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

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

The Junkman Cometh - Creating a New Art Technique From Unlikely Items



I have a number of people that often drop off items at the studio that I can use for both my own work and to use with my artist interns. One elderly fellow is a trash picker. Every few weeks he stops late in the night with a ramshackle pickup truck filled to overflowing and leaves me a care package of stuff he's found during his wanderings.

Often the items are in poor enough shape that I discard them. But there are some amazing gems every so often also. Anything in a can that isn't too rusted I put on a shelf. Spray paint, half used cans of varnish and the occasional "mystery" container get saved.

Now I've had this piece of driftwood I pulled out of the river a few weeks ago and let dry. Usually I would discard a piece like this because it was badly rotting and some of the parts of it were weak to the point of really not having much value as a piece of art. But this one had caught my eye because of its swirling patterns. It reminded me of a candle flame in its shape and pattern. So I brought it home and dried it out and tested it for strength. The results weren't good. The wood was quite fragile. So I set it aside on a work table and would glance at several times a day wondering how it could be saved and used. 

So last night I sat down with it again, my finger slowly tracing the patterns within it and I decided to try an experiment. What could I do that would keep the pattern of the wood yet create a solid bond around it? What if I gently polyurethaned the wood? Would that give it enough strength that it could be used? 

Sadly after several hours I gave up, realizing it was probably hopeless. The polyurethane was strong, but not that strong. I could go buy something stronger but that would take money and energy that were better used elsewhere at the moment. Then I decided to go look at the old junkmans shelf of bottles and cans and just see what was there. What did I have to lose? I was just going to end up tossing the fragile piece of wood otherwise. 

After some searching I found a can of something called Appliance Epoxy. What caught my eye was the can said "Smooth Factory-like Appearance. Ultra Hard Enamel". So I took it out on the porch and I tested it out to see if the cane even worked and got a nice smooth flow of this tar colored epoxy. Okay, so what the heck. Nothing lost nothing gained. I'm an experimental artist, so lets experiment. 

I laid the driftwood down and thoroughly coated the driftwood on both sides. I left it alone after that until this morning where to my delight the epoxy had coated the driftwood in a hard shell that left the grain of the wood in tact but had hardened the wood to a point where it was again solid and no longer fragile.

Since then I've resprayed it several times to make sure it had a solid coat on all sides. My intention will be to paint it using metallic orange and reds to create an eternal flame sculpture out of. 

So here is a new technique born totally out of a taking a chance on something different. I've often been frustrated at seeing beautiful patterns of wood that were too fragile to be usable. I may have just found a way to take advantage of that and create some amazing new art from it.

Thanks Faerie Junkfather. I shall ever be in your debt! 

Creatively,
~Grey~ 

UPDATE: Here is the final sculpture


Monday, February 22, 2016

The Darkness and the Light - An Extraordinary Art Event

Click to Enlarge

March 18, 2016
YaYa Art Center
3322 LaSalle Street
New Orleans

Join us for one extraordinary night of art and the artistic experience with Sculpture artist Grey Cross of New Orleans, photographer John Sevigny of El Salvador and mixed media artist Rosie Hartmann of Milwaukee, WI as we put together a show that delves into what lies in between the light and the dark. 

Actor/Singer Marshall Harris will be the host for the event and Poppy Z. Brite well known author and artist will be our special guest artist showing his shadow box art! 

There will also be amazing hors d' ouevres provided by the Refuel Cafe and everages provided by the amazing charity The Friday Night Before Mardi Gras! All of which you can enjoy while engaging the art or watching some live painting.

This event does NOT require an RSVP and is free of charge to all visitors! Contact us at 231-736-3000 for questions.

Follow the show preparation in its final weeks here!

Friday, February 19, 2016

Let the Gallery Handle It (Show Prep 101)

We take a lot of things for granted when a gallery handles a showing of our art. I talk a lot about the negative aspects of galleries and how the gallery system as a whole is failing for emerging and unknown artists. But lets talk about some of the positive things a gallery does.

We count on the gallery having an A List of potential buyers of our work. But there is a lot more that goes into doing a showing. I am learning quickly all of the small details that go into making a show successful.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

#AiBelieve - Artists Taking up the Chant for HUMAN Rights

In dedication to Artist Ai Weiwei for challenging us all to be better people



Add what you believe and pass the chant along

AI BELIEVE

Ai believe in a world where we all count for something!

