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

Monday, August 31, 2015

Image of the Day

Today's image is of a New Orleans tomb sculpture under construction. This sculpture is unique because it is based on real New Orleans cemeteries. It uses real sanctified New Orleans graveyard dirt in the composition. And the dead tree extending out of the tomb uses real Mississippi River driftwood. When completed the open part of the tomb will include a partially desiccated casket and skeletal remains. 

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Image of the Day

The Occasional Daily Art Log for 08-29-15

Weekends are teaching days at the studio. I try to have my interns here so I can dedicate extra time to working with them. We spent most of today's session discussing the concept of Assimilation Art.

I've been spending a lot time on this subject in the past few weeks as I attempt to grapple with other artists comprehension of it as well as my own emerging comprehension of something I've taken for granted in my work for many years but never given a name or a cohesive definition to until now.

Friday, August 28, 2015

The Hurricane Katrina Sort of Hourly Log - One Artists Journey Towards Landfall

On August 29th, the 10th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina will take place. The storm hit at 7AM central time. In remembrance of this, twelve hours before (7PM CT), I will start posting photos from my series "The Katrina Portraits" once every 15 minutes until 7AM. I am asking all of my friends, associates and readers of the blog to please, as often as they can Retweet and repost the portraits as a memorial to the victims both living and dead from the tragedy. 

The Occasional Daily Art Log for 08-27-15

I think I hit burn out mode today. I've been pushing so hard lately that my mind has just decided to shut down for the night.

Exhaustion doesn't mean stopping. It means continuing on past that exhaustion point and still trying to get as much out of the creativity of the day as possible.

In fact these few short paragraphs have been written over an hour. Without even the wherewithal to put cohesive sentences together. But I did managing to start work on an idea for a hanging mobile, something I've never done before. I also began the conceptual work on the next body sculpture on Tuesday night. And I was able to get one decent piece completed in the Revenant Cycle.

I've been pleased at the reception the Assimilation Art post has been getting. It seems people resonate with the concept better than I thought they would. I've considered starting a Google+ group for artists that would like to delve into it further, but perhaps the time is not right for it yet. I'll consider it further.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Image of the Day

The New Patrons - Creating a Revolution in the Arts

It is a fact that high profile people such as movie stars, tech guru's and sports stars invest money and time into high profile causes that include the arts. But that investment is usually at a level where someone might invest in a new wing for a museum or a sculpture garden. Rarely is that investment ever made at the grass roots level of the small unknown artist.

The proverbial starving artists of the world are some of the most talented and creative people out there, but absolutely none of us expect Brad Pitt to walk up to us one day and say "hey, your work has value to me. Make more." No offense to Mr. Pitt, I know he's got a good heart.

In days of yore, it was the aristocrats of society that became the patrons for great art. In some cases without these patrons some of the worlds greatest artists would never have come to the attention of the world. The system had its drawbacks. Artists in some cases become slaves to their patrons, especially if their patron was a king or a pope.

This is no longer the case. The patronage was taken over by the galleries who quite frankly only take chances these days on artists that have been vetted through the gallery system.

There are philanthropic organizations that help some, but these are far and few between usually.

Now there are a few philanthropic movie stars that move in the arts world. I've heard Ellen is a very generous supporter of the arts and so is Oprah. Bill Gates is known for his charity in the arts and his world class gallery. But it seems these cases are minor compared to the thousands of high profile people out there. And again none of us expect Oprah to show up at our door.

So how does this paradigm change? Can it change? I've preached long and hard about a revolution in the art world. I think this is part of it.

But face it, all the hollering and hand waving of artists at high profile people will result in nothing more than perhaps a restraining order against the artist for harassing the stars. That's no good!

So lets take a page from social media. Every high profile person in the world is out there in one form or another on the social networks. Some have lackey's that post for them. But some actually do pay attention and occasionally see what others are posting about them.

