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
Sunday, December 8, 2019
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
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...
Saturday, November 30, 2019
Artists often face the destruction of some of their work. Usually through accidents or clumsiness we have pieces of our art that get slashed, trashed and and broken.
I can usually face this with a positive outlook. In fact some pieces that I've had broken have been resurrected to become even better than their original was. I've said it before that deconstruction of ones art can teach us as much as the original construction did.
Recently I wrote a post called Outdoor Art Studio 2.0 which showed my progress in creating an outdoor work area and photography studio on my property. After about 200 hours of work, I created a beautiful setting which included a large lit photo enclosure, and a private work area where I could create larger projects that were not necessarily suited to my indoor studio. I went as far as to brick the whole area and create winged extensions where I could store materials behind and put up shelves along my fence line.
After laboring late a few weeks ago I finally completed the space to my satisfaction.
Wednesday, November 27, 2019
Fargo, North Dakota
There is a calmness to purging your entire social media history. Friends/followers, all matter of contents, images and stories from the world. The flood, the plague…the purge.
In the grand vision of things I doubt it matters much, remove a rock from the world and see who notices, other than who put it there and, possibly, the ones that stepped on or over the rock or skipped it over the water.
I see the advantages in starting over. We, or in this case I, can shed old skin, crawl into a hole in the ground and reemerge as a new idea or thought or curiosity. Reinventing the self until it fits right and seems tailor made.
The worst part, as far as I can tell, is not the work to re-build but running across the names you knew who did not have the need or want to reinvent themselves or disappear for a while. The ones that early on found that niche that sings to them and ranks up there next to falling in love.
I could avoid them but would rather admire them or at the very least draw inspiration from their fortitude. I could ask them the why’s and how’s and if’s and create something from that pain. I would call it: The names I knew
and whenever I feel stuck, I’ll take that as the motivation to find new paths and undiscovered opportunities.
I will stop here while I know what’s next.
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.
I'm scared, I’m struggling, I feel lost
I am not only a writer. I write, but this is about more than my words. This journey is about embodying the concept that an artist is more than a painter or a sculptor or a writer or (enter your own niche here)
Being an artist what we do when we are alive. It’s a commitment to creativity, emotional labor and grit and love and the willingness to fail. It’s creating trust and connection. It’s forging into the unknown without a map willing to take a stand and be remarkable. Art is not something created by an artist - Artist are people who create art. (I stole that bit from Seth Godin)
Let's not get into the million dollar question of “what then I can call Art?” that question has the argument potential that might rival a drunken political debate. Instead, I want to focus more on “What we can achieve through the traits of an Artist?”
I love to write but as a full-time worker, a father, a husband, a son, as someone who wants to spend more time working out and running (two activities that have enhanced my life the great lengths) I rarely have the time to devote to writing. This is not an excuse to not write, No- this is stating that my mental health and family come before my desire to write. Simple as that.
I want to touch on two more things before I go
Number one: I prefer short writing pieces. I should have known this from this start. I’ve always been a person of few words, why should by writing (or anything I do) reflect my personality any differently?
Number two: This one took me many moons and self slaps upside the head to realize. Even if I lack the time to write (other priorities win out) that does not mean I have to hang my artists attitude out to dry or feel like I am wasting the potential to be creative.
No matter what I do in life from writing to spending time with my son, to ordering a cup of coffee, (even working a dead-end job) if I embrace the heart of the artist (commitment to creativity, emotional labor and grit and love and the willingness to fail, creating trust and connection.) then I truly will be an artist in the greatest sense of the word.
This concept opens the flood doors to a new world of possibilities. Where I can experiment with different projects in my life. (I have one brewing in my noggin as I type this)I can write when time permits or take photographs while in the park with the family. I can document an event through personal experience on video or keep it voice only as a podcast. I can reach for a paintbrush or ball of clay. I can teach what I know or listen so I may serve others better.
I know I must create more. The alternative is to continue to be numb, and that is not acceptable. That is not living.