Ai believe in the rights of all people even the poorest!

Ai believe there are no borders to caring for others!

Ai believe that freezing on the street homeless should never happen!

What do YOU believe?

Saturday, February 13, 2016

The Experimental Artist Discovers a New Technique



One of the reasons I became an artist was for the sheer exhilaration of exploring techniques. I must admit that I was bored at first. Painting on a one dimensional surface was fun for the first month and then after I'd done it several times I wanted more. I began working with three dimensions almost from the start. Dimensionality in  art fascinated me. Seeing something take form from different angles lent an endless fascination to everything I created. Suddenly the skills gained as a one dimensional painter exploded onto the 3D surfaces. 

Image of the Day - Alien Autopsy


This fellow is not in actuality a devil. He is a faerie creature and one of the upcoming sculptures for the show in March. At the moment he has been painted stark black. He is laid out this way with the stark lighting to prepare him for a class tomorrow where he will be the center of attention. When completed he will completed covered in metallic swirling wax. The class will be an instructional class on how to work with wax, using him as the example of the technique. But I could not resist snapping this photo tonight while I was prepping the studio for the class. Hopefully he won't shock the students! 

If you would like to see the tutorial for this piece and how its been built, click here:

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Night Terrors of the Struggling Artist

I talk a lot in my blog about the various aspects of being an artist. The successes, the challenges and yes occasionally the struggles.

Some know that I am just a month off from my first major show. A show that I am putting together with my own resources and wiles. The details and planning so far have gone stunningly well. I will be showing with two other international artists who are both friends and associates and some of the best artists I've had the fortune to know.

But late at night, once I've completed the days works, the night terrors set in.

Donating Art to Charities & Causes

Recently my partner and I attended an "art auction" in which I had a piece of sculpture. I am not going to state the organizations name out of respect to their cause. I will say for the record that its a cause that I feel very deeply about. This post is in no way a slur to their dedication to fund raise for this cause, nor did I look at it personally. I was glad to have been able to donate to it.

Because this blog is dedicated to telling the story of an artists journey, I feel that saying a few things about this event are in order.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

I Believe That Art Can Redeem

A recent spate of news articles tells how the now infamous Casey Anthony who was suspected of killing her two year old daughter, was beginning a new life as a photographer. As expected the responses to this were pretty negative. Many felt at the time and still do that Casey should have been convicted for the death of her daughter and should not be out on the streets now.

Another infamous case of last year was that of George Zimmerman who shot and killed 17 year old Trayvon Martin. He was also found not guilty. He turned to art for a short time, selling some rather pitiful looking paintings to cover his debt due to his trial. Again many think he should still be behind bars. 

Monday, February 8, 2016

Bacchus 2016 Mardi Gras Parade

A few scenes from the Bacchus Mardi Gras parade. I think the Bacchus is one of the best lit parades of the Mardi Gras season. Their floats are extraordinary. 



Thursday, February 4, 2016

A Child of God (Sculpture Tutorial)

Explanation

If you've not followed one of my tutorials before, these are done to allow other artists some insight into the experimental techniques I use to create my sculpture work. This tutorial will take you step by step from concept to the final creation. They are usually done in real time, meaning that as I am creating it I am also taking time to photo document the process and post and write about it as each step is completed. Depending on the sculpture, the process may take a week to two weeks to complete. I appreciate feedback and commentary in the space provided below. I will answer any questions to the best of my ability both during the process and after it concludes. 


  • SCULPTURE NAME: A Child of God
  • SCULPTURE SERIES: Driftwood Series
  • SIZE: 67" Long
  • PRICE POINT: Not yet decided

Concept

The concept behind this piece was to create a spirit creature emerging from a fallen tree that was still part tree, part creature. I've considered "Metamorphosis" as the pieces permanent name, but will see how it proceeds first. 

Ethics in Art - The Art of Other Peoples Art

Its a question some artists may have never considered before. But because part of my art is in the digital world and part in the real world it sometimes places me in a confusing ethical quandary from time to time.

Where is the boundary between using other peoples are in your own art?

You would think the question would clear cut and simple but its not.

Let me show you some examples.