So lets hypothesize for a moment. What if a grass roots movement began online where instead of just hitting the "like" button, or reposting a piece of work of a fellow artist, what if instead we attached to that repost the Twitter name, facebook name, etc for a high profile person out there in the social network universe. For example, here is a potential tweet:

Click to Enlarge

Here is a basic Twitter post. I simply went and looked up Oprah's official Twitter name. I then promoted the artist (yeah its me for example sake), linked the portfolio site of the artist and a piece of their work. If retweeting then the work would already be attached. Then I added our friend Oprah's name. And voila! I've just tweeted Oprah a piece of that artists work.

Okay, so you say, what good is a single tweet? She's never going see it amongst a thousand other tweets an hour. But what if ten artists did this? What if fifty artists did this? "Well that's harassment!" you might say. But is it harassment for someone to send a single tweet? No its not. Its being proud of your fellow artists and wanting to get them some attention.

So what if we started keeping a very basic database? A list of sorts that changes weekly. Ten names on the list of high profile people around the world who have verified accounts online? That list changes every week so the same high profile patrons are not bugged incessantly.

And basically those high profile patrons are Tweet bombed for a week. Kind of like swarm of artistic locusts swarming over a patrons online persona in an attempt to make them aware of artists at the grass roots level. In fact lets take it a step further and create a couple of high end graphics to go with it so our high profile patrons know "WHY" their are being bombarded by art for a few days.

So whats the end result? If nothing is gained, then nothing is lost. You've only lost the two minutes to forward a post of a particularly great piece of art. What might be gained is that a fellow artist might get seen. You might be that fellow artist because someone is in turn forwarding your work on.

I guess what I am saying is that reposting an artists work is nice. But lets make it work for us! The revolution begins at the grass roots always. If we don't make the effort, then we don't gain the benefits.

A revolution NEVER  begins with just a single act. It takes many smaller acts to make changes. This is just one of many I hope that will change the art world for the better. Your comments are encouraged.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Occasional Daily Log For 08-24-15

An example of finished work from Revenant Cycle #1

I think one of the things that bothers me the most as an artist is the assumptions that people make about my art. They see one thing and ignore all else. We as artists are the worst about this. We miss the depth often in our need to say "oh I did that already".

I've been fighting a battle this week as I've been producing art in the new Revenant Series. There is a distinct lack of understanding of the art form I am using that I've been forced to create new terminology to try and explain what I am actually doing.

When people (and especially artists) see the final work I am producing they jump to one conclusion only. "Oh Cool Digital Art".

No no no no. What you perceive as digital art was not any photo shopped piece of crap done solely on a computer with a mouse. No offense to the great digital artists out there, but we all must admit there is a lot of crap being made these days also.

So let me give you an idea of the process from a different standpoint than I've written about yet.

What I am creating starts as a concept drawing in the studio. It is an idea and an inspiration that may take from previous pieces of work I've done. There is thought and planning that goes into it which includes consideration for the paints being used, the models being chosen, the lighting, the props and the backgrounds. There is scheduling of both the models and any interns I need to assist.

There may even be the creation of other art to be used also in the process. I've done elaborate backdrops, costumes, etc that are all done artistically to get the effects I am looking for.

That all happens before the art is ever created. Then comes the painting, done in studio the model is transformed into a piece of art. This is no performance art. No one sees it other than those helping. The painting is not done to produce the end product of a body painting. Its far from complete.

After the painting comes the photographing done with special lights and often with something akin to a staged production. Again though, this is not performance. The photographing now takes place. Anywhere from 300-1,000 raw images are taken of the model in varying poses. When done the model is scrubbed down and sent home with a big thanks for their patience.

Now comes the sorting. Every image is looked at carefully and perhaps 10 of those 1,000 images are chosen to take a step further.

Now comes the digital art. Each of those final images is carefully morphed to create something totally new.

After all this work I am happy with even one final piece of art that comes from it. I've had sessions where it all turned out as crap and the process begun again.