From my perspective…
I am entering my forties as a confused if somewhat lost person. Which direction do I take? This road or that? Red pill or blue? Keep the faith or find new ways? Do I aggressively pursue something new in my life that excites me or does my family's safety and stability depend on me trudging through a "safe" job. (if those exist anymore)
I have none of the answers. But I have a few thoughts, ramblings really but that's how my mine works, in bits and pieces and various ideas...
Most day I feel as if I know nothing of what true writing is, other than to be honest and make it interesting someone could consider , anything other than that might be referred to as “experimental” and hidden away from the world. Whether this is true - I don’t know perspective.
I have not had the good fortune to find my passion(s) early in life. While this exposed me to a multitude of experiences I may otherwise have otherwise missed out on, it also delayed a deeper appreciation of the writing craft. Still, over the course of the last maybe two years, I would have had to discipline myself in the art of self sabotage not to improve, at least on some level.
So I wrote and improved. Not to say greatness sprung forth from my fingers but enough to keep myself encouraged and churning out prose. But let me for a moment write about the negatives if only to bring them to the light of the day.
I never constantly went through the agonizing yet much needed realization that one's own writing, so true and painstakingly written, so full of personal struggle, has become little more than a thousand different points of failure for other writers and readers to pick apart. - I never sought and accepted the criticism and feedback I needed to grow as a writer.
I’m a father first and a writer second. There’s not much more to say than that. I do not see this as a sacrifice. In a dream world I could do both right now all while working a full-time job. But in reality family comes first and writing a second and if that means a less chance of filling that ambition then so be it. This is not an excuse for not writing, just a flat out the truth that spending time with my son if be far a greater fulfillment than writing can fill.
Still- when I write, there is a dread in realizing how much more punishment my bruised ego will have to take. I find solace in knowing my writing (eventually) will reflect my own sufferings.
And if not, at the least, when my life draws the short straw, I will have perished on my sword, and have been worthy of my own sufferings.
I'll end here for now. While I still know what to say next.
Ryan is a writer in progress, inspired by many creators most notably Steven King, Norman Mailer, Seth Godin and Neil Gaiman (and many more). He writes mostly short works: short stories, poems, blog posts, but is also working on his first novel. He loves the entire writing process from the chaos of filling the black page to the final edits of his latest works. He enjoys nature and exploring new worlds and believes the worst day writing still beat the best day working unfulfilled
Ryan also has several short stories on this website.
The Feral Forest - An Artist to Authors Short Story by Ryan Rosenberry
The Ghost in the Soda Shop Mirror - An Artist to Authors Short Story by Ryan Rosenberry
Ubo Pakes, November 2019
Kalag - Kalag or All Souls Day is a red-letter day for Filipino Catholics in Philippines. During this day, families flock to cemeteries to celebrate and remember their loved ones who passed away. It is maybe the biggest reason for people to travel from the cities to their hometowns to be with their families and some even call it the Kalag-Kalag Fiesta. At the same time, there is a whole community living and making a living at the cemetery and for them, these are the busiest days of the year.
In the cemeteries families get together, mourn, celebrate, eat, pray, flirt and more. People burn candles or lamps and leave flowers and food for the deceased to partake. It is as if society is standing still on these days and that all life and businesses are concentrated in and around the cemeteries. When people are leaving the cemetery, they usually go through a bonfire of smoke which is believed to prevent the ghosts from following them and their loved one at home and haunt them.
For more than ten years now, I attend with my family this event and I am very much fascinated by the phenomenon. In the evening when there are thousands of people, lights, candles, fires, flowers and more the cemetery is transformed into an almost mystical place. The city of the dead comes alive while the surrounding business areas are virtually deserted. The world turns upside down. Throngs of the yellow glow of lighted candles, fires and lightbulbs against the setting of flower adorned concrete tombs and a dark blue sky create a special atmosphere that adds to the magic of the event.
Upside down world: An overview of the Careta Cemetery against the skyline of the business park of Cebu City. Usually the lights are on in the high-rise offices and cemetery is dark, Tonight the tables are turned.
