I'm not the Immortal Artist. You are

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


We work hard to show every aspect of creativity and to promote artists from around the globe. We strive to take creativity to its highest level and to support even the most radical forms of art.


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

Quantum Postcards - A Time Travel Story

Quantum Postcards - A Time Travel Story
Click the Graphic to Access the Quantum Postcards

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

The Graffiti Wall - An Exploration of Evolutionary Art


Within the 3D Canvas, Is an 8' x 8' wall that was designed specifically to allow other artists to place their marks upon the wall. Paints are provided and an artist can put anything upon the wall from a simple message, to tags, to pieces of art. 

This is called an Evolutionary Wall because it will constantly change as it fills and is overwritten, just as real wall would fill with graffiti. And just like a real wall it will change with the weather. 

Because it is sheltered within the four walls of the 3D canvas and is shaded by the tree above, the weathering should be a relatively slow process. 

Periodically I will photograph is as it changes and add photos to this page. It is a microcosm within the larger context of the 3D Canvas. This means that it is its own individual piece of art, but part of the larger art of the whole space. 

In opposition to it (on the other side of the space) is the body painting enclosure which looks like a dead end alley, but like the graffiti wall, will evolve with each body painting done within it. Each body painting will lend its own individual paint marks upon the wall. 


So whats the point? 

When a piece of outdoor art is created, it most likely stay the same as when the artist created it. Only weather and vandals are a threat to it and depending on the materials used, such a marble or steel, it may last for a very long time. 

But the point of the Evolutionary Art process is to create a piece of art that will not be the same thing from day to day and year to year. In this case if you visit the 3D Canvas here in New Orleans and then come back again in six months, it will resemble what you saw before, but it will also contain a lot of changes. It will have evolved into something totally new. 

As artists we have a hard enough time getting people to look at our work more than once. In this case the opportunity to return and see the changes brings the viewer into contact with it more than once. 

Because the entire canvas is built from styrofoam, it also means that even the form can change. It is never static. 

Make them look twice should always be the mantra of an artist. 

~Grey~



Sunday, January 26, 2020

When the Machines Came - A Conceptual Art Series




How does a machine attempt to understand things that are built from emotions in the human mind?

Six months ago I created a piece of art that looked at something purely human through the eyes of an intelligent thinking machine. Much in the same way that the City of the Dead series views cemeteries through the eyes of the dead rather than the living, this piece of art attempted to do the same with mechanical minds.

It was not my intention to take it further. But over time I kept coming back to the idea and could see it was forming into something more than a single piece of art. An art series has to have an idea behind it. The more intriguing the idea, the more interesting the series. If the concept was just "robots" it would not be as interesting. With the idea comes emotion. The emotions behind a machine trying to see the universe through a human lens may have no emotions for the machine itself, but it has a whole host of emotions for the person viewing the art. 

So with that in mind, here is "When the Machines Came". 





Monday, January 20, 2020

The Abstraction of Humanity (Session #5)

The Abstraction of Humanity series is an exploration of humanities interaction with art. This conceptual art project is conducted in sessions involving body painting, abstract art and graffiti balanced. This is session #5

All art is the creation of Grey Cross Studios unless otherwise designated as the work of one of our collaborative artists.

A complete list of links is located to the left of this page.

Session #5 - Model: Jace Lee Ledet
New Orleans, Louisiana 




















Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Paint Splatters - The Trance Dance of Color (UPDATED)


Photo Courtesy of XXX Zombie XXX

Many view Jackson Pollock as one of the genius artists of the 20th century. Others view him as a that dude that splattered paint around and called it art. I once heard a father at an art museum say to his young son. “You made better art when you spilled those finger paints”.

Sadly for a long time I counted myself among those who just didn’t get it, even though I am an artist myself. Yet, even as I didn’t grasp Pollock, at the same time I found myself having a fascination with splatters of paint. An inadvertent droplet of acrylic on the ground opened a whole new vista to my imagination. The way it was shaped, the curve of its tail where the gravity laid it out. Why would I enjoy this? What was I getting from it? And then suddenly I grasped something crucial about Pollock and this form of art.

Simply put. It’s not in the splatter of paint that the art is found. It is so much more complex than that. It is about chaos, and it is about uniformity. For me, I often start a piece with total chaos. The random splatters spilling across the canvas are merely a starting point for developing something much more complex. How does one line of paint interact with another? How does it form a whole? Layer upon layer it caresses the canvas until suddenly, almost like magic, there is art. It is the artists’ imagination and perspective which create art from the madness which is life. In a sense we do this every day by ordering our lives into meaningful sense that others might not have the ability to grasp. But we understand it and it works for our pattern of life.