Now you'd think the work is done at that stage. The artist has accomplished something that spans several art forms to create something new. But the work is not done.

The portfolio of raw images is set aside but it is not dead. I may bring that portfolio back up a month, a year or a decade later and find something new within it. But more immediately I may spur off other kinds of art. One idea I am fiddling with is creating a set of still cel's, similiar to what they create in animation and done on acetate. I may spur sculptures from the source materials. I may introduce future pieces that interconnect with the original work.

The point is that in Assimilation art you keep morphing into new concepts. And that is where I lose the audience. They can only see one form of art (usually digital) without seeing the complexities of the final work. And thus is my frustration.

So with that said I am going to bed now (at 7am) and sleeping a good solid 12 hours today so I am ready for the task of working with a model tonight. In the meantime, here are some links to things related to this rant. Enjoy!


Assimilation Art
Revenant Cycle #1 Working Notes
Revenant Cycle #2 Working Notes
Revenant Cycle #1 Finished Work

Image of the Day

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Dreaming Big as an Artist - Reallllly Big

As an artist, I dream big. I always have. Its one of the reasons I started my artistic career years ago working on huge canvas pieces.

As my skills have developed I've not stopped dreaming big. Even though I may never accomplish those dreams, they are still a big part of what makes me want to continue on this artistic journey. I like to think of myself as the Elon Musk of the art world. If I can dream it. I can do it! 

So let me share three of my more bizarre artistic dreams. 

#1) I want to transform the city of New Orleans into a city of lights. I want to see as many buildings in the city center transformed at night into something more than just neon and shining lights. Our technology is reaching an apex where it comes to lighting where we can achieve anything with it. I want to be known as the artist of light someday and I want to orchestrate a complete piece of art using dozens of buildings to do it.

#2) I want to be the first artist to put a light sculpture into orbit that can be seen both in day and at night from anyplace on earth. It would take a hell of a big satellite and some intensive equipment to achieve it, but I think it can be done! There are two purposes for this. The first is as an art installation to humanity. The second is as a beacon to other worlds out there. Hey we are here! Impossible? Maybe, but what is life without trying? 

#3) I want to create a series of towering human figures approximately the height of the highest span of the Golden Gate Bridge. These sculptures would be sunk into water with their legs stretching out and enough space in between to sail a large tanker through. I want to place one at the Straights of Bosphorus in Istanbul. Another off the tip of Manhattan. A third and fourth the tip of Tierra Del Fuego in South America and off the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa. 

"Okay man, your nuts. Lunatic has delusions". Your right, I do. But without big dreams we are nothing. My big delusional dreams make anything smaller that I create seem like child's play. By placing myself in the role of a rather wild eyed dreamer it allows me the mind space to create anything that my mind and my budget can conceive.

It is not always necessary to accomplish every dream but it is necessary to think of them. Our dreams make us stronger. They cast us into roles that we would not otherwise allow ourselves to go. 

Everything we see and perceive around us has at one time been the dream of another person. Everything starts at that point. Dreaming becomes an idea becomes a reality, whether is a logo on a can of soup or the worlds tallest skyscraper. It all began at that elemental level.

If you convince yourself that you will never achieve anything of great merit in your life then you won't. Its that simple. 

Just something to think about because artists are the true dreamers of this world. Don't let your dreams die.


Image of the Day

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Image of the Day

This is a New Orleans Tomb Sculpture in the making. The tomb itself is rock tile. The skeleton is a small plastic skeleton that's been dismembered, painted in metallics to give it a slight glow and then sunk in layer of graveyard dirt that has been obtained from several New Orleans cemeteries. The skeleton was buried partially in the dirt and then a heavy layer of Mod Podge was applied over the whole surface and left to dry. The slight opaquing you still see will dry clear soon and keep the skeleton embedded and the dirt in place.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Steering Away from Art Techniques that Frustrate

[fruh-strey-shuh n] 

A feeling of dissatisfaction, often accompanied by anxiety or depression, resulting from unfulfilled needs or unresolved problems.

