I'm not the Immortal Artist. You are

Immortal Artist is dedicated to exploring all aspects of experimental art and creating new and innovative techniques which other artists can use to strengthen their own work.


The blogs creator, experimental artist Grey Cross pursues and discusses art across a wide spectrum of artistic mediums. They include painting, sculpting, body art, digital art, and photography. With an emphasis on teaching artists to utilize today's social networks to further their own art and reputations.


This blog uses the Living Blog concept, an idea created by Grey Cross

Grey Cross Studios/Immortal Artist Operations

New Orleans

Email: greyacross@aol.com

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Two New Works

A few notes at the closing of two major projects.

This week saw the completion of two new sculptures, one of which took about 3 months to complete. Both have distinctly different meanings, both of which are close to my heart. Each piece standing alone without any explanation (in my opinion) is only half complete. Some pieces are better left to the complete interpretation of the viewer, but with others, I think its important to know where the artist was going with them.

I find it a great challenge to place a message within what I create. It makes it more real for me in a sense. Almost like I am placing a part of my own spirit in the work that goes beyond the act of creation.

When I first began my career as an artist, I put behind me a long career as a photographer. I needed something more in my life. Photography helped me be creative, but it wasn't quite enough for me and I plunged headlong into art and made it my life. Unfortunately a few of my associates saw this as a bad move and why was I throwing away a career as a photographer. My art would never be good enough starting  this late in life.

One of those people (who is still a  friend) used to call my early work "fun" and this made me cringe with revulsion. I didn't want FUN art. I wanted art of substance and meaning. And I admit that it molded my early development and turned me into a bit of a fanatic about placing meaning in my art.

There are some pieces I just do for fun, casting meaning aside just for the aesthetics of a particular design. But I admit that somewhere deep down inside of me I still cringe at creating "fun" art.

More and more, especially after having been so ill last year, I focus on message as much as aesthetics. I wrote awhile back on the importance of both abstraction and purpose in a piece of art (click here to see original article) and that is apparent in a major way in these two new sculptures. I hope you find meaning.

Click the photos below to view the complete portfolios & descriptions


The Mark of the Beast

The Secrets of My Youth

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Talented Young Artist - Zen and the Creative






Quandary of Life


Student:  "I want to be a successful artist so bad. I want to study with you.

Mentor: You’re not ready.

Student: I am! I have the skills.

Mentor: It’s not about skills. It’s about mindset.

Student: My mind wants it!

Mentor: Your mind wants it. But your mind also wants that new house you just bought and your friends and your family and all your toys and gadgets and weekends on the beach. When you can release all those things for a while then you’re ready.

Student: But I like those things!

Mentor: And those things tie you down and don’t allow you to go to that next level. Those things mean you work 12 hours a day and sleep and have no time for your art. It’s OK to have nice things, but when you allow them to tie you down then accomplishing what you really want out of your life become secondary.

Student: Then I’ll never be an artist!


Mentor: You’re already an artist. But will you be an accomplished artist who makes creating your life? Perhaps you will in 30 years when the two car garage and 4 kids that will eventually come are grown and on their own life path. But not now, not unless YOU make it happen.


Could It Be Magic


Student: I want to paint magic. I want people to be in awe of my art. How do I do it? What do I need to learn?

Mentor: These things you don't learn from technique. These things you learn from experience and placing your emotions and those experiences into your work.

Student: But I don't have any experiences yet.

Mentor: Then you need to seek those experiences while your learning the fundamentals. Art isn't just about painting. Its about making your art speak. When we share our unique life view with others then we give them a chance to experience also.

Student: I don't get it.

Mentor: Have you ever been to a museum where you passed 20 paintings and only gave them a glance, then you suddenly saw that one painting that spoke to your soul? You grasped it. You saw something totally new and it made you look at the world just a little differently.

Student: Yes, I've had that happen several times.

Mentor: That's the magic. That's the artists life experience reaching out and touching you for just a moment in time and made you consider something you'd never thought about before.

Student: So I should visit more art museums?

Mentor: No and yes. Let the experiences of other artists guide your hand to create your own experiences to pass on to others but seek your own experiences. Challenge life.

Student: This sounds like Star Wars.

Mentor: In  a way it is because you yield a powerful force in your creativity. You hold in your hands the ability to touch others and change their lives. That's where the true magic is.

Student: That sounds impossible to achieve.

Mentor: If it was easy, it would have no value. Its a responsibility not to be taken lightly.

Student: I didn't learn any of this in my college art courses.

Mentor: And you never will.


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Listening To Time - Those Perverts From the Future Can Here Me!

time
[tahym] 

The system of those sequential relations that any event has to any other, as past, present, or future; indefinite and continuous duration regarded as that in which events succeed one another.



