After my apprenticeship, when I actually earned trust from Dali in both my ideas and artistic execution, I took it upon myself to either bring projects to Dali or propose them. As for projects I mean anything from paintings to lithographs that I suggested double imagery on, to all sorts of special lenses and mirrors which might promote a 3D projection. For these lenses and mirrors I would often find items in the Edmund Scientific Catalogs of the day. These catalogs were constant sources of inspiration and they covered a wide spectrum of scientific objects instruments and toys. Two of the toy associated items that I found, purchased and brought o Dali were to become eggs. Both caused great spectacle, both transformed the toy into a antigravitational egg, and both delighted the master. One was based on paper dirigibles, which were saucer shaped and utilized a candle for the hot air generation, the second was a toy hovercraft, with a flexible shaft that turned a propeller making the small hovercraft float 0.5-1 inch above the ground.
I will tell a short story of the hot air balloon eggs first. As I said I scoured the Edmund Scientific catalog as well as others always on the lookout for Dalinian projects for both artistic expression and outright fun. I would send all sorts of items in this vein to Dali in Port LLigot during the spring and summer. Always wanting my packages to stand out to Dali I became a complete terror to the Fairfield, CT Post Office as the objects would simply not go in a plain box or envelope, I would construct the package dressed in silk, velvet, ROWLUX, and many other odd textiles which gave the impression of relief. On top of that I’d often attach real and manufactured insects and inset wings of all types, eggs, and mini crutches. Often these precious wrappings were sewn onto the package, by hand. In any case I had wrapped and sent 4 of the paper hot air balloons to Dali, explaining that their saucer shape was purrrrrrrrfecttt!! For making them into eggs. I heard nothing about them until in 1974, being invited by Dali to help with the opening of his Museum to come to Port Lligot. A few days into my stay Dali pulls out the package and suggests we create a spectacle. The paper was very thin and delicate but we managed to paint yolks and crisps on the eggs in watercolor and gouache. After painting I was left to construct the ball0on frames and prepare for the ineggvasion. It was Dali’s plan to launch the blimp fried eggs over the Port as to look like an alien invasion, when all the time it was just the anti gravitational eggs of Dali. As dusk approached and guests arrived at the Dali house, I was instructed to take the balloons to the pier at the edge in front of the house, light the candles, inflate and launch them. Three of the four actually made it up and over the port at around 20-30 feet high, one caught on fire and never made it off the ground. When the remaining three were airborne, I rushed into the patio to call Dali to see the invasion. Dali, knowing full well what to expect, came alone before running back to the guests to come quickly, Port Lligot was being invaded, later telling them that these are just the anti gravitational eggs of Dali, which they should have known. While the Balloon eggs ascent did not last long, the candle illuminated the inside of the paper object, lighting the yolks up magnificently orange and gold in the dark dusk sky over the Port.
The second flying egg object was conceived and brought to Dali while he was at the St Regis in NY. I bought two of the hovercraft thinking we can make a large single egg out of them to Dali. I approached him in the King Cole Bar with a bag containing the 2 hovercraft and took one out to describe the project.
Dali needed no encouragement. He grabbed me by the arm and proceeded to take me out into the lobby of the hotel. A woman just coming back from her day of shopping was just entering the far doorway (closest to the bar) when we were passing and Dali notices she has a shiny white plastic shopping bag. Dali approaches the woman and states he needs the bag. The woman, still slightly shocked, starts to object when Dali launches into a theatrical speech. “I am a genius, and you are not”, I can make a masterpiece from this bag, and you, can not,”” Please, I need the bag”. As Dali pulls the bag it drops to the floor an out of it cosmetics of all sorts start rolling in every direction from the spilled bag. Dali picks up the bag and after a quick “Thank You”, we are off.
In one of Dali’s rooms we are sitting at a table and Dali cuts one oval shape out of the bag and instructs me to cut more, as many as I can. I cut six more ovals out of the plastic bag and Dali criticizes me for making one more than we need…..I am fairly used to this and ask what is next. Dali is already painting a bright yellow orange yolk on one egg and handing me a tube of raw umber, tells me to paint the “crisps” on the edge. He’s chosen acrylic to dry fast and we make short work of completing the 6 ovals which are now fried eggs. The hovercraft itself was made of red plastic and Dali wanted the craft to look like a cast iron pan, so the two cars were painted with black acrylic. Dali instructed me how he wanted the eggs to be glued to the cars. Three eggs to a car, some drying time and we test run them in the room. Dali is acting as excited as a child on Christmas. We put on our capes and head downstairs.
Dali tells me in the elevator on our way to the lobby that I should follow his lead (our eggs are already scurrying about chaotically as the elevator stops and we walk out into the lobby) The whirring sound of the propellers immediately draws a lot of attention to us and the lobby is full as it is around dinnertime and there is lots of activity. We make our way past the desk and start a following, which follows us down into the cocktail lounge where, by the normalist of Dalinian miracles, the TV press is covering a singing artist appearing at the lounge. There is a small band and a platform with a grand piano on it. The top of the piano is closed and Dali takes me by the arm and hops up on the platform. All this time the eggs are flying about chaotically, and Dali grabs his to fly on the top of the piano. I follow and as the band is still playing (I believe the singer stopped a while back) Dali, still holding my arm signals that we are to dance with the eggs whirring around madly on the piano. Following his lead, we start a showgirl like step reminiscent of the Charleston in front of the piano. Dali tells the press that everyone should be singing and gay as he has just brought the object of his cybernetic dreams into fruition, FLYING EGGS!!!!
As it turns out this was just the start of the fun, as we left the cocktail lounge to walk to the Plaza, a few blocks away. Now, I must tell you that walking with Dali, or Dali alone for that matter, is one thing that caused a commotion on NY streets. Walking with him with the two flying fried eggs on their leashes really attracted a following. By the time we got to the Plaza, there were a few hundred people following. We were met again by the press and a TV camera on the stairs of the hotel. While there was some smalltalk I do not remember, Dali started the press conference by exclaiming, “ IN NEW YORK, SOME PEOPLE WALK THEIR POODLES, I WALK MY EGGS!!!!”. There was a controlled applause to which Dali bowed, and we headed inside. In the Palm Court we had our usual tea and toast, which normally happened in the afternoon, and Dali surprised many a visitor with the eggs, as he would have it scoot out from under the table and great people with his surrealist surprise. As would usually happen when we were in the Palm Court, the strolling violinist came to play Dali’s favorites and at one point Dali draped the line of the hovercraft through the fingers of the violinist which held the bow, as to have the music control the movements of the eggs.
Flying Fried Eggs
Dali used eggs in many of his paintings, I believe theye were the predesessor to melting watches, and in fact are actually melded with his melting watch in his 1979 painting "Search for the Fourth Dimension". What follows are my stories of Flying Fried Eggs with Dali.
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To view the flying fried eggs in action,