I learned long ago to stay far afield of trying to create art that is just going to frustrate the hell out of me. Part of this is my anal mind. I can't stand to create something that in my minds eye is not as perfect as I can get it.

At one point early in my art career I had made a determination to conquer as many kinds of art as I could. As an experimental artist it only seemed natural to say I could create art that ranged from abstract to architectural and everything in between.

It took me maybe six months of constant frustration to realize that just wasn't gonna work. Don't get me wrong, I am not proposing eliminating any kind of growth as an artist by no longer challenging yourself. But face it, we can't be everything that we imagine we would like to be in our minds.

So I learned to fly headlong into new art forms that challenged me but to flee like a small frightened child from any art that frustrated me to the point of creating headaches and stomach pains.

You'll notice that my art has a particular lack of the human form. It creeps in occasionally, but I just have horrible skills in creating human beings. Give me a lion or a bear and I'm fine. Give me a human and it turns into a stick figure with one leg too long and three boobs (or testicles depending on the gender).

For the longest time I took this as a sign of a deficient artist. Why the hell couldn't I create a real human form? I'd try over and over again and they never met the expectations that my mind placed before me.

Over time I realized that some of us can create one thing, while others can create something else. Its not deficient, its just how our minds work and what makes art so unique. How I perceive something and create it will inevitably be different than how you create it.

But it also taught me a valuable lesson about not allowing my art to frustrate me. I will challenge myself to the extreme, but if I begin to get that frustrating feeling then I put it aside. It doesn't mean that I will not return to it at a later date and try again when my skills improve, but I no longer beat myself over the head trying over and over again.

I think sometimes we can expect so much out of ourselves as new artists that we refuse to give up. The inevitable result is that we may finish what we began but the piece is missing some elemental spark of inspiration that must be present to take it from the stage of a doodle to a masterpiece.

When I teach new artists I try to instill in them to try everything they can. Paint, sculpt, incorporate the written word, learn block printing, create a new font! Never give up trying new things because one skill will always lead to another. But I also teach them to listen to their inner voice. If something doesn't feel right, trust your instincts and turn to something else.

Some artists can do this easily. Others end up just spinning their tires because they get frustrated with everything they do and the result is that nothing gets created. So you have to use your common sense to know when you should put something aside. Don't use it as an excuse to just set aside a project. Think about it, consider it carefully, maybe even take a breather of a day or so and tackle it anew. But if that frustration persists, then put your talents to better use on something else.

I have a reputation for attempting art forms that are so complex and ridden with possible problems that no sane person would begin them. "Hey! What if I take this banana peel, this rusty piece of metal and this really cool purple paint and make something impossibly ridiculous out them???" Of course artists are rarely totally sane, so why not try it anyway? If you can find a way to cure the banana peel before it rots you just might have something!

The point is to know the difference between a challenge and a dead end. Challenging ourselves is good, even occasionally boxing ourselves into a piece of art where we have no choice but to set it aside is good. But art that frustrates us and begins to give us ulcers is not good.

Knowing this difference can be what stops us from throwing our hands in the air and walking away from our studio in disgust.

And if your wondering about the significance of the photo at the top of the page. That tree was made from wire that was attached to a wooden bench in my studio, then built with clay and foaming glue and topped with a steel wool and a chicken bone attached to the length of rope. The color isn't paint but melted crayons. Of and just to make it a challenge I drilled holes around the base of the tree and placed lights in them to illuminate the tree trunk. Banana peel indeed!


Saturday, August 15, 2015

The Perfection of Art - Daily Artists Log for 08-14-15

What a beautiful evening.

Tonight began the first of the new session of body sculptures. These are a combination of body paintings and special lit photographic poses. The Whole point is to create specific effects on the body that are then augmented through my digital studio. There is more on this in past posts so I won't labor it here.

