adored him, and, like many impressionable boys of my age, thought the moustachioed Surrealist dude was the coolest painter of them all. You could keep your Picassos, your Matisses and your Rembrandts; it was Dali all the way with me, baby.

At that age, when corny juxtaposition seems so sophisticated, Salvador Dali tends to be as much of a student pinboard mainstay as Che Guevara or Bob Marley. "You have to systematically create confusion, it sets creativity free," he once said. "Everything that is contradictory creates life."

But then you grow up and never want to have anything to do with him again. Well, not until you see one of his clouds. A few weeks ago I was driving through the hills around Banyuls-sur-Mer, one of the beautiful French coastal towns near Perpignan, and the sky was suddenly full of long, pale grey clouds, a vista that looked as though it had been painted by the famous Spanish Surrealist. Those clouds in The Persistence of Memory? Yup, I saw those. The clouds in Landscape with Butterflies, in Reminescence Archeologique de l'Angelus de Millet, yes I saw those too; huge explosions of white across the sky.

Dali used to live nearby – just down the road, in fact, in Figueres – and, seeing these clouds, you can see why he chose the place. The Catalan sky is a beautiful, big, blank, blue canvas, while the clouds are pillowy, and often oblong, like gunmetal baguettes. Dali loved his wide, expanding landscapes, the sort that were copied endlessly by record sleeve designers in the late Sixties and early Seventies, the sort that begged to be filled with cod Surrealist imagery (clocks, animals, naked women, etc). In a way you could say that Dali painted skies as often as Hockney painted swimming pools: often.

And seeing them in "true life", as my daughters used to say when they were young, you begin to understand why Dali used these vast panoramas as the backdrop to so many of his paintings: they were simply extraordinary, and they were right there in front of him.

Dylan Jones is the editor of 'GQ'

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive or Senior Sales Executive - B2B Exhibitions

£18000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive or Senior Sal...

Recruitment Genius: Head of Support Services

£40000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Team Leader

£22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leading company produces h...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager / Sales - OTE £40,000

£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT provider for the educat...

Day In a Page

Read Next
A press image from the company  

If men are so obsessed by their genitals, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities of sex?

Chloë Hamilton
Workers clean the area in front of the new Turkish Presidential Palace prior to an official reception for Republic day in Ankara  

Up Ankara, for a tour of great crapital cities

Dom Joly
A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory