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

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Its Not Just Digital Art

Part One - Staging


People often get the impression that digital art is about nothing more than using a computer program to create art. In some cases that is true, but in other cases its definitely NOT. 
Good art is as much about planning and staging as it is about creativity. Take a simple painting of a tree for example. The human eye takes in the whole piece of art. It sees a tree, which is what the artist intended. But the artist (if they are truly a master) take into consideration more than a tree. They consider the bark of the tree, the texture of the sky behind it, the angle and slant of the light coming through the leaves and the color and tones of the grass around it. 

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Revisiting Old Work - The Debate of Altering Art



Several years ago there was a large debate over movie companies changing original movies to add new materials and update the formats of various films like Star Wars. A lot of people were angry that their classic movies had been tampered with. 

Its an intriguing argument. Face it, we humans hate change. That is a fact of life. But it is also a fact of life that nothing stays the same. Everything from our thoughts to our tastes in fashion and food changes constantly. 

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Constructing Man


Sometimes we find art when we least expect it. Last evening, as I was nearing the end of my work night, I'd left two of the head sculptures on my work table to be completed. One of the heads had an under-layer of phosphorescent paint on it which had been painted over. Some of it was still peaking out through the paint but with the lights on, I hadn't noticed it. I shut the lights down in the studio and the scene above emerged, lit all in a bright phosphorescent glow. It was so surreal that it actually made me gasp. You see, usually I would leave lights on in the studio at the end of the night. But for some reason I shut everything off this night. If I hadn't, I would not have even noticed this or that the phosphorescent paint had been building up on the worktable over time. I scrambled for my camera in the dark and caught the image above.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Studio Aesthetics - The Artists Workplace



I had an interesting discussion with an artist about the aesthetics of my studio. He noted that I had approximately 30 candles burning throughout the room and wondered why I would light so many each day and was it religious in nature.

In a way it is religious, but not in the way he was thinking. I've written before about the sanctity of the studio and that the artists studio is as holy as any church or cathedral is. Creativity is the closest that, I believe, we can come to the true nature of our spiritual being.

I explained this to him, but I also took time to explain the importance of the aesthetics of an artists workplace for conducting business. For me the candles create a very special feel that guests instantly sense when they enter. There is an other worldliness to this space that it is important to me to impart to those who visit.

Friday, October 13, 2017

I"m a Sandwich Artist! The Demise & Affront of the Artisans Label



There was once a comedy routine that said that the word "fuck" was the most versatile word in the English language. (You can hear it here if interested)

I would like to propose that there is one word that is more fucking versatile than fuck. That word is:


"ARTIST"

This word has gone from identifying painters and sculptors to identifying EVERYTHING. Once when you claimed you were an artist people looked at you with wonder. Now the word has been so lost in the lexicon of humanity that its totally bereft of its original meaning.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

The Intuitive Power of the Artist



intuition
[in-too-ish-uh n, -tyoo-] 

Direct perception of truth, fact, etc., independent of any reasoning process; immediate apprehension



Intuition is one of those things that we always here about but it is rarely spoken of. Intuition hearkens back to witchcraft and arcane powers of the mind. It is the stuff of druids and mystics. It is not for the modern man.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Deep Storytelling in Art and the Limits of Today's Technology

"The Grand Conjunction" Deep Storytelling Art


What is Deep Storytelling?

Depp Storytelling is the process where by a piece of art focuses on multiple points of reference, each with its own story. 

The easiest way to describe it is to picture in your mind, a painting of a tree. The tree is at full bloom, its branches full of bright fruits and there is a morning dew glistening on each leaf. That tree represents a single story. The mind of the viewer creates that story in their mind because all the elements are present to tell a story. 