So tonight began session #1 using all new equipment and what I would like to think are much better skills than the last time I did a body sculpture. And I have to say, the whole session surpassed my expectations. The new equipment worked perfectly. My creativity was at a peak. I knew intuitively what I wanted to create.

There is an interesting phenomenon that I've experienced many times where I can sense a perfect pose in the camera lens. I may not see it when I am posing them, but once I see it in the lens I know its perfection. I wish I could understand this better. All I can say is it happened at least a half dozen times tonight, much more than traditionally occurs. I am lucky if I have this aura of perfection occur once in an extensive photo shoot. But I was lucky enough to find it several times.

Right around 300 photos were taken and I suspect it will take me several weeks to work through them for the initial digital work that will inevitably come from them.

There will be work in progress photos also put up on the Revenant Sculpture page. You can view a basic description of the first session here and see more photos tomorrow.

So I can safely say it was a perfect night of creating. I'm exhausted though and its near 5AM here so I am not going to push too much harder. Tomorrow I am taking both the interns out for their first experience of the New Orleans gallery scene. I have stops planned at 5 different locations to allow them to understand the gallery system better and how it operates. I just hope I've gotten enough sleep to do it justice. But this is how a busy studio should run. The world revolves around art in all forms.

I had time after tonights session to master a single image from the shoot. I leave it here for you to view. Would love your comments on it.


Click to Enlarge

Thursday, August 13, 2015

August 29th - One Artists Personal Memorial to Hurricane Katrina

I would like to ask your help with something important. 

On August 29th, the 10th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina will take place. The storm hit at 7AM central time. In remembrance of this, twelve hours before (7PM CT), I will start posting photos from my series "The Katrina Portraits" once every 15 minutes until 7AM. I am asking all of my friends, associates and readers of the blog to please, as often as they can Retweet and repost the portraits as a memorial to the victims both living and dead from the tragedy. 

If you have ties to news organizations please send to them. If you have blogs or other social media, please send to them. If you can't retweet then send the links at the bottom of this page as often as you can in that 12 hours. 

Show the power and compassion of social media and blast these out as often as possible in the 12 hours prior to landfall of the Hurricane.

The following links are to the individual photo sets in the series and can be freely distributed.




Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Body Art

Have you ever considered becoming a piece of art and being immortalized in print?

If so and you are local to the New Orleans area, we are looking for volunteers interested in participating in our spring Body Painting series. This is more than just paint. This involves turning you into a piece of abstract art. If you have patience and want an interesting challenge, give us a shout.

Persons interested must be:

  • Local to New Orleans 
  • Able to sit and stand for long periods of time
  • Have no body modesty or problem with being photographed nude or partially nude
  • Have no allergies to paint
  • Have little to no body hair

Models will receive a free fashion shoot valued at $500. Please contact us via email at: gcsartno@aol.com

Monday, August 10, 2015

Testing the Boundaries of the Artists Skills

Tonight the studio is quiet compared to the rest of the weekend. Despite taking time off I still had models come in to allow me to test out the new airbrushing equipment. It surpassed my expectations and I hope to master the new brush shortly.

A few things I learned from my first tests:

  • Paint goes a lot further than I thought it would when applied with the air brush
  • Metallic acrylics applied with a stylus over the airbrushed paints create amazing designs
  • Using slick paints to create line works is a perfect medium to use in conjunction 
  • Body hair is not as much of a roadblock as it once was using a brush
  • The paints do not crack or fall off as easily

So these are all good things to learn and augmenting skills I already had. I am eager now to do a complete piece as soon as I can line a model up to work with. These first few pieces won't have a concise them as I am still in a test phase.

I believe the most difficult part of the process will be the setting up the studio ahead of time. It takes creating barriers to protect the art and supplies around the room and creating a special work station for mixing paints and holding specific supplies.

This all goes back to proper planning. Every single piece we create takes a planning of basic materials and making sure everything is ready once you begin.

