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

Saturday, April 30, 2016

The Problem of an Artists Inventory

What do you do with too much art? 

Now I don't want to leave the impression with this post that I am either bragging or that the quality of my work is suffering, but the simple fact is that I create work at such a rate of speed that I am quickly coming into a serious space issue in my studio.

Even downsizing the sculptures to smaller pieces is at this point doing little to no good.

A lot of artists have problems with procrastination. They get a great idea and sits on the drawing board or the piece they are creating slowly grinds to a halt half way through its completion. I am a stubborn artist though. I rarely leave an idea untouched and I almost always create through to completion even if the piece has to sit for a few weeks.

Print of the Day - Call of the Dragon Spirit

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This piece was produced from the stunning China Lights show at City Park New Orleans. It is a hybrid of several images taken in different parts of the exhibition brought together to produce the image above.

The Artists believes in limiting the amount of reproductions available in order to keep the value of the piece at a premium. Only 25 total 8" x 11" reproductions will be available for this piece. Each includes a certificate of authenticity signed, dated and fingerprinted by the artist.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Print of the Day - Passions of the Aztec Warriors

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Thursday, April 28, 2016

Image of the Day - Spirits of Amritsar

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Spirits of Amritsar is a dedication sculpture to the dual massacres in 1919 and 1984 in the Indian city of Amritsar. The blending of colors is meant to be a blending of the spirits lost in both horrendous tragedies. 

The piece is 90% complete at the time of this photo. Once completed I will post complete info for the piece. 

Below is a photo of the Amritsar next to the Amsari sculpture with a sandstone Buddha in the middle. Both pieces are made from intricate driftwood sealed with a black epoxy to keep them solid and eliminate any breakage or crumbling. The finished pieces are set on a tile base

Monday, April 25, 2016

As an Artist Do I Have the Right to Refuse my Work to Someone I Disagree With?

I cannot tell you how much this question has haunted me over the past few years. In fact its bothered me so much that I've totally avoided it as a subject matter for this blog. 

Those who know me know that I am a man of ummm many strong opinions, especially regarding the extremists on the so called "Right" of America. My work often attacks head on the issue of extremism both here in the United States and abroad. I refuse religion in any form even while embracing spirituality in every form. I hold nothing against anyone who carries a different belief than I do. But I hold everything against those who would shove those beliefs down the throats of others. 

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Are You An Unprofessional Artist?

I remember a fellow artist once telling me that they went to a gallery to try and get their work seen and the owner told them that they wouldn't consider the artist because they weren't professional enough. 

The outsider artist within me was instantly appalled by this and by the fact that the artists work was never even seen by this gallery owner. I'd not taken time to consider until years later the approach that my artist friend had used in contacting this gallery. I found out later that he walked in off the street in the middle of the day with his big clunky artists portfolio under one arm and when he was told the owner wasn't available he stubbornly said he'd wait. He felt that it showed his dedication if he waited around till the owner was free. My previous opinion that the unknown artist always gets the bums rush from galleries suddenly changed a bit. 

Image of the Day - The Grotto of the Golden Skull (Second Stage)

This might well be my favorite sculpture to date. Modeled on a medieval burial cave. Statues of Mary and Joseph rest high at the top of the piece with piles of golden skulls below. The piece is big. Its 29" x 24" and stands 16" high. I used a pearlescent glaze over everything but the grotto skull to give it an almost heavenly glow. It needs a little tweaking to finish it up. 

Friday, April 22, 2016

Image of the Day - The Grotto of the Golden Skull

The Grotto of the Golden Skull began life as a far different piece of art. It was originally attached to a large temple complex which I created about a year ago. The piece was an experiment in architecture and was never really meant to be a piece of art for sale. It remained in my storage area in a state of about 75% completion. The grotto itself was completed and was attached to one end of the 5 foot frame. I always loved that part of bigger piece and when I determined to deconstruct the bigger piece I decided I needed to try and save the grotto and turn it into its own sculpture. It took me several hours of careful cutting to remove the piece and I was finally able to separate it all in one piece. At 29" across its still a large piece and one of the few that needed to be mounted on board instead of tile. Its actually very light because most of it was made of dry foam with an overlay of clay. 

