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

Saturday, November 16, 2019

The Flash of Inspiration


We gain inspiration from all around us. You can never be sure when something simple will push you towards a new creative idea. 

This morning I saw these two small glass bottles at an estate sale. They were only a dollar each, but the moment I saw them a whole set of ideas followed. 

I envisioned doing a body painting session for the Abstraction of Humanity series based on Alice in Wonderland, called "Alive in Wonderland". Immediately my mind began to calculate how I would pull it off. What did I already have in inventory to create the proper 3D canvas for the piece? What kind of a model should I use? What kind of graffiti should be on the canvas background to match the theme? All this in the blink of an eye when I saw the bottles. I of course purchased them and brought them back to the studio.

Ideas for me come in flashes. In the last session, the model said something in their first interview. They simply said they loved angels. The moment this was said, my mind raced and a whole concept emerged that was centered around angel iconography.


Every artist conceives their ideas in different ways, but its those flashes of inspiration that are so important to what we do. For me, the ideas that come in a flash are always more successful than the ones that come from a lot of deep thinking. I get bogged down when I spend too much time conceiving of an idea, rather than running with the flash. The ideas are always deeper, more interesting and far more bizarre than the ones which I try to lay out methodically.

Don't misunderstand, there is always planning and logistics to any good piece of art. But we can get trapped in too much planning. We must always be diligent for that flash and we need to teach ourselves to grab onto it quickly and ride them out to their end. If we don't, we may be loosing the best ideas. 

Now will "Alive in Wonderland" come together? Its hard to tell yet. But you better believe the idea is now ruminating within my brain and those two tiny bottles will serve to remind me to keep thinking about it. 

Labyrinth Project Creators Journal - Ryan Rosenberry



Artist Ryan Rosenberry
Fargo, North Dakota


11/16/2019

The truth scares me sometimes. It’s not that I can’t admit to it or am reluctant to face it but… I wonder where do I go once I have told the truth.

Do I pull and stretch my truth to make it last as long as possible or create new truths that I may not believe in, at least not entirely, so I may continue to create.

Or perhaps I am already looking for a way out of writing because I am scared I have nothing of value to say, or no stories people will read and love.

I have an idea…

I recently read a book entitled “stop doing that sh*t” by Gary Jhon Bishop. In the book he talks about what he calls Saboteurs that is three conclusions we have about ourselves, other people and life. These are things that have been so ingrained into our sub-conscious that we believe them as truths even though they are nothing but thoughts that we believe.

The conclusion I came to believe about myself is that “I am a burden.” No need to go into why I believe this (at least not right now)believing this false truth has been my way of returning to my safe zone. That is to say I’ve been holding back because I truly believed (and still do) that I am burdening others and stealing their time buy wanting them to read my writings.

I imagine the world would be a dull place it all artists allowed their doubts to overpower their desire to create…

I’ve decided that if I will take this writing seriously, then I will purge my old ways in favor of new actions. I deleted all my social medias accounts (save for Facebook for family) I devoted the next month and a half to pure writing and reading. At least during my free time.

Then, something in the new year, I will start up one or two of the social sites again and start sharing my words again. I will write the truth (even in fiction) because I do not want to waste any more of my life on self told lies.

And maybe, if the coffee and stories flow, if I am too busy to stop and ponder, maybe I will forget about that lie that I tell myself and truly believe there is at least one person who will read my works and not feel burdened.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Paint Splatters - The Trance Dance of Color


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 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.

Friday, November 8, 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.







Saturday, November 2, 2019

Satan's Toy Box - A 3 Dimensional Canvas



Satan's Toy Box is the theme for Session #6 of the Abstraction of Humanity series. This uses what we call a 3 Dimensional Canvas. The idea of this is to create a themed piece of art that encompasses the total space within the three dimensional space, including the ceiling and floor of the space. 

This is also called an Evolution Cube because the art within shifts and transforms over time. The current 3D space has transitioned 5 times previously. Each theme incorporates more and more complex subjects and is coupled with graffiti and body painting to produce the art. 

Satan's Toy Box began with the simple idea of using a child's toy to create a dark and evil setting. I saw a sad little doll at a second hand store and brought it home and spray painted it completely black, except for its eyes.  


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 










The Work of Freelance Artist & Writer Diana Whiley


DISTANCE OF LONGING


HEART SONG

Labyrinth Project Creators Journal - Diana Whiley



Author: Diana Whiley
Adelaide, South Australia


11/02/19


Writing a novel is demanding. It takes time for my thoughts to form something I can work with, then express. I’m a dreamer which is frustrating sometimes but I find my varied interests bring a lot into whatever I’m creating - science and history my top interests after art and writing. 

The past affects the present as I’ve mentioned previously - memories carried on - a legacy  that can evolve into something new. The recipient adding their perspective. 

When creating my fantasy world I have to develop the values, the culture and history of the inhabitants. It ends up being a lot and many events take place before what happens in the book. 

I want to explore and expand on that history with art and writing.  

Because I don’t have the relevant mastery of figure drawing, I’ve discarded the idea of doing a graphic novel. Instead I will do versions of illuminated manuscripts, in my style. 