Bleeding Time - Grey Cross Studios


I have a lot of time on my hands to think. As an artist my hands are in constant motion but sometimes there is not much for the mind to do. At other times there is too much for the mind and it overloads (but that's a different topic for another time). The simple fact is that I look at the world, its problems and its oddities through the eyes of an artist and I try to apply the same solutions that I would apply to a complex piece of art. Some may have read the blog post called "Lost in the Space of my Mind". if you haven't read it, it explains a lot about my thinking process and how brainstorming problems occurs.

With that in mind, I've recently been thinking some very odd thoughts. We as humans tend to shrug off the things we cannot comprehend. Quite awhile back I wrote a short article called "THE UFO PHENOMENON FROM A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE". Since I think the original article is lost in the mists of time, I've added it to the bottom of this article for your perusal. While this isn't dealing with UFO's, the same logic applies of looking at something from a totally different angle to find a solution.

Now, regardless of what your views on time travel are (oh my god, he's going from UFO's to Time travelers, the boy is nuts), I started looking at it from a different perspective. It seems to me that if future civilizations could travel in time, someone, SOMEONE would have caught on by now. Other than a few odd random strange things like photos of Nicholas Cage in a Civil War uniform on an old tintype photo, there is very little in the way of an supporting oddities that might give hints of a future time traveling universe.

But, what if those in the future aren't "time travelers" but "time listeners"? What if, in order to get around the risk of paradox, we are at this very moment being listened to? (cue creepy Twilight Zone music). But think about it for a moment. Why risk moving a person in time, when you could just eavesdrop on every person who ever walked the earth?

Now you'll think me nuts, but the idea of this came while changing a tire with my dear partner one evening. Here we were, wrestling with this damned tire and griping at each other light heartedly. And I said "god I hope the future isn't listening to us right now, because they'd think we were nuts. Then I stopped and thought....hmmm what if they ARE listening? What if they fill in the blanks about historic figures from the past just by being a cosmic voyeur (the perverts)?

As nutty as it sounds, there would be logical reasons for doing this. First, I feel that the technology will inevitably get to the point where time travel is possible. If their morals and logic can keep them from tampering with the past, what a great way to still get what they want out of our ancient ancestors without effecting the time line?

Paradox is solved because there is no trace of these cosmic listeners. Or is there? Is that odd feeling your being watched perhaps something more? Are ghosts, not apparitions from the past but instead feedback from the future, much as a speaker system will create a screech when a microphone is not tuned right?

The possibilities are endless to speculate on things that go on around us when viewed from the lens of these listeners. Again, we shrug off the odd around us that has no explanation and we don't seek new ways to understand them. This gets back to the original article posted years ago regarding UFO's (below).

So, something to think about and freak out about in the middle of the night when your sure someone is there in the dark watching you. Maybe they are? Say hello for me and ask them if they ever found a successful vehicle for Ellen Cleghorne? (Yes that was a Family Guy reference for the three people the got the joke)

Think one odd thoughts everyday before breakfast and your life will be filled with wonder.

~Grey~

***********

THE UFO PHENOMENON FROM A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE 
A Commentary by Grey A. Cross
December 13, 2011 at 11:31pm


Consider for a moment that we have the ability now to see other planets. Recently, a planet that they suspect has water (the first we've seen so far) was found 600 light years from the Earth.

It’s predicted that as our technology improves, our abilities to view alien worlds will become better and better. Yet with this great ability, we have no skills to travel to such planets at this time.

With this in mind, what if, space travel, as we perceive it, is impossible, not only for us, but for other worlds as well.

Just because we cannot travel to another planet does not indicate that other civilizations do not exist, merely that we cannot reach them.

So for a moment, reverse the ability to view an alien world. While we have not found a living civilization yet, what IF other civilizations have found us? Not traveled to us, but seen us, through their own scientific abilities.

We are a remarkable race. If we spotted another civilization out there amongst the stars, wouldn't our best minds be put to work on how to let them know we were here? What if the best minds of another world have already done so?

Now bring this thought back to earth and our past 50 years of UFO phenomena. We have been so caught up in thinking aliens are traveling here that we've lost perspective on other explanations. Doesn't it seem rather pointless to shoot around our skies watching us without saying a word?

Random waving lights in the skies?

Bright objects that hover and dart around without much reason?

Pulses?

Spirals?

Shafts of color that cut through the skies at odd moments?

Have you ever played with a laser pointer? Moving it in such a way that it gets the attention of someone a block away or in the next room or down a hallway? Intelligence moves it, but it’s a one-way communication. There is no way to respond to the point of light and say “Hey! Where are you from?” The laser light will not speak back. Its up to us to define it’s meaning.


What if this phenomenon is another world’s way of using the only ability they have to say “WE ARE HERE.”

