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He who will not look to any other mind than his own will soon find himself reduced to the most miserable of all imitations, that is to say, to his own works.

Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres

These words, printed in the catalogue of Salvador Dalí’s first solo exhibition at the Dalmau

Galleries in Barcelona, aligned with Dalí’s belief that “change is irresistible [...] none the less [sic] paradoxically necessary to reveal the true strength of tradition.”¹ From allusions to old master paintings, to employing Cubist and Divisionist techniques in his early works, Dalí’s extensive knowledge of the history of art saw him constantly returning to tradition for inspiration.

Today, Surrealist aesthetic and iconographic traits have been repurposed by a new generation of crypto artists. This article considers these artists’ enchantment with Surrealism, while recognizing the movement’s influence on culture beyond its art historical context. Dalí’s (as well as Manet’s) practice of mining tradition to produce original forms of “realism” reinforces the impression of crypto art, with all its memetic fascination, as in some sense a realist movement. And while Surrealism is doubtless central to much contemporary practice — from works in VR and AI to popular image culture — NFT artists seem particularly fond of the movement.

Today, “surreal” trends across OpenSea, Nifty Gateway, and SuperRare, remaining one of the most popular, rarefied, and sought-after genres in the NFT market.

NFT art by KEN KELLEHER, Sculptor, designer, digital artist.

"The astral projection of an infinite being made of wisdom, magic, dreams and imagination."

NFT art by INDI SULTA, Icelandic multimedia artist.


"Listening to the whispers of the gods and finding sacred knowledge for humans"


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