Saturday, September 23, 2017

The Higher Calling of an Artist



As artists develop and mature, they often find themselves taking on subject content that is far more than just a piece of art. It marks them and it labels them. We choose causes that are often not politically correct, are taboo or not in the mainstream. We choose them not because they make us feel good, but because we are willing to be shit upon in order to try and make the world see its problems in new ways. For example, Dissident Ai Weiwei has taken on the plight of refugees as his own. It has marked him and he has marked the debate about it. He is forever changed because of it and the subject of refugees has been forever changed because of him.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Burning Man - Art From a Distance (Complete Album)

For the second year, I am doing a screen capture project for Burning Man. My original intention last year was to promote the live feed for Burning Man while it was going on. But I quickly became intrigued whether something as simple as a low resolution screen capture could be made into decent art. In the past year I've done some extensive experimenting with the process including working with the live feed for the International Space Station. So this year I am bringing new skills to the table for this unusual art form and looking forward to making some great art remotely for this amazing yearly festival. Check back often for new art during the festival and immediately after!

Monday, July 31, 2017

Running Headlong into the Fog - Developing Creative Ideas



Sometimes I will get a very vague idea for a project. So vague that all I can see are shadows of what it could possibly be. If started these can fail easily because we have no guidance of the overall form. So why bother? 

Its easier to have a fully formed idea for a piece of art. Its more like playing connect the dots to get to what you see as the finished idea. Sometimes it feels too easy. 

Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Real Difference Between the Photographer and the Artist




There is a constant debate about the differences between an artist and a photographer. There is so much overlap into each field that it becomes a hopeless entanglement of terms and definitions. I've seen both artists and photographers become angry when someone confuses who they define themselves to be.

Friday, June 30, 2017

What to Do When You're Creatively Stuck - By Larry Mager (Guest Writer)




Photo By: Mihai Surdu (Stock Snap)


In a world where physical activity is performed in abundance, it is all so easy to forget how to nurture your mind as well as your body. Just like the muscles of the body, your mind is indeed a muscle that needs to be exercised daily in order to function to its best ability. Creativity is the driving force of passion behind many people, and when it runs through your veins and body, it can be the most exhilarating experience. However, when creativity runs dry, it feels as though that little flicker of light within has burned out. Fortunately there are several methods and exercises you can implement to relight that flame and get your creativity back up to par!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Tales From Another Age - Art Merging the Past With the Present


Old photographs have always been a passion of mine. I find I lose myself when I look at photos of earlier eras. While creating the work for the Grand Ball series, I've had to spend a lot of time looking through old archives. United States law says that virtually all photographs published before January 1923 are now in the public domain. In simpler terms they are free to use. 

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Setting the Scene - Creating the Surreal Seas Series


This is an example of how I set up some of my images. In the image above a scene is set in an all black staging area. Because this image will be taken in complete darkness all the pieces for the scene have been sprayed with an X2 phosphorescent paint. Once the lights go down, the only thing remaining will be those pieces. This gives me a little more leeway to be creative as the wiring will disappear once the lights go out. Using an all black staging area guarantees that only the objects I want to show will be seen. This also gives me more leeway when I am not shooting in the dark to add my own colors and backgrounds after the original image is photographed.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Ghost Ships


The Ghost Ships series was created using scale models of ships that were purchased at a flee market for $5.00 each. Each was spray painted solid black and then coated with an X2 phosphorescent paint. The models were staged with props that were also sprayed with the X2 paint. The staging was done in a completely black setting to eliminate all other light sources and photographed in total darkness. The photos were then moved to the digital studio where the final images in the series were created. 

Each final image has a doppelganger. This allows the viewer to zoom in and see each image larger than their screens may allow. The doppelganger is located beneath each image and can be controlled without having to move to another site.

Image #1 Silents Cries in the Deep



Thursday, June 1, 2017

A Prayer Against the Storm


Here in New Orleans, summer means that we begin to think about hurricanes. We don't acknowledge it publicly. But deep down inside there is that nagging uncertainty that our way of life may be destroyed yet again. In 2015 we went through the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. I did a lot of work during that time that was hurricane related. One of the pieces was a huge 5' x 5' canvas of a hurricane coming in over a city. It still hangs on the wall of the studio. 

