surreal objects

Jim Morrison’s Surrealist Method

Jim Morrison’s art was greatly influenced by surrealism. The concept of using art to help people get in touch with their subconscious excited him. To understand his lyrical and poetic imagery on the first album is necessary to grasp at least the basic principles of surrealist art. Loosely described, surrealism, which rejects traditional values and beliefs, attempts to express the subconscious mind by presenting images in a random rather than ordered path. The idea is that by avoiding traditional concepts of order the surrealist allows his subconscious to flow free through his art. But the surrealists carry it much further than that as C. W. Mills describes in Surrealism in Art:

“The objective of surrealism was infinite expansion of reality as a substitute for the previously accepted dichotomy between the real and the imaginary. Acknowledging the human need for metaphysical release, the surrealist believed that through the cultivation of the miracles of objective chance, through the mystic of eroticism, through the diverting of objects from their familiar functions and surroundings, through a more cosmic perspective of life on this and finally through the alchemy of language that would learn to express this more dynamic reality, man might be able to satisfy his thirst for the absolute within the confines of his counted number of heartbeats.”

The disorder of surrealism is only on a superficial level. The true surrealists attempt to get in touch with what they consider the ultimate order contained within their subconscious. it is the seeking of order through disorder or reality through illusion. The surrealists believed that creating without a conscious order allowed the subconscious to dominate. Poets call this “poetic impulse” and Socrates said of inspired poets:

“All great poets, epic as well as lyric, compose their beautiful poems not by art, but because they are inspired and and possessed, Lyric poets are not in their right mind when composing their beautiful strains. For the Poet is a light and winged and holy thing, and there is no invention in him until he as been inspired and is out of his senses, and the ind is no longer in him. When he has not attained to this state, he is powerless and is unable to utter his oracles.”

The surrealist assumes that art that flows directly from the subconscious must be of a higher, more spiritual order. To define a man’s place in the cosmos through words, poems, and stories, the surrealist believes man has to totally lose himself in the process.

Whatever one can say about surrealism and Jim Morrison’s method toward revelation, there are only two statements that matter. the first is that, through him, surrealism influenced millions of others and the second is that it ultimately destroyed him.

Excerpts: Break on Through: The Life and Death of Jim Morrison by James Riordan & Jerry Prochnicky

The Signs as Basic Art Styles
  • Impressionism: Visually-based colors, real-world scenes, feathery textures are common. Paint is sometimes applied thick. - Virgo, Scorpio
  • Expressionism: Emotionally driven colors and distortions of form are common. More concern is placed on conveying an emotion than making the subject look realistic. - Cancer, Taurus, Aries
  • Surrealism: Some real objects, some not. Usually arranged or depicted unnaturally. Irony, metaphors, realistic colors and hallucinations are common subject matter. - Aquarius, Sagittarius
  • Abstraction: Abstraction is identified by distorted, vague, or irregular representations of real objects. Simplified forms and shapes are common. Real and unrealistic colors. - Capricorn, Libra
  • Abstract: Abstract work involves lines, shapes, and colors that don't depict real objects. Work can be messy, clean, feathery, splattered, spilled, accidental. - Pisces, Gemini, Leo