The city of the dead; In order to make the most out of the limited space at the cemetery, lately there are multistoried areas where the dead are buried in apartments.
Author: Diana Whiley
Adelaide, South Australia
With a clearer view of where my writing is going these days, I am curious to see what has changed, what my writing was like years ago.
I rummaged around in my cupboards and found folders of my earlier writing - old novel extracts ranging from crime fiction, a completed western and fantasy.
It was like looking at another person. My style was simpler, even a little naïve at times yet written with confidence.
Much happened later to dampen that confidence. I worried too much about what others thought. Was confused on what seemed the right way to approach my writing.
Was my story entertaining and interesting enough?
The sheer need to write and the imagination I have pouring from me overcame the doubts enough to persevere. Still it is a roller-coaster up sometimes down the next. Up now.
I am going to use some ideas from one of my old fantasy pieces. It was based on the myth of Pegasus and the Chimera. I have a large book of the story. I read it over and over again as a child, fascinated by the images and fierceness of the horse and rider as they battled the beast.
The feeling of being that child again moves through me. Like the poem I wrote.
Being too bound by the mechanics of writing can at times override that something waiting to be born.
I take much from the Western writers I’ve read with their rich mine of characterization. Their characters were a Mix of strength and vulnerabilities who make mistakes but move on to do what is right. Pioneers amidst lawlessness who cemented their place and stood for the people; empowered by self-realization.
Today I am happy with my reflective exercise. There is much I can reinvent from my old writing as well as bits and pieces of my old self.
I take heart from one of my favourite western writers, Loius L’Amour, who was quoted as saying:
“There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. Yet that will be the beginning.”
Wednesday, November 20, 2019
On October 12, 2019 the Hard Rock Hotel being built in New Orleans collapsed, killing a number of construction workers as it fell. This was my first opportunity to get within a block or two of the disaster and finally catch a few images. Its a staggering sight up close. A month after the collapse there are still bodies lost in the rubble and the superstructure looks like it could collapse completely at any moment. New Orleans has had its fair share of disasters over the years. It didn't need another one. But over time it will become a part of the mythos of this city. In years to come there will be stories of ghosts that guard the corner and locals will tell tales of this fall of this giant. We spin stories from disasters all the time. Its one of the charms of this strange city on the banks of the Mississippi River.
Tuesday, November 19, 2019
Musician: Matthew White
New Orleans, Louisiana USA
I am a jazz guitarist living in New Orleans. I have lived here since 2003, when I came to get my master's degree in Jazz Studies at the University of New Orleans. I first started taking music lessons at the age of 6 and have played professionally since I was 16.
One of the greatest pleasures I experience as a jazz musician is having the phone ring, being offered a gig, and then showing up to play for three hours with musicians I have never rehearsed with or even met before. Jazz is a musical language that can be played along with anyone who knows it, and this is why we rarely rehearse, if ever. It's not really about the songs -- it's about what the players bring to the songs using the musical language we have in common. A standard as simple as "All the Things You Are" is going to sound very different depending on the combination of players and the choices made. Every song is reduced to a melody and chord changes. Everything after that -- the tempo, style, how we improvise over it, and general feel of the piece -- is spontaneously chosen. Sometimes these choices don't always work, and sometimes they produce magical results that seem to come out of nowhere. The unpredictability of it is what creates the interest for jazz musicians. We are all constantly in search of the next best version of any of the tunes we play. We try to shape and form the song, and sometimes it forms itself without even having to try.
There have been so many times I've showed up for a performance where we just had to go through the motions for the money; or the sound wasn't good; or factors beyond our control just wound up producing a lackluster performance. But I've always taken these "dead gigs" in stride. One magical moment can keep you in the game for another year.