Fast forward to today. We are getting the first of our spring time thunderstorms which come in May and June. This particular storm decided it was going to put the lights out for a few hours. Darkness is always a reminder of Katrina where we learned to live for weeks without electricity. 

I entered the studio to get some candles. In front of the Katrina portrait is my Buddha altar. I try to keep a single candle lit on it at all times. So when I came in, this was the first thing I saw. I had to suppress a shudder when I saw it. Then I had to reach for my camera and try to capture the image. I needed no other greater reminder that its hurricane season than this. 

The lights are back on now. But there is still a darkness that remains. 

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The Muse - Sculpture


The Muse is probably the most unusual sculpture I've ever created. She was formed from a root ball. For those unfamiliar, a root ball is the tangle of roots that form underground at the base of a tree. In this case the tree had just been uprooted within one of New Orleans many cemeteries. The tree had been lopped off and the root ball was left nearby. Her headpiece was made from a piece of bark from the same tree with a sprig of green moss behind it. Spanish moss was used to create the pieces to either side of her head. 

Saturday, May 20, 2017

The Perplexing Puzzle of Enlarging Perspectives



One of my biggest problems with my digital art, is that I create it to be a lot larger than what you see on your computer or cell phone or Ipad. Its always been a constant frustration to me that we as artists are limited by the size of our screens. 

When I began creating highly detailed art that was a combination of photography, body painted models, scaled down architectural pieces, assimilation art and finally digital imaging. It was always with the intention that if the art were ever in gallery, it would be reproduced in a print that would be no smaller than 8 feet in diameter. But face it, in today's connected world you are often going to see art online long before you will see it in gallery. 

Monday, May 8, 2017

Data Driven Relationships (DDR) - Information within the Creative Process



No matter what you do in life, whether you are in the scientific field, a business person or in a creative area such as art or music, in the end you are all traders in one commodity. Information.

Take for example a musician and a mathematician. You would think that what a musician creates is about as far away from what a mathematician specializes in as one could get. But when you break down the end results they are both producing data in their own way. One may be producing break through's in physics, while the other is producing a song, but when you bring it down to its basic form, both are just different forms of information.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

When Art Kills



There has been a recent spate of killer art on the prowl. Sculptures that step menacingly into the paths of unsuspecting passerby's, leaving contusions, broken bones and concussions in its wake.

Sounds like science fiction but in reality, people keep walking into sculptures because they are not watching what they are doing and end up causing themselves harm.

The solution? Don't wise up people. Let us move that nasty piece of art to a place where you can't bump into it while gazing adoringly at your cell phone.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Tips for Breaking Out of a Creative Rut - By Larry Mager (Guest Writer)






Photo By: Pixabay


Whether you are a painter, sculptor, writer, or graphic designer, it’s all about inspiration. Unfortunately, it won’t just appear out of thin air. Sometimes you hit a creative block, and it feels like you may never break through. There are ways to get the creative juices flowing, and some are right outside your door.

Change Your Environment

The environment in which you are creating varies from person to person. For some, it could be an art studio or an office. For others, it could the comfy chair by the window in their living room. If you find that you are struggling to come up with new content, try changing up your scenery. When your brain encounters the same stimuli every day, such as sights, sounds, and smells, it can lead to a rut in which you can’t summon up fresh, innovative ideas. Listen to your body and take a break. Visit a museum or art gallery to refocus your concentration, free your mind, and spark creative ideas. Looking at the work of other artists and seeing the risks they are taking could empower you and be the inspiration you need to move forward. Other options for shaking up your environment could be moving outdoors to your patio, paying a visit to the park, or stopping in at your favorite hotspot such as the coffee shop or library.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

"I Don't Work for Exposure" - Creatives Using the SIAR Method



A lot of creatives get taken advantage of in today's economy. It is a truism that many think that poor struggling creatives should stay that way. As a result many creatives say "I don't work for exposure". and they can't be blamed for taking this kind of a stand. But I want to suggest to each of you that sometimes you are shooting yourselves in the foot if this is your answer to everyone who approaches you with an offer.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Charity Art Residencies (ART IDEAS)



The concept of an Artists Residency is a very popular thing these days. There are multiple opportunities for artists to go abroad, study and create art in new settings from the wind swept beaches of Nova Scotia to the streets of Paris. Last year the worlds first Artist Residency took artists by ship to Antarctica. 

