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VISITORS: Tours of the studio are always available. Text or message if you'd like to see what was LITERALLY created from the ashes of Hurricane Ida.

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Grey Cross Studios
1920 4th St, New Orleans , LA 70113
Send text messages to 504-874-2908, Instagram @GreyCrossStudios, Facebook Grey Anatoli Cross, Threads @greycrossstudios

(BTC) The Perfect Urban Ruin (Grey Cross)

BTC Stands for "Behind the Curtain". Its a look at work created by various artists, photographers and creators around the world. 
Its a small peak behind the curtain as to how the piece was created and the conceptual ideas behind it. 

All art comes with a story. 

This image was taken right after Hurricane Katrina. The building had long since been abandoned but the storm had destroyed most of the wall behind me, leaving an empty shell of a ruin. 

Urban decay has always been a fascination of mine and I've always counted this image as one of my best. Its interesting to me how a photo can invoke the senses. When I look at it, I can still smell the the damp air, still not completely dried out from the Hurricane and the musty smell of the dead that so permeated the city at that time. 

As I went from being a photographer to being an artist my photos no longer represented exact images of people and places. Instead they became an even more important part of my art and my surrealism. 

Over the years I've come back to this image many times, recasting and exploring how many ways it could be used to create different realities. Later I would use this concept in a series called the Grand Ballroom, which took an empty hotel ballroom and constantly changed what was in the room to represent different surreal ideas. 

But it began with this one image. There are three incarnations of this abandoned place, and I suspect in the coming years there will be others. It may even spawn into its own series at some point.

Keep in mind that the concept is to see how many realities can be represented from a single image. Here are three of mine.

Each one also represents different ideas in my creative process. For example, Life in the Torture Chamber came from a series I was exploring using phosphorescent paint. I would take plastic skeletons and pose them in different ways and then photograph them in total darkness. Then I would merge the skeletons from different images together into one and place them into various scenes. 

The street artist image, as you can probably guess, never had a nude man painting within it. The model was from a wholly unrelated shoot and brought into this image. Here is the original unedited photo.

I think perhaps the "Time Machine" is my favorite. This is a totally different creative attempt. The machine placed in the foreground is part of a model I created several years ago called the HyperDrive Temple. It was an attempt to tell a story through the use of a styrofoam model I'd built. The premise was that of an interstellar ship that crash landed on a primitive planet and the wreck left to decay over thousands of years. But the primitives turn the area with the hyperdrive motors into a temple and begin worshiping it. It was an interesting story and one I may explore again later. 

I photographed it pretty extensively at the time, but unfortunately some personal life issues occurred which never allowed me to finish the project. I had the photos in my data files though and when I went to create the third piece I happened across them. This was at a time where I was doing an amazing amount of model building with styrofoam. Its still one of my favorite substances to work with. Here is the original photo I used for the image. 

If you would like to check out a completed project using styrofoam models, take a look at the Abbey at Skye

In conclusion, not only do I have the concept of multiple realities but each piece was created from extremely varied circumstances. In the end this is a great example of what it is to be an experimental artist. You never have time to get bored because every project, whether sculpture, digital art, photography, etc is a journey into the experimental process and plays into each other. This is also what I mean when I called myself an Assimilation Artist. Its mixed media on steroids with a bit of crack cocaine mixed in! 

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