I can envision the planet Earth 20 years in the future. We've found a suitable world a few hundred light years away. We can see it. We can see it’s inhabited. We can even see it’s intelligent life. How would we say “WE ARE HERE”? We can’t travel to them. But we can in our own random way perhaps send them a signal. But how do you send a signal hundreds of light years to a civilization that you can only see in the macro? You do not know the language. Hell, you don’t even know if they have eyes to see with. BUT you can pick up an amazing amount of information just by watching. You can see that they light their cities. So you know they see things in a spectrum that we can understand. So we create the world’s biggest laser pen and we decide to blink it in the sky above them a few times and see if we get their attention. Our aim isn't too good, so we just try to keep it steady in their skies and hope that someone sees it. Perhaps we develop something akin to holographs and hope that we are sending an image they grasp. But you’re still only sending a one-way communication until you can get them to respond in suit.

Getting the idea now? We are so ready to dismiss random points of light in our skies or bobbing and weaving balls of electricity as things crackpots see. But it sure seems like a lot of the world’s population is nuts then, because these phenomena seem to be on the increase. No, maybe you’re not seeing an alien spaceship where gray leathery-skinned beings will pop out and offer you a cure for cancer, but maybe, just maybe you’re seeing another world’s feeble attempt to say “Hi, we are here. Come find us.”

I welcome your comments.

~Grey~

Monday, January 19, 2015

Tips From the Art Studio of the Strange & Unusual

Its amazing all the little personal things we discover while we work. Here are a few of my own personal (and sometimes peculiar) techniques. I will add to this list so check it out again


ENTER HERE ALL YE WHO WOULD LEARN OF STRANGE SIGHTS



Fabric Softener - I use a small cap-full of fabric softener in several of my paint rinsing jars. The results are, softer and more pliable brushes and better smelling water that doesn't need to be changed quite so often. Keep a couple of jars available with clear water also for the final rinse before using the brush. Its also great for brushes that you thought were destroyed due to drying out by placing them in some non-diluted fabric softener for a day or two then gently brushing out the remaining crud.

Metal Cat Combs - I use a fine toothed metal cat comb to clean some of my brushes. These do well cleaning out fine particles of paint that may dry on the brush.

Fired/Glazed Tiles - I use fired/glazed tiles instead of paint trays to place wet paint. The advantages are, super easy cleanup with an exacto knife, easy to hold when working, easy for mixing colors. In most home improvement stores they will have a tile area where you can purchase a wide variety of ceramic tiles for bathrooms, etc. They will have individual tiles that are very cheap (about $1 each). I keep a stack of them in the studio in two sizes (3"x 6" and 6"x 6") The smaller size are easy to hold in the palm of the hand, while the larger is good for multiple colors. No more buying cheap pallets or having to clean expensive ones. An additional advantage is because the tile is fired, almost everything else cleans off them also. I use mine for mixing glues and epoxies and very rarely find that I cant remove the excess with a sharp exacto blade.

Lysol - Surprisingly Lysol is great for more than germs. It is a great substance for cleaning up wet or dry spills on your canvas. A bit of scrubbing or rubbing is usually enough to remove most if not all of the spill. I prefer the aerosol cans to the liquids but both will do the job. I usually spray it on my cleanup rag though rather than directly on the surface. Disadvantage is that it dries quickly, so you may need to reapply a couple times to the rag. But this is also an advantage because there is no drying time once clean.

Gorilla Glue - Gorilla glue (or equivalent product) is a foaming glue. If your unfamiliar with it, it goes on like a syrup but raises and foams to fill cracks when used as a glue. I use it also to create texture on paintings. It adheres perfectly to canvas or board and because it foams it can create some amazing patterns. Sometimes I use it straight out of the bottle as a drip or with a pallet knife to create patterns and move it where I want it. Keep in mind, once its on there, its there to stay! You do have a few minutes where you can remove it, but once the drying begins, its pretty much permanent. As long as you clean your pallet knife within 5 minutes or so, you can get it off without any trouble. Painting over it is not a problem, although an undercoat or double coat is sometimes needed to cover the pale yellow color of the glue itself.

Toilet Paper - Want an unusual way to create texture? Lay the toilet paper out on the canvas and spray it with a mister made up of water and glue or water and mod podge. Once it dries it will harden enough and adhere to the surface enough that you can then brush it or spray it with a heavier adhesive or glue. It creates some great crinkled patterns, or let the first layer dry then overlay it with more. If you lay it out in the opposing direction the crinkling effect will create layered striations. Another trick is to use a heavier towel paper first then overlay with the toilet paper if you wanted higher ridges. Its tricky getting the hang of it, but great for creating something unusual.