Thursday, March 30, 2017

What is a Living Blog?



What is a Living Blog?

It is a living, breathing website. On most blogs and websites the information provided is static and unchanging. Once something is added to the blog, it remains so. There are no changes to anything. 

Like a human being, the living blog breathes and changes with the conceptions, ideas and evolution of its creator. The key to a successful living blog is that it reflects "you" the creator. You are not a dead static object. Why should your blog be so?

Monday, February 27, 2017

Casting a Glamour - Creating Message Driven Art with Beauty



A recent conversation with an activist led to some interesting thoughts. The gist of the conversation was that in order for activist art to be effective it had to be in your face, brutal and angry.

But my opinion is that angry art looses the viewer. Before the viewer ever has a chance to see the art they are already biased towards it, no matter how effective the message might be within the art.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Intuition & Instinct - The 2II's of a Succesful Artist



Intuition and Instinct (2II) are not things that can be taught in school. Intuition and Instinct are things that take time to develop. Some people may think that instinct and intuition are basically the same thing, but their not. Intuition is the idea, instinct is the direction the idea takes.

Let me give you an example. I was recently working on a project with a piece of wood where it was necessary for effect to burn parts of the wood. Once I'd worked out the best way to achieve this, I began burning the wood. Suddenly my intuition pinged. It clearly said "watch this closely. There is something else here". So as I worked away at the project, part of me was also watching how the wood burned, what it looked like at various points in the burning and what other things might be achieved through it.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

The Blurred Vision of the Artist


I watched a documentary about the Hubble Space Telescope and the repairs done several years ago to its vast lenses. One of the things they mentioned was that the lenses were scarred up and Hubble could not see as clearly into space as scientists wished. Yet, even with this blurry vision Hubble could still see further into space than any telescope before had ever done.

That is sometimes how artistic vision feels. When our lenses are clear the artist can see from here to eternity. We can conceive of amazing ideas for our work and see them clearly from start to finish.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Using Science to Boost Creativity - By Larry Mager (Guest Writer)






When you are in the middle of the creative process, it may seem like something that is mystical or beyond reason. Visions of things you have never thought of before dance in your head and it must just be something magical coming from the universe, or is it? There is actually some very interesting science and reason behind creativity. Understanding exactly what makes you creative and activities you can do to get back to a more creative way of thinking starts with the science behind creativity.

What is creativity?

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Understanding Storytelling in Art



Every piece of art tells a story. Some stories are very simple, others are so complicated that they become abstract. It is one thing to have the techniques of an artist and another to have the technique of storytelling. It's even harder to meld the two together seamlessly. But if you can compose the story in your mind, your art has the potential to become much more vibrant and interesting.

Take the Mona Lisa, for example. I recently read an article debating whether the Mona Lisa had syphilis. There are a thousand more tales about this mysterious lady. Every one of them is a story and every one of them stems from Da Vinci's ability to tell a story with every composition. He was the consummate storyteller and something that I think gets overshadowed by his also amazing techniques.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Presentation is Everything - Artists Tips



We were in a New Orleans restaurant having lunch. The wall-space was being used to show the work of various local artists. This is something that I wish more restaurants would do. But aside from that, the presentation appalled me. The wall near us had about 6 pieces of art displayed. Only one was on a canvas with a 1" frame. It was the only piece on the wall that even came close to looking good. 