Here you see it successfully transferred to its new base. With so much extra space I had to decide to do with it. Thus the large skull being added. In this photo you cannot see well that all the tiny specs of gold are actually heaps of golden skulls. So it was only natural that I should incorporate a larger skull into the piece which will also eventually be painted gold.

The piece will be on display at the New Orleans Art Garden on Saturday April 23rd for anyone who'd like to see it up close. 

Info on the art garden can be found at the link above.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Image of the Day - Time Drift Gear Works Sculpture

Something new being worked up in the studio tonight. "Time Drift" is created on a 28" panel of driftwood. I am guessing this might have originally been a piece off a boat. The wood is in pristine condition and smoothed beautifully over time. The set of gearworks on it are both raised on the surface and engraved into it. The object sticking out is a skeleton key. The hole bored out towards the top will eventually hold an iridescent stone that the light can shine through from behind. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The Eyes of the Dead Sculpture Series

"What do the eyes of the dead see
that we who dwell in the darkness of life remain blind to?"

Several years ago I embarked on a series of 40+ miniature tomb sculptures. Each one was crafted from original photos of New Orleans cemeteries I had taken over the years. While no one tomb was an exact replica, they were an amalgam of many of my favorite crypts throughout the city. The series was quite successful and only a few of the original series remain in my possession now. 

I loved the tomb series and I've wanted to do more, but it was time to do something new also. My phase of creating realistic crypts was past (at least for the time being). But I love the shapes and the mysteries that surround New Orleans cemeteries I just hadn't found the inspiration for a new series until recently.

One of the early tombs in the series was one that I never put up for sale. It was called The Bone Dancer Tree. It was an experimental piece set on a 1 foot tile with a wall crypt facing in towards an ancient tree rising up through the center of a tomb. 

The problem with the Bone Dancer Tree was that all of the crucial elements of the sculpture faced in at each other. It made the piece difficult to get a grasp of the details. As a result the piece was set aside and never actually placed up for sale. 

I was doing some studio cleaning though and had seriously considered deconstructing the piece to make room for better pieces. when on just a lark I decided to see if I could salvage the piece before taking it apart.

I took a set of tile nibblers and chipped away at the tile in between the elements on the right side and the elements on the left. I thought if I chipped away enough and hit it with a hammer it might break pretty clean down the middle, turning one sculpture into two, re-exposing the details that were hidden. 

Unfortunately the idea failed. When I hit it with the hammer it broke into three pieces. Now this is where inspiration takes place. Shattering the sculpture allowed me to see it in a new light. I took just the tree and the accompanying center tomb which included a small statue of Mary and I remounted the shattered piece onto a 9" x 11" tile. I then used natural clay around it so that the original tile was hidden and it looked like natural ground again. 

I removed all the original moss foliage I had added and I extended the Bone Dancer tree up higher and did some minor repairs on the branch work. Now I could have stopped there. For all practical purposes I could have filled in the original colors on the base and let it remain as one of the original Tomb sculptures in the series. But as I said, inspiration was on me and I saw the tomb in a whole new way.

Rather than keep the original colors which were dull and reflected the reality of an old cemetery and I black based the whole sculpture by doing an undercoating of black spray paint across the whole sculpture. 

Then I chose a color pallet of metallics in golds, purples, pearlescent white, pewter and sequin black and I repainted the whole thing into iridescent shades blended together. And with that I knew I had a new concept for a new tomb series. Rather than the stark realities of the previous series, this one would reflect another almost faerie like surrealism. The tombs will still be real. In fact I think they take on a peculiar new level of reality. The colors are surreal, but there is a hint of darkness in the structures of this first prototype that appeals to me. 