But it is even more than that. In an article about Pollock an observer told a story about being in his studio once and watching him work. His canvases were laid on the floor and the artist would move across it as if in a trance. His steps were intricate, almost like he was dancing to a hidden tune, the paint spraying from his hands to the canvas beneath.

This was story that brought a revelation to me. That trance state was something I understood. I'd done the same thing in countless body paintings moving around the model like I was dancing with them. Sound receding to the point where all the was left to me was the paint and a grand cosmic design that only I could see. 

But where was I to go with this revelation? Deeper into the design. I dropped the pretext of trying to create a specific idea onto the model and merely let the paint speak for itself. I began to develop new ideas for how the paint could flow. Sometimes heavy splatters, other times merely drizzles across the models form. 

I now understood Pollock in a more complete way. I was trance dancing to the colors but I was doing so in 3 dimensions rather than in one. The model had shape, they were not flat. 

Its at that point that I devised the concept of the 3 dimensional canvas. A space with walls, floor and ceiling and the model in the midst of it and that intricate dance to merge the model with the space around them. 

Now my mind races with ideas within the space of the 3 dimensional canvas. If anything I fear I will lose the rhythm of the dance if I don't move quickly. I can almost understand why Pollock took to drinking. Its almost too much to grasp at times. 

Abstraction can be so much more. It may start with drizzling paint on a 1 foot canvas, but in those tiny steps there is a whole dance that we can achieve. We are both the dancer and the choreographer if we just let go and stop worrying about the perfection of our art. Let the paint flow.

01-15-20

I've begun the first full session using the "Trance Dance" concept. It will be in the experimental stage for the next several months but it was an interesting experience working with a model without any plan of action and merely experiencing the paint. Surprisingly it took a lot more energy out of me than a normal body painting session usually does. Its difficult to surrender totally to the way the paint moves. It will be a learning experience for sure as I proceed. Here are the first pieces of finished art from the session.






Monday, January 13, 2020

A Pale Horse and a Rider on Him Death - Understanding the Future of Digital Art



We've discussed before the role that Digital Art plays in the modern art world. Its still considered a borderline art form to many. Some of the older professional artists look at it as cheating. The computer is doing all the work, so it can't really be considered art. 

I always cite a discussion I attended years ago with the great and dearly missed photographer  Alfred Eisenstaedt. This was in the 80's, long before digital art, photoshop or any other similar programs were in existence. "Eisie" as he was known to his friends, was discussing his techniques in the dark room. He said that he would spend days and weeks in the dark room with a single negative, playing with it, changing it in a hundred subtle ways. It was his belief that anyone could be lucky enough to snap a good image, but that it was in the skills within the dark room that the true photographer emerged. 

This has always stuck with me. As I moved from being an amateur photographer to a professional I always kept this story in mind. But the times had changed. What had to be done in a dark room once, could now be done right on my desktop. But in the end what Eisie said was still true. It was not just in the snap of the camera, but in the manipulation of the image that a lot of the work was done. 

Friday, January 3, 2020

The Quantum Postcards - Conceptual Art Series



I once had a fantasy when I was just 12. We lived in a big old house that had been converted to apartments. At the top was a rickety old attack with a tower room that looked out over the town. It was my own personal hiding place and fantasy world. 

Against one wall was a giant steamer trunk, covered with molding labels from all over the world. Even though it was very old, it was locked with a giant rusting paddle lock. 

I would day dream about what was hidden in the trunk. Sometimes I'd imagine exotic swords with dried blood on the blades. Other times I'd imagine queer items from around the world. Shrunken heads and cursed statues. 

But my favorite was the postcards. Not common postcards mind you, but postcards from odd places that were not quite in this world. Postcards with unusual postmarks and strange pictures. Locations that were only in my dreams, not in my reality. And messages from strangers who left cryptic thoughts and memories behind on each card. What does it all mean? 

As I've aged (a lot) I've been able to use my art to make a few of these childhood fantasies come to life and to leave a few cryptic messages of my own behind. Enjoy! 





Wednesday, January 1, 2020

The Three Dimensional Canvas



I talk a lot about the new outdoor studio. I suddenly realized today that I'd been misnaming the whole area. There is a studio being built with tables and supplies and room for teaching. But the images I share the most are of the large area being created in the courtyard. This is not a studio. While it has elements that I will use that could be considered a studio, the reality is that the whole courtyard space is giant three dimensional canvas. 