This was a photo taken many years ago when I first came to New Orleans. Its rarely been seen as I felt after it was finished that it wasn't right for me to make a piece of my own art. It was taken on a rainy night and to be honest I fell in love with it once I completed it. But with some amount of guilt as it represents the work of other artists as well as my own work. So is the line crossed in using another artists work here? Or is it my own also?


Now it gets murkier. This was a wall of graffiti in an alleyway. Again the photo was taken early in my career, so don't judge by the quality. But often photographers photograph graffiti and do not think twice about making the photo their own? I know one photographer who makes a complete living off of photographing graffiti and selling the prints. Where is the ethical line between the first photo above and this one? Why is one right and the other wrong?


This photo was for an underwear ad. I wanted a dynamic background for the shoot and this was perfect for it. No one questioned the ethics of the photo even though it became an internationally distributed ad. I did not even question the ethics of it. Using graffiti as a background is not considered a problem, yet the fact remains that if using one persons art is not okay, where is the boundary?


Now it gets murkier. What of using the art of another in a more abstract form? Here is a Tiffany lamp photographed through a window which was reflecting the buildings across the street from it. Would anyone question the ethics of the shot? 

For photographers especially these are questions we should consider. Even though there is no easy answer to the problem but often do not even think about. But as a Visual Artist, I do consider it because I consider how I would feel if my art were used by another artist. Here is a perfect example.


No one would question whether this was a piece of art. In fact its three pieces of art because it was a body painting, a photograph and eventually this piece of digital art. But whats not known is that while I was painting the model, there was also a photographer in my studio photographing some of the setup shots for the piece and there was also a sketch artist present who was drawing the model while I painted him. So was the photographer in the wrong for using my art as part of his portfolio? Yes I gave him permission to do so, but what if I had been painting the model in a public space (which I am known to do from time to time). What if the photographer had been in the crowd and snapped some damn good photos? Is there an ethical boundary crossed? What if that photographer then went out and sold that photo for $10,000 without credit due to any of the parties involved? 

And what of the sketch artist? Aren't the drawings his own? Should he by right acknowledge all the other parties involved?

See, I could go one an on like this, bringing up example after example. While there may be legal precedence to back up some of these actions, the likely hood is that most artists and photographers wouldn't have a clue what they are. Nor would they care at the time the piece was created. 

So for me, I try to use a rule of thumb that say's if I question its authenticity as my own, I don't use it or try to sell it. Its simply about the balance for me and the circumstances and also where the art is positioned. If I walk into a private gallery and start snapping photos I've crossed the ethical border. If I photograph the same gallery from the street, the ethical border becomes a lot more vague. 

So where is your ethical border? Is that border different for you depending on whether your a photographer or a visual artist? Where is the line?

Creatively,
~Grey~

Monday, February 1, 2016

Being Creative Can Be Heaven & Hell



Having extreme creativity is not always an easy gift to live with. People typically think "oh he's so creative, I wish I could be like that." But its not always awesome. It can plague us in ways that people don't perceive.

Like anything in life, there are pros and cons mixed with anything we get in life. Creativity is the same way.

The Legend of Tahambrius Frae - Telling Tales With Art


As an artist, I strive to create art that tells a story. But sometimes I find it challenging to add story to the art. One of my ongoing themes is the faerie realm and how it interacts with both the physical and spiritual universes. When I created the above image I knew that Tahambrius Frae would become a permanent part of the faerie universe. These are the first two images using him. There will be others as no doubt his story will expand along with the art.

~Grey~


*****************

There are faerie creatures both good and bad. Some strive for the good of all beings, while others seek only destruction. And some like Tahambrius Frae want only to be left alone. There is only one of him and legend says he has been alive since the World Tree was only a seed. His sad gaunt figure can be glimpsed on every plane of existence. Every faerie creature has a task. As surely as humans live and breath, the fae are annointed with the task of their people. In the case of the Amaranthi, there task as a faerie race is the raising of the roots of the world tree.

So it is with Tahambrius Frae. Even though he is a solitary being, he is still required to fulfill his oath to the faerie people. His one task in life is to act as a guide to the saddest beings who cross over from the physical to the spiritual realm. Without him, these wrecked human beings would have no lodestone in which they could follow into the spiritual realm.

In the physical world only those whose hearts and minds are breaking will catch a glimpse of him.