In other studio news, I've begun to put together a pretty extensive arts library for students interning. I had quite a few books already and received several more as birthday presents. My desire to put together a good resource library for other artists locally to partake of.

I think that's all for tonight. I leave you tonight with some new work out of the digital studio. Consider that each of these pieces was first a carefully orchestrated body painting. By orchestrated I mean that it was not only a body being painted by an event in front of a live audience that involved very specific lighting and effects to get some of the original photo-work for these pieces. Where I may spend a week in the digital studio working on any given piece of art, there are dozens of man hours that went into just achieving the original shot that is used for the base. Please not that the first piece at the top of the page was finished in studio today as part of an intern lesson in digital art techniques.  As always comments are welcome.


Thursday, August 6, 2015

Artists as Rock Stars - Creating Excitement in the Art World

[pah-puh-raht-soh; Italian pah-pah-raht-tsaw] 

A freelance photographer, especially one who takes candid pictures of celebrities for publication.

This blogger artist dressing the part in purple for an event

A recent article for a the line up of a large Jazz show showed all these amazing musicians who would be in attendance. Photos of the previous years show were full of bright lights, excitement, red carpets and the stars of the show being lauded as modern day heroes as they arrived to play.

It started me thinking. Why do musicians get this kind of acclaim where artists get very little. Sure the artistic greats like Vermeer and Picasso are heralded as great icons of our society. But why is so little attention paid to the living great artists?

As much as I personally disliked his style, Andy Warhol understood the paparazzi. His shows were amazing spectacles that set the art world on fire. But why is this the exception to the rule rather than the standard? The music world is exactly the opposite. It is the rule rather than the exception.

Sure there are levels to this. You wouldn't expect an artist who paints beach scenes to have a huge unveiling no more than you would expect a folk singer to do so. But tell me. Couldn't the art world use a little more glitz and glamour?  I know many will disagree with me on this. "Art should be stately and above such nonsense". But wouldn't it serve the artists of the world more if there were red carpet events for the unveiling of great works of art? We do it for movies and yes the occasional huge piece of art that might be a centerpiece for a city or for some new building being erected.

If you remember the movie Dogma from the 90's, the Catholic Cardinal wanted to create a new campaign called "God WoW" to make Catholicism a bit more enticing to the youth. While I would not suggest this is really a good idea for organized religion, there is nonetheless a grain of truth to the idea.

How many art gallery openings do you go to where you see many faces in the crowd under 25? It happens, but not as often as it should. If you get kids excited about art early on, then art stays with them their whole life. This is a proven fact.

Artists are solitary creatures. Those reading this article are probably cringing at the thought of placing themselves in a rock stars mentality just to sell their work. Not to mention the thought of grubby toddlers running around touching their paintings.

But if we are going to change the paradigms of the art world to better engage the public and better sell our work, then we have to consider these things. And face it, we put as much energy into creating a piece of art as a musicians uses to create a song. Both have equal value in our society but there is truly an imbalance in the way each are presented to the public.

Why is it that artists in New York City can have a glitzy opening for their shows but an artist in Shreveport , Louisiana can't? I would think its even more important in the small towns around the world to make a bigger deal rather than less about our artists. They should shine as equally as any comparable singer would.

In all our research as artists into the best ways to market ourselves, this is perhaps the area we are the weakest about. Why worry about such things when we are just satisfied to be discovered and in a gallery in the first place? But if we want to continue to sell then we need to make a name for ourselves as artists. Our work speaks for us. But any good marketer will tell you that the "cult of personality" sells.

If we are going to be serious artists, then this is an area we need to consider also. Don't fear the paparazzo, make them work for you.


My bald phase, again dressing the part at a show a few years ago. 

Greetings From Computer Hell - The Daily Artists Log for 08-05-15

This has been a rough studio day. In the first five minutes I knew it was going to be a long one as my poor computer began its mad descent towards destruction. After 10 crashes and several attempts at diagnosing what was happening I made a desperate attempt to keep it in safe mode at least long enough to back up any files not backed up in the last mass backup a few weeks back.