This is so difficult to explain in just words. Sometimes I don't have the proper language for what I am doing and have to invent new words just to have it make sense. But this whole space is made of individual panels that are and will continue to evolve as separate works of art. 

When I am done the whole area will be surrounded by panels. You will no longer see the fence line. When you step into the space you will be transformed into the middle of the art. You will be immersed in an other worldliness that is composed completely of art. 

But not just art. Art that evolves. Over time the panels will change, the art will shift and new art will emerge. This is the evolutionary art concept. Everything is in transition, always! 

But then again its not just a gradual changing of the art. The area that is brightly lit is an evolution cube. I will have models in there who will be painted and with that paint the space itself will change. Eventually those walls will be covered in color and from it will emerge new art that comes from the models themselves. 

This whole thing is a conceptual art project. Things will come from it that I cannot even begin to imagine. 

I lay in bed last night, considering the idea of a three dimensional canvas. I even got up and looked at others ideas of three dimensional art and what I found was mostly sculptures, or raised canvases with parts which stuck out past the borders of the canvas. 

Yes this is three dimensional art also. But its not what I mean when I use the term. For me its about the fact that the art surrounds you. Yes some of the art will take on a sculptural appearance, but that is not what the term means to me. 

Its so confusing. If I sound frustrated, I am! But not in a bad way. More in the way of knowing you are doing something so different that you can't explain it to anybody else. Well...it is what it is. 

With all that in mind, I lit the space up tonight and put a short video together. Although its far from finished, I think you will be able to see the potential over time. For me, this space not only represents art, but represents my center of balance. It lends me a peace to be out there under the trees, surrounded by my own little world. Naming it Grey's Imaginarium is the perfect name. It is an extension of my own mind. 

Enjoy the video! 






Monday, December 30, 2019

The Shores of Duat - Evolutionary Sculpture



The Shores of Duat is an 8 foot high and 4 foot wide contoured treasure map of the Egyptian underworld.

Duat is the realm of the dead in ancient Egyptian mythology. The god Osiris was believed to be the lord of the underworld. He was the first mummy as depicted in the Osiris myth and he personified rebirth and life after death.

When complete it will be an ever changing treasure map where features are added or removed when I see fit to do so.

This will use the OCTAS method of secret messages, cyphers and other hidden clues.

The map is created on a heavy piece of styrofoam which has allowed me to create contour through. Melting the foam allows for simulated ocean depths. Clay and foaming glue is used to create mountains and land rise.

The art form for the whole studio is called Evolutionary Art. This means that the walls constantly change with new features and with the weathering of the elements. The longer a wall is left to the elements the more realistic it becomes.

It is located as a permanent feature of the new outdoor studio known as Grey's Imaginarium. When finished visitors will be invited to view the map, take photos and attempt to puzzle through its mysteries.

Here are a few work in progress (WIP) photos to give you a taste of the concept.






Labyrinth Project Creators Journal - Diana Whiley (New Entry 12-30-19)



Author: Diana Whiley
Adelaide, South Australia



12/30/19

A last note for 2019 as a New Year dawns.  I wrote this piece thinking of the EARTH, of BEING.

I Wait.

There is a desert inside me shifting dunes 
of red and gold that sparkle white bleached bones. 
They speak of rivers that once 
cascaded ancient memories, ones folded 
into the fabric of what was, and wait 
only the breath of awareness.

I try to bridge the gap. 
I spin the kaleidoscope of what is known 
of place, of colour. I open myself to the blade of grass, the teardrop of water, the grain of sand and hear the tales of reflection and change - the compelling voice of shadows and death.
It pulls me down into the deep pattern of beginnings.

Watery streams gulp whale song. Its resonance gathers the collective embrace of every living, organism’s promise and rises in vapour. Air balloons travel across our vast globe and absorb the tenure of screaming sun and annotate years.  

Forests have gone. Time cemented the stride of mankind, divided the giving and taking beyond reasonable limits. But still, a small ember flies and touches another, becomes a conflagration of consciousness.


It bursts inside me, roars the name of ‘Life,’ and resurrects hope.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

In the Grand Ballroom - A Conceptual Art Project



A few years back I did some work on mega-scale digital art. These were pieces of art which were created on a massive scale with tons of detail hidden within them. The point was to create art which COULD NOT be viewed on a smart phone screen. The scale was so large that you would either have to view it as a mega piece of wall art, or have the ability to zoom in on smaller details. 