While some may consider these fantasy, I still classify them as surrealism. They are using common every day elements of New Orleans cemetery, but viewed through the lens of the spirits that inhabit them, not the humans that look on them with sadness. And that is the key of surrealism. Blending reality and fantasy in equal measure to find that place in between.

In my mind, this is how the ghosts and spirits might look upon these ancient crypts and that is the key to the series. Spirits see in pools of iridescent color. So with that in mind, here is the prototype sculpture "Proud Mary" in the new "The Eyes of the Dead" series. It will be an interesting body work I think.


Monday, April 18, 2016

Experiments in Free Range Art (FRA) - Updated 04-20-16

Many aren't familiar with the concept of Free Range Art (FRA) but its something thats fascinated me for quite some time. Its the idea of placing free art around a city where people will see it. Some of it is totally anonymous, others not. Graffiti is a great example that usually gets a bum rap because its equated with vandalism.

In my personal opinion the objective of free range art is to find a way to place it without becoming vandalism but in a way that allows the artist to gain some notoriety from it.

Utilizing FRA along with a concerted marketing and advertising plan for an artist can help, but its a fine line to not end up with a hefty fine from it also.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Image of the Day - The High King

I have a particular love for Irish and Scottish myth and history. This could be because I am one half Scot and one half Irish. This piece represents the burial of a high king of the Scots. Watching over his burial crypt is death to the left and the spirit of a druid tree to the right. There are seven skull totems surrounding it. The crypt rests on beautiful piece of driftwood fished out of the Mississippi a few weeks ago. The crypt is made from stone tile with metal cornices. Within it will eventually rest the skeletal mummy of the high king, resplendent with crown and sword. I am planning to use my own red hair to weave the braids that will form the top of the head. 


Here is a finished view of the High King laid to rest. I need to do a few more details on him tomorrow but the basics are complete now. Considering that he's only 5 inches long I don't think he looks too bad.

Artists' Phobias

Sometimes I think artists have the greatest number of personality disorders of any cultural group. Some art colleagues and I had an interesting discussion the other day about phobias and started tallying up how many artists we knew that also had peculiar phobias.

Unsurprisingly we realized that most artists that we knew had at least one if not several odd or peculiar phobias. Perhaps phobia is too harsh of a word. Perhaps "quirks" fit better, but some of them sure seemed a lot like phobias to me! 

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The Responsibilities of the Creative

Cause & Effect - The Casual Disregard of the Breaking Ice

There are many responses I get from artists regarding responsibility. "I have no responsibility except unto myself" is the most common heard. "That is why I'm an artist, so that I have no responsibilities" is another often heard. We seem to think that because we work alone in a studio or work space most of the time that it absents us from having any responsibilities. But exactly the opposite applies.

As an artist I personally feel that we have an increase of responsibility. For me, the responsibility of teaching other artists weighs the heaviest. But there are other responsibilities that are equally as important. Helping our community, taking up causes and standing for equality for all seem to me to be part of what it means to be an artist. 

Monday, April 11, 2016

Artists Experimenting with "Pay What You Want" Pricing (Updated 04-12-16)

Recently the application I use as an interface for pricing and selling my art added a new feature called "Pay What You Want". 

This is a relatively new phenomenon in the world of art where the buyer can establish their own value and price for a piece of art they want to purchase. I'd not seen any other artists trying this out so I ran my own experiment. 

Friday, April 8, 2016

To Make an Extraordinary Artistic Impression, One Must go to Extraordinary Lengths

After my recent art exhibition I had a lot of comments from attendees. Many of them included "You went to a lot of trouble for this didn't you?" or "Wasn't this a lot of effort to do?" And of course my favorite "Why bother?" This last one often came from other artists who felt that just putting the out art out would have been enough. Why all the hoopla?

But the simple fact is that I truly believe in the statement at the top of this page. My intention was not to sell my art, but to make an impression. No not just an impression but an "extraordinary impression".