The general idea of Surrealism is nonconformity. Surrealists believed in the innocent eye, that art was created in the unconscious mind. Most Surrealists worked with psychology and fantastic visual techniques, basing their art on memories, feelings, and dreams. They often used hypnotism and drugs to venture into the dream world, where they looked for unconscious images that were not available in the conscious world. These images were seen as pure art.
Freud inspired many Surrealists, but two different interpretations of his ideas lead to two different types of Surrealists, Automatists and Veristic Surrealists. Automatists focused their work more on feeling and were less investigative. Automatists thought that abstract art was the only way to convey images of the subconscious, and that a lack of form was a way to rebel against traditional art. In this way they were much like Dadaists. On the other side Veristic Surrealists believed subconscious images did have meaning. They felt that these images were a metaphor that, if studied, could enable the world to be understood. Veristic Surrealists also believed that the language of the subconscious world was in the form of image.