As I've said in other blog articles, I find it abhorrent that artists now have to create art that a viewer can see easily online on the smallest of devices. We lost something when we started dumbing down our art for this purpose. We also lost the ability to tell an in depth story in a single piece of art. 

Well in the long run I found that creating mega-scale art was difficult because not only could most viewers not see the details, but the software just didn't have the capacity to keep up with a piece of digital art which was 50-100 megabytes in size. Consider if you will that an average piece of digital art may be 15 megabytes at max. Most of the programs I work with just spaz out on graphic files of the size I was working with. Hell, even the blog I use won't accept files that large. Everything had to be dumbed down and I finally gave up on the idea and set the files aside. 

As is inevitable when I work on conceptual projects such as this, other ideas come along in the process. One such was the concept of the Grand Ballroom. Using the finished image seen above, the idea was to see how many variations I could create of events taking place in the Grand Ballroom. But also inevitable is that ideas get shelved away and sometimes forgotten about. While looking for something else today, I rediscovered the original base art for the Grand Ballroom and decided to resurrect it. Questions or comments always welcome on these conceptual projects in the space at the bottom of the page. I'd suggest if you have the ability to zoom in that you do so. You can click the image to enlarge but some of the details in these pieces will be rather small. 

Welcome to the Grand Ballroom.







Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Pain, Struggle & Surrealism - Conceptual Art Project (NEW WORK ADDED 12-17-19)

Last year I did some experimental work on converting screen captures of the California wild fires to surrealist art. My goal was to show the pain of the event, while at the same time casting it into the realm of surrealism.

I watched countless live feeds of the fires, having in some cases to distance myself from what I was seeing. I was not just watching from afar. I was trying to place myself in the shoes of those watching their homes destroyed by the flames. After several dozen decent screen captures, I set to work with just a single image to experiment with the concept of pain and surrealism.

After I was through, I set the experiment aside to consider its impact as an art form and also its impact upon me the artist. Was it something worth pursuing? Was it too painful for myself? Was it too painful for those intimately involved in the events? Was I walking on ground that was too treacherous to be on?

Then I thought about Van Gogh. Settings aside his genius as a painter and his craziness as a man. He was able to capture the anguish of men and women and cast that anguish into a surreal beauty. "The Potato Eaters" done in 1885 showed peasants around a rickety table, sharing a meager meal of potatoes and tea. It is strikingly real yet surreal. He did not fear showing the pain and struggle of those around him.

Then I considered another artist. Picasso. In 1937 Picasso created one of his greatest works "Guernica". In his amazingly complex and unusual style, he portrayed the bombing of Guernica, Spain during the Spanish Civil War. But he did so in the surreal style that he was so well known for. But the pain is still there. The anguish still remains.

There are many more examples of this need to cast the atrocities of man into surrealism that allows us to see the pain, while stepping back from it.

So with that thought in mind, I decided to begin a new series "Pain, Struggle & Surrealism", using the tools of today's media saturated art world to tell the tales of today's anguish.

The wild fires were experiments. They've taught me a lot. Now I watch the world. 



Thursday, December 12, 2019

Legacy - The Artists Lasting Message


"Art is an extension of who I am into a future where my physical self cannot go"


I am a true believer that an artists physical body is merely one aspect of who they are. Truly the artists with the longest legacies are still powerful forces within our society long after their physical form has perished.

What we place into our work and our lives stretches much further than we realize. This shouldn't be confused with the worship of an icon after they pass. This is about that force of nature that we place in everything that we do.

Its so easy for us to get lost in the individual brush stroke and lose the greater perspective. We forget that the brush stroke made today will be a lasting legacy for years, decades and maybe even lifetimes to come.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not putting myself or any other artist on a pedestal. I fully expect that I will live and die in obscurity, but I try to plan my work so that what I create both artistically and in words and ideas (like this blog) will last a whole lot longer than I will.

When the printing press was created that ushered in the first moment in history where someones words could and would last well beyond them. Till then a book was a fragile thing. A single copy only may have existed. Artists on the other hand had been creating art for far longer than book writers and those works of art outlast them. But this is the first era of the perpetual spirit. Now not only what we create may survive us, but everything about us (at least what ends up on the internet) will outlast us also. It is the era of virtual immortality.