After 5 hours of tedious backing up of one small file at a time, I finally managed to get a clean set of files. That of course was when the computer began to stabilize and stop crashing.

But its only a matter of time. This poor computer child has been rung over the coals in the years I've had her and I suspect there is probably a build up of years worth of black spray paint within her rusty guts.

The trauma is that once she goes I'll lose at least half of my digital art abilities until I can manage to get a replacement, which won't be anytime soon. As a starving artist, these kinds of things can be devastating when they occur. But we move on and cope.

As compensation I spent the evening in the soul pursuit of creating several new pieces of digital art. My heart just wasn't in working with the sculptures tonight and the digital work settled me a bit. Here are the results. Would love feedback on them.

Amongst the decaying computer I also managed to conduct several model interviews for the body sculpting art and worked with Art Intern Bo for several hours teaching him how to carve on laminate. He took to it well and I'm going to have him start his own project on a larger piece next session.

I also managed to get the second panel attached to the new tomb sculpture. Here it is carved but not yet attached.

Only a few more days until my 50th birthday. I may take a little time off on Saturday. Billy has promised me that we can go shopping in the junk stores for the afternoon in search of interesting cast off items for use in the studio. I love using found objects for art. It also looks like the big art supply order that came from the grant from Visual AIDS is coming that day also. So that should make things a bit brighter!

In last news I believe I am going to restart the experimental art challenge that I attempted a year or so back. If anyone is interested in participating once I get it going, let me know and I'll see you get information. Here is the graphic I'll be using for it, so watch for it on the various social networks.

I'll be outlining more about this program in upcoming posts also.

I think that tackles it for tonight. To the hard working artists out there that read this blog. Thank you. I hope these daily insights have value. Its hard to tell sometimes but I know your out there reading.


Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Rembrandt & Art Planning - The Daily Log for 08-04-15

A better night in the studio tonight. I think I have my energy back again. A lot of work was done on the Raja's Tomb sculpture. I also began the discovery phase of the new sculpture to be called "Holding Up Progress. 

Raja's Tomb

Holding Up Progress

Every sculpture goes through a discovery phase. You don't just go instantly from idea to creation. I don't think painting is quite the same. You can begin a painting by simply having an idea. I am sure their are sculptors out there that can do this, but I'm not one of them. There has to be a time of figuring out the dynamics of a complicated sculpture. The layout, the materials used, the size are all important aspects of the piece.

I am constantly warning students that if you don't think through the steps of a piece of art first you can literally paint yourself into a corner. That's when discouragement sets in and you abandon the piece because you've lost your direction on it.

I see this happen with a lot of young artists. I hear them say "I lost interest half way through". But did they? Or did they box themselves in with their idea?

Its something to think about.

I watched a short documentary on Rembrandt today while I worked. This was a little different because it was an analysis of the kind of paint that he used in his works. I highly suggest checking out as it gives you a great idea of what earlier painters used to have to go through and how fortunate we are to have easy access to paints and equipment for our work.

I think thats all for tonight. Training an intern tomorrow and more model interviews. Looking forward to the new equipment coming at the end of the week. Watching the mail avidly for it!


Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Of Elephants & Old Men - Daily Artists Log for 08-03-15

I've not made a daily post in a few days. Illness has had me moving a little slower than usual. Not stopping me from being in the studio, but definitely slowing me down and forcing me to bed earlier than I prefer.

Its still been an intensely busy few days. I've interviewed several more models for the upcoming body sculptures I will be beginning soon.

I've begun several new pieces also. Raja's Tomb will be the 22nd New Orleans Tomb Sculpture. It is an ornate crypt holding the remains of an elephant and his trainer. I've also begun the bare bones of a new driftwood sculpture, but its so preliminary that its not worth discussing quite yet.