I got the call one day to play happy hour at a club in Metairie with a singer and a bassist, neither of which I had ever met or played with before. After a long miserable crawl through rush hour traffic, I met my band-mates. We set up and began to play out of the singer's book of standards which she had chosen and transposed to her favorite keys, and within a few songs we had more or less figured out how we each responded to music and how to best serve what the others were doing. And then something magic just happened. The singer called "Besame Mucho," a song I never was very fond of, but having no desire to veto playing it, I accepted it as a challenge to try to make something good out of what is a kind of pedestrian and sappy song. We set up a standard bossa nova groove that felt comfortable, and when Alex began singing, the chatter in the room suddenly stopped, and everyone in attendance suddenly was focused on the stage area. To our surprise, most everyone in the room began singing along. The voices were all in tune, and all singing sotto voce, "under the breath," and they became a ghostly chorus that complimented Alex's voice. "Besame Mucho" suddenly meant something. We had a "moment" shared with everyone in that room, and when the song finished we were all beaming, and now I honestly love that song. It's hard to describe, but the feeling created in moments like these is like having a sudden realization that here on this tiny speck in the universe we are capable of creating moments of great beauty, and we can take pleasure in being part of something larger than our individual selves. But that performance was just a moment that can only happen once, and one we couldn't reconstruct or do over with the same effect it had on everyone. There would be no way to recapture the elements that went into creating this moment and make it happen again upon command. Other moments like that will happen, and that's one reason why musicians stay in the game in spite of the lousy pay, the bad gigs, and other disappointments.
Sunday, November 17, 2019
Twice a week an alarm goes off in my studio to remind me that its 10pm. I then drive across town so I can root around in the trash of one of our local businesses.
What I am looking for is styrofoam panels that come in packing boxes. The business I stop at is a furniture store and I know that twice a week they put out their recycling from displays they've put together.
Styrofoam is one of the most useful substances I've ever worked with. I can paint on it, sculpt with it, cut through it, melt it, and a dozen other things. For an artist on a budget, its one of the best things I can keep in my studio inventory. The bigger the panel, the happier I am.
And it also is a great way to reuse a substance that gets discarded and pollutes the planet.
A lot of artists hate it. It can be difficult to use when you have no experience with it. But if you can understand one simple rules, you can use it for anything. That rule is:
Don't cut the styrofoam. Melt it.
Cutting it will only fill your studio with tinier bits of foam.
I have plenty of items I use to work with styrofoam. I have several hair dryers, a heat gun, a soldering iron and a heat pen. Anything that radiates heat can help you. But even without cutting, there is another substance which works well. Spray Paint. The aerosol in the spray paint will melt styrofoam when applied to it.
Now why would I want to melt styrofoam? Consider this. The average canvas that an artist might use to paint a picture only allows for the artist to use mediums to build the canvas out if they wish for texture. But melting styrofoam allows an additional dimension. You can now melt in to the foam. Unless you cut a canvas, there is no easy way to simply create contours upon it. Once you create your contour, you can then paint it much in the same way you would apply gesso to an uncured canvas. The result is a much more diverse surface for your work that is just as strong as a canvas would be. The thicker the foam, the more variety you can create.
So the next time you see a piece of styrofoam in someones trash, snag it and play with it a bit. It costs you nothing but your ingenuity to turn it into a masterpiece.
Here are a few of the things I've created with it.
Can low end pornography become high end surreal art? This page is for conceptual art created in "Pornographic Surrealism" series.
Its an interesting concept. Pornography in any form is about as real and gritty as it gets. It has the ability to offend and turn us on at the same time while never losing that base of reality, regardless of how surreal the sex being performed may be. It is grounded in our dreams and our nightmares. Yet translates to a reality that most fear and desire. It is grounded in emotions that we cannot even name.
This is not about human nudity. This is about taboo acts only seen in the privacy of our minds. Its not meant to be art because that would be a reminder to us of the things that we both loath and covet within ourselves. To place it upon the wall of a museum would be the ultimate travesty. An invasion of our private fantasies.
Saturday, November 16, 2019
Sunday, November 10, 2019
|Photo Courtesy of XXX Zombie XXX|
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
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