[G9] Surrealism


Unit Focus Question: How can we blend our knowledge of surrealism and computer skills to create surrealist digital art?

In this new unit we were introduced to ‘Surrealism‘. Surrealism is a artistic movement and philosophy which became very famous in the 1920s. Surrealism is a type of art that the objects or parts of the painting is oddly changed which you can not see in reality.

Surrealism have to do with a lot of concepts, which is included in the video we watched in class:

Transformation: Transforming something in a way that seems miraculous (amazing).

Juxtaposition: Putting two things side by side that don’t actually belong together or match to show the difference.

Dis-location: Putting an object in a place where it is not supposed to be.

Metamorphosis: Changing an object completely in its form.

Symbolism: Representing something using a symbol.

Paranoiac-critical Method: Looking at an object to see other objects inside it that do not really exist.

Double Image Painting: Paintings that  shows its own reflection.

Some famous surrealist painters/artists are:

  • Salvador Dalí
  • Picasso
  • René Magritte

Here are two examples of Surrealism Art I found from Museum websites:

Salvador Dalí, The Accommodations of Desire (1929)

Salvador Dalí’s paintings are definitely one of the best examples we can use for Surrealism. In this painting we can see Symbolism through an ant. There is also Juxtaposition which is shown by the lion’s face. One of the lion’s face which seems to be on a piece of stone only appears as a red border with an yellow mouth. The second stone has the shape of an lion but is purely red. The third stone has a image of a lion’s fur around its face, but does not have the actual face feature, while the fourth stone contains the actual lion image. We can also find Transformation in this painting because the stone in real life isn’t as large as how it was represented in the painting.

René Magritte, Le Chateau de Pyrenees (The Castle of the Pyrene) (1595)

In this painting by René Magritte, we can find Transformation, which is represented by the huge rock floating in the sky. In reality, there is no rock that is that huge and is shaped into an egg with shape that looks like buildings on top. This painting also has the element ‘Dislocation‘ because in real life a rock can’t float into the sky like in the painting.

* * * * *

My Surrealism Artwork

For my own Digital Art artwork, I did a few brainstorms before deciding on the final design.

[brainstorm pics]

In the end I chose my 3rd design as it is more creative and unique from the rest. I also think that my first designs are not the best because as we brainstorm for more ideas, we will get more and more creative.

To create my Artwork I used these photos:

As you can see, I’ve used quite a lot of photos. This is because the ‘rose’ requires a lot of fish photos.

Picture Sources:

  • Photo 1: B.J. Bumgarner. Rainbow. N.d. N/A, N/A.Flickr. Web. 20 Oct. 2011. (link)
  • Photo 2: Kahunapule Michael Johnson. Yellow Fish. N.d. N/A, N/A.Flickr. Web. 20 Oct. 2011. (link)
  • Photo 3: Peter Smithson. Yellow Fish. N.d. N/A, N/A.Flickr. Web. 20 Oct. 2011. (link)
  • Photo 4: Amy Palko. Yellow Fish. N.d. N/A, N/A.Flickr. Web. 20 Oct. 2011. (link)
  • Photo 5: N/A. yellow fish (IMG_1734). N.d. N/A, N/A.Flickr. Web. 20 Oct. 2011. (link)
  • Photo 6: Derek Key. Yellow Fish. N.d. N/A, N/A.Flickr. Web. 20 Oct. 2011. (link)
  • Photo 7: Tony Hisgett. Yellow Fish. N.d. N/A, N/A.Flickr. Web. 20 Oct. 2011. (link)
  • Photo 8: Karen. IMG_1378. N.d. N/A, N/A.Flickr. Web. 20 Oct. 2011. (link)
  • Photo 9: Ramesh NG. Yellow Rose. N.d. N/A, N/A.Flickr. Web. 20 Oct. 2011. (link)
  • Photo 10: John Fowler. Two Arches. N.d. N/A, N/A.Flickr. Web. 20 Oct. 2011 (link)
  • Photo 11: Bill Saturno. Ocean mountain clouds alaska. N.d. Alaska, N/A.Flickr. Web. 20 Oct. 2011 (link)

Below are photos of the process of my artwork:

I’m naming my artwork “Ocean Rose”. This name have no specific inside meanings to it, the name is pretty straightforward. When I created this photo, I did not intend it to to actually convey a message nor have a special meaning to it. But during the process of creating this artwork I felt that my artwork could actually have a meaning. It could mean that we should “look at things differently”. Like the rose in my artwork. Sometimes the petals of the rose don’t have to always be petals, and the rose’s stem doesn’t always have to be a stem. It can always be anything, as long as we think differently and accept its forms.

I was inspired by a post from moillusions.com to create the double image fish using the mountains, rainbow and fish eye photos on the right side of the artwork. The flock of flying birds in shape of a lady’s face in Pammy’s artwork also inspired me.

[element paragraph – require my art journal, will add ASAP]

For this artwork I did it entirely using GIMP. I used many process in order to finish my work:

  • Selecting – selecting parts of the image and insert them to the artwork layer to create an image.
  • Layering – putting each part of the image on top of each other so that they look solid.
  • Changing the Layer Mode – This process is very important to my artwork, as I use this process to adjust the colors and make them fit together. I changed the layer mode from Normal -> Screen/Normal -> Overlay/ Normal -> Color for the rose’s petals, fishbones, the yellow part of the ocean, the sea arch and the rainbow.
  • Changing the Opacity – I changed the opacity for the fish eye, fishbone and rose petals.
  • Blending – I used a lot of this process in my artwork, as you can see in the rose. Without blending the rose would look quite unnatural.
  • Changing the Color Using the Paintbrush Tool – I applied this on the double image sea arch. More about it below.
  • Erasing – I had to erase using the ‘eraser’ tool parts of the picture I find not as neat, i.e. the fishbones as the stem in my work.

Some things I find challenging is to create the double image of the sea arch on the side of the work. My original photo is brown, and I wanted the arch to be blue so that it would blend together. To do so, I had to create another layer, use the paint brush tool to paint parts of the arch blue, then changed the layer mode and opacity. Then, I had to duplicate the layers around 3 more times to get the color I want. I didn’t choose to use the filters option because I tried and it gave me a weird color. I also applied this process to the stem of the rose (fishbones), as well as the petals of the rose (yellow fishes).

Another challenge is that the double image sea arch looked pretty bad because we can’t really see the fish’s tail. To fix this, I had to duplicate the arch layers again, and draw the fish’s fins and tail. I also had to change the color to blue.

But in the end, I am very happy with my artwork. Comparing my artwork to others, I think mine looks pretty unique as I didn’t see anyone having similar ideas. I think I managed my time wisely, I actually finished with my work around 2 period before the last class we had before the October Break. Here are the feedbacks from my peers:

In the future, I would also like to know whether surrealism images were popular back in the 1980s or not.

* * * * *


Dalí, Salvador. “Salvador Dalí: The Accommodations of Desire (1999.363.16) | Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History | The Metropolitan Museum of Art.” The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York: Metmuseum.org. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, 21 Sept. 2011. Web. 22 Sept. 2011. <http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/1999.363.16&gt;.

“Absolute News Manager .NET V5.0 : Licensed to Cincinnati Art Museum.” Cincinnati Art Museum | Home. Cincinnati Art Museum, 15 Feb. 2009. Web. 22 Sept. 2011. <http://www.cincinnatiartmuseum.org/absolutenm/&gt;.

Dictionary.com. Ask.com, 2010. Web. 10 Aug. 2010. <http://dictionary.reference.com/&gt;.


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