Paint Samples - At most home improvement stores, there is an area in the paint department where they put out cans of sample paints used for color matching. This paint is pretty much wasted if the color is off or the customer does not like the tint. For those artists who are on an extreme budget, this can be a great thing. I found early on while working on huge canvas sizes, that I could never afford the amount of gesso it takes to cure a canvas. Due to the nature of my work, the canvas is completely covered in the end anyway. For me its crucial that the canvas weave is tight. One day I decided out of curiosity to see what latex paint would do. I know that gesso has special agents within it that make it great, but I thought "what the heck" and bought a $2.00 quart can off the reject table at Home Depot and tried it. To my surprise it was great! It covered nicely, it tightened the weave and it served nicely as an under layer. Since then I grab up a couple cans of this when I am in store and keep them on hand. They seem to be a cheap and viable method for curing your canvas prior to beginning your work.

THE ARTIST TAKES NO RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE OUTCOME OF THESE TIPS. IF YOU MESS IT UP, BUY ANOTHER CANVAS 


Saturday, January 10, 2015

Inspire Thee! Songs of Inspiration for Artists

inspiration
[in-spuh-rey-shuh n] 

Stimulation or arousal of the mind, feelings, etc, to special or unusual activity or creativity




I am a firm believer in the inspiration of music on an artists work. You never know what you might hear, or for that matter see, when you step into my studio. I let the music flow around me as if it were water, aiming my creativity with the rhythm and the beat around me.

Some artists can't do this. They need solitary quiet in which to compose their work. I need this when I write so I can hear the thoughts more clearly. But with art, its more than likely that I need the joy of sound around me.

It changes constantly. When I begin my work day, it may start with the sounds of Mardi Gras music (something heard more and more often during carnival season). An hour later their may be a Verdi opera playing. From each I gain a different insight and find my work influenced in a different way.

What is important is that the music inspires an emotion in me. With that emotion I translate it into art.

I began awhile back, posting onto my twitter account a song of inspiration for each night. I've been asked by several to start to compile this into a regular list on my website. So in thanks to those who also gain inspiration from the music, I present this list here. It will be updated daily to add the new tune of each day.

I try to match these tunes to YouTube so everyone can hear.

In Harmony,

~Grey~




Saturday, January 3, 2015

Memorial to Transgender suicide & Leelah Alcorn

transgender
[trans-jen-der]

Noting or relating to a person whose gender identity does not correspond to that person’s biological sex assigned at birth





This past week 17 year old Leelah Alcorn took her life. Leelah was transgender. Her body did not match her birth gender. Her life, especially in recent years was literally hell. Her parents refused to see the problem. She was told she was wrong to feel this way. She was told she was sick in the mind. Friends and family abandoned her and she stood alone with no support and no one to tell her they cared and it was OK to feel as she did.

Leelah threw herself in front of a semi-trailer truck in order to escape the despair her young life had become.

Leelah's death was tragic and in a few short days she has become the poster child for the world, opening eyes (hopefully) to see past our stereotypes and our misunderstandings of what transgender means.

Some who read my blog may ask, why does this mean anything to you? Your an artist, stick to your paints. I would like to think that this strikes home for me because my heart aches that Leelah was treated so poorly in life. I would like to think I understand because as a gay male, I've faced mental anguish about my own life path. But the simple fact is that the dearest and truest person in my life, who is my partner, my support and my inspiration, is also transgender.

I have seen him struggle with these very issues. I've heard his words about how the first 40 years of his life were hell because he knew for certain that he was a male trapped in a female body. I've been with him almost from the start that he began his courageous journey 4 years ago to make the changes necessary to bring his gender and his brain into sync.

I've seen him explode in a positive, creative amazing person since his journey began and I've been in awe of him every day because he has become the person he was meant to be.

And I tell you truly that I have said a prayer of thanks that he never became so desperate that he cast himself in front of a truck, because I know he's been close to that place of utter despair many times in his life.

With these things in mind, we are aware that there was a request for the weekend of January 2-4, 2015 to memorialize Leelah and honor her struggle and the struggles of all who have faced this situation. She is not the only one to take her life this past week alone. Sadly the other deaths were not so dramatic, therefore the news has greatly ignored them. But the simple fact is, each death has happened and our world has lost many great people because of it.

So with love and respect of both the living and those who have passed on who struggle with the transgender issue, we have placed an altar in front of our home until Sunday evening. We welcome anyone at anytime day or night who would wish to leave a prayer, or anything else they so desire, or merely pay their respects as we will be paying ours.

With love to all,
Grey

The New Orleans Memorial is located at:

1915 4th Street (Uptown between Daneel and Dryades)


Below are a few resource links that you may find of interest:

LEELAH ALCORN

PFLAG Transgender Support

Transgender 101