The Dust Devil Portraits
As a surrealist, there is a need within me to translate what I see into a scene where reality and unreality merge. Living in New Orleans has created a complex problem for me over the years. How do I apply surrealism to something that is already naturally surreal? A Mardi Gras parade is already super surreal. The French Quarter at 3 in the morning is about as surreal as you can get. Cemeteries where tombs crumble and bones stick out, is...well disturbing, but surreal.
My belief is that there is always another level of surrealism that can be applied to everything, if I, as the surrealist, are just able to find that level.
The Coronavirus Pandemic, is as surreal as it gets. But within that surrealism is the hard core of reality that makes us catch our breath in panic and our stomach to clench in fear.
Over the past few weeks I've watched, with millions of others, as the situation unfolds. I've been in isolation since February 26th due to a compromised immune system. I've had to rely on social media and news reports to stay attuned to the crisis.
One of the aspects that fascinates me the most are the empty streets and silent cities. Its like looking at the death of the world while still being alive. It doesn't get anymore surreal than that!
But I'm an artist. I have a desperate need to express myself through my work. But how does one express themselves when they are locked away in their home?
So I turned to webcams set up around the world. I started scanning the various cams of empty streets, almost hypnotically shuffling through them.
In my work I've developed endless techniques to take low resolution screen shots and turn them into high resolution art. The challenge is always to turn those images into something new. Something surreal. Something different. Something personal.
There are no people. How do I personalize the art when there are no people to be seen? I must seek out a mechanism that personifies something else in the image.
The idea of a lone dust devil wandering the empty streets was that mechanism. The dust devil becomes a haunted persona that wavers between a swirl of wind and dirt and something more ominous that can consume in its hate.
And with that thought in mind I began the Dust Devil Portraits.
There is nothing else left to say. Its up to the viewer to take over and tell the story of each image and whether the dust devil fades in time to a gentle wind or becomes a tornado that destroys us all.
Grey is the creator of the immortalartist.com Living Blog. He is a Master Surrealist who works with experimental art concepts and techniques. He is a teacher and a mentor who believes that all artists have a duty to teach each other.
You can view Grey's work throughout this blog and you can follow his personal journal of the Coronavirus Pandemic at the following link:
The Immunocompromised Artist - A Creative Journey Through a Pandemic