Our legacy is no longer in a single work of art but in everything that makes us who we are. Most people don't even think about this. But artists, writers, musicians, we leave a much larger footprint behind us and I think we have an obligation to consider what those that come after us will know about who we are.

People worry about the morality of who they are. Oh god what if someone see's that boob shot my boyfriend took of me? That is NOT worrying about your legacy. 500 years from now I suspect people won't give a damn about your boobs. What they will give a damn about is what you stood for, what you created with nothing but your hands and your mind, what you left behind to give to other generations.

The people of the past we seem to cherish the most are rarely those that led perfect devout lives. We often revere the ones who were flawed and who struggled with life and who expressed that struggle through their creativity.

So I ask you, what are you leaving behind? Stop worrying about your damned boobs and create a legacy that goes far beyond you.

~Grey~

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

This Artists Muse

Our Midsummer's Night Pagan Voodoo Wedding Ceremony


The article below was written in 2014. I married Billy Martin in the summer of 2019 and he still is my constant muse and inspiration for everything I do. I am firm believer that our muses do not have to be limited to a person or even a single object. We should find our muses everywhere around us. But it is a constant joy to have this person in my life and to have a companion who listens to my ideas whether they be good or bad. Artists are built from many things. Our skill level is only one of them. Its the intangible things that are the most important and the most overlooked when we look back at an artists life. 



Wow you mean there is something else in his life besides art? Well let me tell you since the two are inextricably linked, that yes indeed there is.

His name is Billy Martin, but to the world he's better known as the incredibly talented author Poppy Z Brite. To me he's just my Billy. You can't live in New Orleans without hearing his name. He is as much an icon of this city as crawfish and Mardi Gras beads.

When we first met four years ago, he was just this guy. I did not fall in love with his work or his reputation. In fact for the first 5 weeks or so, I had no clue who he was other than this really awesome person that I had just met and fallen instantly in love with.

Sunday, December 8, 2019

The Art of Sounds




When I was young I lived on an island in the Atlantic. While there were not the traditional sounds of the city around me, there were sounds that will always bring back emotion in me. The fog horn going off to warn ships. The sound of the surf on stormy nights. Bombs going off from nearby NoMan's Land, which was a military testing island nearby. All these live in my memories and my emotions.

Here in the city I call home, New Orleans, there are a whole host of new sounds that I wish sometimes I could capture in my art. The sound of the street cars moving up St Charles Avenue at 3 in the morning. The cheering crowds from a passing Mardi Gras parade. The horn going off on the Mississippi River from the Natchez Paddle-wheel Steamer. The clopping of horse-drawn carriage. 

These are all sounds captured in my imagination and which try as might I could never convert into art. A painted image of a carriage is not the same thing as the sound that accompanies it. 

As I stood working on a piece of art today in my outdoor studio, I could hear a second line coming up Washington Avenue. The crowds were roaring, the bands playing and even though I was all alone in my work space, my mind was out there watching the parade through the sounds I could hear. 

And it occurred to me that even though I could not capture those specific sounds in my art, that they were influencing what I was working on. The spirit of those sounds moved with my paintbrush. My mindset was creating and those sounds were flowing through me.

I realized that this happened all the time. Whether I was listening to music while working, or just the sounds of nature. All of these subtly changed the art flowing out of me. 

I wonder how this influenced other artists in the past. What did Michelangelo hear while he perched on a scaffolding in the Sistine Chapel? Were their monks singing Gregorian chant below? Were their the whispers of prayers? 

What did Da Vinci hear on a fine spring day in Florence? Were the bells tolling in the nearby cathedral? Was there a murmur of people who passed by his studio? 

I think, while we appreciate the techniques and imagination of artists, we often overlook that we might be seeing what they were indeed hearing at the time. Our senses are what make us artists. They are also something we should take time to appreciate in the works of the great masters. Its not always about skill, but about perception and our abilities as artists to transpose what we sense into what we create. 

Some artists insist on total silence when they work. What might they be missing? What might you be missing? Listen, create. 

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Cities of Light - Conceptual Art Series



One of my most popular pieces of art was a contorted New Orleans skyline image. Most don't even realize this is New Orleans, but its very popular nonetheless. 

I love working with surreal cityscapes. As a child I found surreal images of cities took me to a whole other place in my mind. While I have cityscapes in many of my series, I've never done a series dedicated specifically to them. 

So I think I'll begin one starting with this image.

These are amalgams of skylines and individual architecture blended together to create something new. Lets see where it takes me...