The most important one (at least I hope) is a sculpture that for the moment I am calling "Holding Up Progress" This came from a dream image I had of a man holding up two great rising skyscrapers, his arms bracing both on either side of him. I only began the basic configurations tonight. Like a jigsaw puzzle I will try out different ideas for how I want to structure it before ever beginning the actual building process. All this must be done without the actual man present because he will have to be built from clay later. But I think the concept has merit. We will see what comes of it.

Another project that I am also beginning is for the Little Free Library system. If your not familiar with this its a series of miniature shelves that hold books that people can take for free or leave for others. We've wanted to be involved with this for awhile and today got in touch with one of the coordinators for the program. The actual cabinet is made ahead of time, so you pick it up and mount it on a pole and put it near the sidewalk for people to use. The enjoyable part is that the cabinet is just bare bones, so I get the pleasure of designing it to make it stand out in front of the studio. Not content to just paint it, I'm already brainstorming ideas for the best way to design it and make it fun.

I'll of course post images later of all these projects.

So I'll be 50 years old in just 4 days. This doesn't bother me like I think it bothers some. I'm rather blase about birthdays. I've never felt my age and I'd like to think that few can keep up with me when I am in the creative mode. Heck, for not feeling well this week I am still averaging 14 hours a day in the studio rather than 18 hours like usual. I suppose that is something good even with some pretty severe health issues that have plagued me from time to time.

But I suppose it marks a rather large point in my life. I've gone from a very poor and rough childhood to a middle class husband to a book writer to a game designer to a professional photographer and in the last years to a visual artist. I can be satisfied that I've tried a variety of things to fulfill my life. Some worked, some didn't. But they are all part of who I am. I spent ten of those years as a professional vagabond, doing little more than traveling from the east coast of the United States to the west coast and then back again. But it shaped me and prepared me for who I am now. I pushed myself to the limits all alone just to see if I could do it. And I'm still here. Guess that's something.

I think that's it for tonight. To bed a bit early again and up ready to hit it hard tomorrow. Please check out the new area on the blog to your right entitled "Studio Works in Progress". This area will contain all pieces under development and include work in progress photos and status updates for each phase of each piece. I'd love your feedback on this and encourage questions and commentary.


Saturday, August 1, 2015

Materials - Daily Artist Log for 07-31-15

This has been one of those tedious studio days where it doesn't feel like you've gotten anything of importance done, yet you worked your ass off. 

Of six interviews set up for body sculpture models only two actually showed. Unreliability is part of the culture of New Orleans at times. But the two I did see were well fitted to the concepts I want to work with. 

And just in time too. The grant money came today from Visual AIDS. This organization seeks to support artists who are HIV+. Their system is well thought out. I supply them with receipts from this grant and show them what was created with the funds and it places me in their system for a larger grant six months from now. Very helpful! 

This grant was $400 in the form of an art gift card to spend how I wished on art products carried through Blick Art Supplies. About half was invested into new airbrushes and airbrush materials, which is how I will be painting the models mentioned above in part. The other half was used in support materials for the studio to help with the training of emerging artists interns. This fits well with Visual AIDS goals because my intern program is specifically for LGBT emerging artists. So it makes sense to invest back in materials to support that program. I kept about $40 in reserve in case there is something crucial I need later. 

So I literally spent about 4 hours going through Blick's online catalog, looking at materials and putting together my buy list. 

There was no art this evening. Still wrestling with this new buying system for my sculptures and prints. I think there are going to be a few frustrating nights ahead sorting through it and at least getting the most important pieces set up with it. 

Tonight though I am just too tired to deal with it further and I think after this daily log I will go to bed early (yeah 3AM is early for me)

There is a huge thunder storm out over the Gulf of Mexico tonight, about 40 miles here. But its lighting the sky up with huge flashes and I may just go watch the show for a few minutes before bed. 

Make sure you check out our artists of the day posts! These people deserve some love for all their hard work!