Illuminated manuscripts were originally created centuries ago to revere and pass on religious knowledge but later changed and evolved into straight storytelling. 

William Morris, the father of modern pattern and design of the 1800’s was a prime example. He too was fascinated by illuminated manuscripts. He started illustrating his poetry but wanted to revive and reform the book using the model of  15th Century illuminated manuscripts.  

He combined his innate feel for the beauty of line and shape with story. Created what the contemporary graphic novel does today, art and words enhancing each other in a different way.

Where to begin and what will I include?

Artefacts are one. 

The great Roman Empire has innumerable ruins throughout Rome and other cities. The artefacts found there tells us about the people and how they lived; what they believed in and crafted. The recorded foundations of their beliefs and their Lore.

Myths and legends abound with their own specific set of ways to explain the world, using nature, it’s the seasons. Totems, musical instruments, ceremonial items and cloth. Making discoveries like the great voyagers of old. Their stories are a valuable resource and stay in the psyche. Certainly mine. The naming of the new, the wonder of what was possible can change our perceptions.  Be a guide too. I see the illuminations as such. 

Here my poetic side can take over as I build up a number of words and songs that are part of the lost Lore of my fantasy worlds. Here is one of my lyrics which I’ll likely adapt. 

Night Closes In

Too long the night closes in
Listen, my heart cries
Why did you lie?
Too long the shaking begins
Memories, fire and stone
They won’t let go

Too deep the longing moans
In velvet dark
cold stars burning
Too strong the leaping heart
beats a tattoo
blood ink sinking

( chorus)
Life and Soul
How could I know?
My heart dies
Why did you go?

Too long the night closes in
Whispers shout her name 
Slow wave drowning
Too long the wishing begins
Pictures ghost a face
dark ash binding  

Too deep the sorrow clings
To opened mouth
sleek taste cascading
Too strong the tender skin
meets a caress
warm hand breaking

(Chorus again)
 (Bridge) 
What unnamed glance 
What unspoken test
Broke the heat of our connection
Left me aching    undone 
My life forever caught
in distant blue  


What images will I transform from the back story that fit into what comes later in my novel?

The beginning of magic. Those who first wielded it.  The formation of their city.

Already the reflection and planning, just as writing my journals has done, is affecting and changing my perspective, bringing a greater clarity to the content of my novel. 

I want the artwork to have an authenticity that draws the viewer into the world of the novel. 

Some of the pieces I’m creating will stand alone and will be available as photo prints. Others I’ll put together in a book : “The Book Of Ethalon.”  

Once it’s completed I’ll print the book in the same format size as a graphic novel. 
Here is look at my first two illuminations.


SYRN 


 THE TEMPLE OF CALIAD


Note :  My lyrics set to music available to listen to on my web site:


WEBSITE NOTE: Diana now has a portfolio of her art on this site. Check it out at:

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

5 Activities That Improve Mental Health - By Abby Holt (Guest Writer)

Courtesy of Pixabay

Growing scientific research supports the idea that hobbies are good for your mental health. Leading the way in this research is the Global Council on Brain Health, a panel of scientists brought together by AARP and the British organization, Age UK. This council uses brain science to make practical recommendations about mental health, and they suggest that individuals: 


  • Find new ways to stimulate the brain and challenge the way they think.
  • Choose activities that involve both mental engagement and physical exercise.
  • Seek out mentally stimulating activities that incorporate social engagement and greater purpose,  such as volunteering or mentoring.


“We want people to find activities that work for them and make those activities a part of their daily lives,” says Neil Charness, a Professor of Psychology at Florida State University and contributing scientist to the Global Council on Brain Health. “Brain games can be fun, and it is OK to play the games, but people need to do other activities that research shows make a difference in brain health.”

So what activities promote mental health? Pursuing new hobbies and developing new skills have been shown to keep the mind sharp as we age. With these guidelines in mind, you can preserve your mental health and improve your memory with the following activities and hobbies.

Labyrinth Project Creators Journal - Johnny Opus


Musician: Johnny Opus
Austin, Texas

10/30/19

Hello, I am Johnny Opus and I'm going to talk about the most common question I get when people hear my music. "What is your writing process?"

           There is no easy answer to this question because there is no one way in which I go about writing a song. Sometimes I start with the instrument. Whether it's a new technique I'm working on or a clever chord change I found. Then I go about humming or loosely improvising words until a structure starts emerging. Other times I will just free write thoughts into a notebook. No rhymes, no structure, just a stream of thought. Most of it gets scrapped but sometimes golden nuggets emerge which I refine into ideas and verses. A perfect example of a song I wrote this way is "Rustic Soul" which is on Spotify off my latest EP titled Ms Fortune. Some songs come about as a matter of utility for example my favorite song "Hero's Journey" began as way for me to open up a live set, or better yet a song in which I could stand on a table or be anywhere in public and quickly grab peoples attention. I finished it after reading the book Hero With a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell, I was struggling with the final verse until I read the final chapter of that book.