Saturday, January 21, 2017

The Real Things an Artist MUST Develop for Success



If you've had any kind of formal education in the arts, you know that the emphasis is on teaching you technique. But there is a whole other level of skill that has nothing to do with technique and everything about teaching you to make art the foundation of your life path. If your in art for the money, prestige, or hobby then don't read any further. It won't make any sense to you. If you are in art to make it your life...read on. 

1) Your art is not a hobby. Its a life course

I think this is the single biggest mistake artists make. They think because they work two other jobs and have a home and family that their art must take second place to all else. The moment we relegate our art to that status then it truly is a hobby and nothing else. Time does not equal commitment. If you can only place two hours a week on your art, then that two hours should be your priority. If its not then one week its two hours, the next week its an hour and a half and before you know it your art is no longer a part of your life. Artists who are making a life commitment to art find the time, no matter what. 

Friday, January 20, 2017

The Revolution Begins with Beauty - Art Activism in the Age of Trump



Imagine for a moment that it is 1937. Hitler is preparing for war. Europe is edgy. This man in Germany is frightening. But people are following him in droves. In less than a year Germany will annex Austria. But in '37, people are still not sure what to make of this monster. 

In June, Pablo Picasso "should" be finishing his greatest and most famous work "Guernica". But this is not our world. The stage is set for this amazing work which he dedicated to the Nazi bombing of the Basque village of Guernica. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Photographers Myths and Why I am an Artist not a Photographer



When I first made a commitment to become a professional photographer nearly 20 years ago, I knew nothing about photography as a skill. In fact the only thing I did know was that my eye was the best photographer I knew. If I could trust my eye, even with inferior equipment, I might just eventually learn enough to do well in the field.

When I say inferior equipment I really mean it. I had a small Nikon point and click camera and that was all. In fact I would get laughed at by more sophisticated photographers with lots of great equipment. But I found out very soon that again if I trusted my eye and was quick I could get some pretty good shots despite the handicaps of a small camera. And those who laughed started to grumble because I was getting the work and they weren't.

Monday, January 9, 2017

When I Was a Child


When I was a child everything took on a new shape for me. Old gnarled men became ogres. Houses became castles. And the simplest of household items could cast me into a fantasy world filled with wonders. 

Now that I am an adult, my child mind still wanders. I would like to think its what makes me a decent artist, because I still see the mundane with childish wonder... even in something as simple as a fire hydrant. I wish that we all saw the world in this way. It might be a much more wondrous place.


Saturday, January 7, 2017

Re-examining The RAW concept - Artists Advice for Self Promotion



What is RAW? For those unfamiliar with it, RAW is a monthly event held in many cities internationally where a group of emerging artists are showcased along with creatives in art, performance art, fashion, photography etc. 

Sounds like fun huh? Great deal for emerging artists who need a platform to be seen. I was a RAW artist once and I thought the same thing. Great way to get some local notice and an offer of some great press. A place to sell some work and gain the experience of a international organization in becoming a professional artist. 

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Is This Art? Crossing the Bridge From Art to Mass Production



Recently an artist in New Zealand began a project to create 1 million artworks in a year. He is doing so to raise awareness of mental health issues. The cause is a good one and its getting him some good press. But I couldn't help coming away from the article feeling very uneasy about the project.

The artists, by his own calculations, has 7.2 seconds to create one piece of art before he must move on to the next. But I had to ask myself, is this really art?

Monday, January 2, 2017

10 things I've Learned as an Artist in the Past Year



How to Be More Interactive

The most important thing I've learned this year is how crucial it is to become an "interactive artist". My definition of an interactive artist is any creator (art, music, writing, etc) that establishes and relies on a massive social structure online both locally and internationally rather than through their reliance on galleries. This is a philosophy I've used for years now, but its really been in the past year that I can see the results personally of establishing a web of contacts across the globe through online social networks, blogging and providing information to others. I can also see the results of other interactive artists who are finding success in this way.