          I write and flesh out songs based around a specific idea I want to convey and the words/rhymes are not as important as the over arching message I am trying to convey. Interestingly enough I feel that my most clever rhyme schemes emerge from this lack of attachment I have to individual phrases I like at first. Writing around rhyme schemes is necessary but also very stifling if you get too roped into trying to finish a verse you're struggling with. My song writing is a very messy process haha. More often than not I end up abandoning entire verses I start out with because they become inferior to verses I write later. 

        You'v heard the term "Quality over quantity". The way I see it however is that the answer is both. Quantity leads to quality by repetition and shear volume of content. I write a ton of freeform words, thoughts, poems, streams of thought etc which become later become songs I choose to flesh out. The songs I envision myself performing are the ones I spend an obnoxious amount of time on. Singing the same verses in the car over and over a hundred times refining the nuances of words, rhymes, melodies, etc. The most important part of a song is how it makes me feel and that allows me to repeat the same song a hundred times because I believe in it and feel inspired. My only release right now is a 4 track EP however I'v been writing songs my whole life and have a number of them in the bank waiting to be recorded and more waiting to be fleshed out. 
I plan on releasing my first full length album in February 2020

        Starting an independent music business is very challenging and time consuming. There is just not enough time in the day to do everything required so I have to go in and out of phases of writing so that I have time for recording, filming, editing, promoting, funding, networking etc. The business side is all very new to me and I'm learning as I go. I actually just started a podcast called "Pathfinder with Johnny Opus" where I will be talking about the methods I'm learning and implementing to begin building a successful music career.

        I'v been playing music my whole life and will continue to do so forever however I have accepted the fact that I need to look at it as a business rather than just a dream or a hobby. Thanks for reading! Your attention is gold.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

WARNING: Your Virtual Life May be Destroyed (UPDATED)



In 2015 I wrote an article called "The Artists Virtual Life Destroyed". It outlines problems I'd had with Facebook claiming I was not me and asking for license verification that I was a real person. As a result they had locked my account out and effectively locked out 7 years of my online life. I wrote at this at the time:


For those that will come after this poor artist and see a gap of seven years in his life, know this. Those seven years counted for much of who I am today and who I will be tomorrow. The information contained in each of those posts include:
- my failing health to HIV and how I crawled back from near death to vitality again- my mothers last words to me before she became sick and passed- the first days when I fell in love with and discovered my partner in life and love Billy Martin- the first pieces of art I created after I retired from photography- the photos of thousands of you taken over the years

We do not realize how much of ourselves we place out there on social media and what we can potentially lose. I stayed off Facebook for about six months in stubborn reaction to being forced to prove I was me. But finally weighing the fact that I had to have access to local people in New Orleans, I bowed to the authorities and proved myself and got my account back, restoring the lost information contained on Facebook. 

Sunday, October 13, 2019

The Art Space that Grey Built


Over the past year I've talked a lot about how we are building out our home to accommodate our arts also. I get asked a lot to describe the layout because it doesn't seem possible to do all we are doing with just a house and no retail space.

So I decided to create this layout so people could envision better what we are trying to achieve.

When we moved here in August of 2018, we could instantly see the potential for the space. While the house itself is not wide, it is deep, with 7 rooms that are set shotgun style (this means the rooms are stacked in a single row).

Once we settled in, we went about making the front room into both a living room and a showcase room for various pieces of art.

Once I had my indoor studio set up, I went about planning for the outdoor space. I saw the potential for three things. One was a small outdoor art gallery which both myself and others could show there work. The second was a teaching and projects area where I could hold classes and work on larger projects without any space issues. The third was an outdoor photography area which I could use for clients who wanted custom portraits and that I could use to photograph my own work.

Friday, October 11, 2019

The Digital Storyteller



One of the most fascinating aspects of digital art for me is the ability to tell a story within it. This can be done with any art form. But digital art allows for infinite subtle details where the artist can fill the digital canvas with the tiniest and most intricate of plots. I say plots because like a story, you don't have to have just one plot, but establish many within the same piece of art. 

I think that this is still a very unexplored aspect of the digital art format. 

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Inside the City of the Dead



It is not often that we get a chance to glimpse inside the sealed up tombs of the dead.

Louisiana, because of its high water table, is one of those southern states that long ago preferred burying their dead in crypts rather than in the ground.

During Hurricane Katrina many of those who were buried in the ground went for a trip and floated out of the cemeteries and into the streets. The Days of the Floating Graves are well known to us.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Outdoor Art Studio 2.0



In the spring of 2019 after having moved into a new home in New Orleans, I began the transformation of the outdoor space around the house into an art space where I could hold shows and teach classes. I worked my ass off to get the space finished before the summers heat began. For those not familiar, New Orleans sits in the middle of one of the hottest most humid places in the United States. Since I wanted to create the space before my wedding to Poppy Z Brite in June, I hustled to put it together. 

Through the summer, the space has not been in active use, awaiting the once again cool months which always come at the end of October. 

What I was not able to accomplish was the second part of this build out. This house is very long. While the front art space takes up a large chunk of space, there is another large area further back. My intention was to build the public space up front, but the back space was for me. This space encompasses another large double alleyway that goes 40 feet back into a totally enclosed private backyard completely covered with a large tree and totally private due to a screening of bushes and fencing.