GETTING VISIONARY

An Interview with Artists Alex Grey & Allyson Grey


In this Banyen interview, visionary artists Alex Grey & Allyson Grey discuss the polarities of dark & light, CoSM, sources of inspiration, and the mission of visionary art.  
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Banyen: As partners in life and art, how do you collaborate, inspire, and inform each other's creations?

Alex Grey & Allyson Grey: Since 1975, we have shared a studio and watched each other working independently every day on our art. Consulting with each other daily on our progress and conceptual and aesthetic choices, we have developed an ability to see through each other’s eyes through our own aesthetic, and sometimes lend a compelling view to the artwork of the other. Alex identified Secret Writing in Allyson’s work and encouraged featuring it. Allyson suggested the Sacred Mirrors series and named it. Together we share a third mind that is more effective and intelligent than either of us individually. This woven vision emerges as a Being of greater perception, a guardian angel that bridges the two of us, guiding us into the visionary worlds of inspiration. This angelic fusion reflects our devotion to God through our devotion to each other, and helps us in our artistic and life choices. We co-founded CoSM, Chapel of Sacred Mirrors, and continue to co-create this sacred pilgrimage site with a global community.

Banyen: Your paintings are divergent, yet both bodies of work address the subject of light. What do you see as the visionary artist’s role, and what do you seek to communicate about life in relation to the polarities of dark and light?

Alex Grey & Allyson Grey: The artist is a lens for the Soul. Artworks are the views seen through that lens. The artist’s subject dictates where the lens will be focused. Light is the core subject in our work. We are painters of transcendental light. Allyson's paintings are abstract, expressing a world view of essentialized consciousness through spectral light and Secret Writing. Alex’s art is figurative, portraying states of consciousness throughout the Hero’s Journey.
 
The responsibility of the artist is to be true to their own Soul. The mission of art is to make the soul perceptible. Polarities infuse our art and life light & dark, chaos & order, bright color & grey monochrome, man & woman, old & young, life & death. Polarities reflect the paradox of our mortal existence in relation to our timeless spirit. Spiritually inspired art is infused with devotional Love energy, transferring to the viewer a sense of the sacred that makes life worth living.

Banyen: How do you experience the visions that depict in your art? In what form do they come to you?

Alex Grey & Allyson Grey
: Visions may come as full-blown, ultra-technicolor, mystical experiences, altering your understanding of who you are. Your divine imagination is the Eye through which you see God.
 
Visions can flow by like a river and when you’re ready – one vision can be plucked from the continuously moving current.
 
Some visions unfold and percolate slowly over time, a hint of a form in a sketchbook, a whisper about a pattern, then "click” the design emerges at the perfect time.
 
In Art Church and in our workshops, vision practices invite artists to form a mental picture of archetypes or contemplate conceptually based questions, asking Divine Imagination for an image of creative spirit, a portal to theophany, an appearance of divinity. Feelings that accompany visions of a higher dimension can be symbolically represented in art, revealing the inner truth and world view of a single consciousness.

Banyen: Contemporary Art World skeptics are not always receptive to artistic expressions of Universal Mystic truths. How do your works fit into that world and by what traditions and art lineages do you feel inspired and rooted?

Alex Grey & Allyson Grey: The Visionary Art movement of today aligns with the oldest ongoing inspiration for making art, artifacts or architecture: images emergent from Higher Vision. No doubt, a Neanderthal ate mushrooms in some meadow and returned to the cave as a painter. Primitive Hominids danced, played percussion, sang… These are our roots. Art, artifact and architecture, often with spiritual roots, are all we have left of any culture of the past. The highest aspiration of an artist might be to send a message in a bottle to the future to report on a world where there were people filled with love and light.

Living in New York since 1984, we have had gallery representation and exhibited in museums and galleries around the world. We’ve been reviewed in contemporary art magazines, profiled in the New York Times & Washington Post… Our work has had a relationship with the “legitimate” art world. Art can serve others as more than commodity. We plan to share some of our best work with an ongoing world-wide collective of appreciators. We sell more than some artists and less than others.

Banyen: The Chapel of Sacred Mirrors (CoSM) is a project to which you have devoted many years. What is CoSM and what is its mission?

Alex Grey & Allyson Grey: The mission of 

CoSM is to build an enduring sanctuary of visionary art 
to evolve the creative spirit and uplift a global community.

CoSM is a radically welcoming interfaith art church, a context for a community that honors and practices art as a spiritual path. To further the spiritual practice of art, CoSM offers workshops and cultural programs.

At CoSM, we celebrate commitments of love and passages of consecration including weddings, baby blessings and memorials. Grey House is filled with art and altars. The Wisdom Trail through the woods features natural beauty, altars, a labyrinth, a reflecting pond, murals, and sculptural installations. Overnight stays can be reserved in Grey House, CoSM’s ten bedroom guest house, 365 nights of the year. Day-visitors are welcome Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday. CoSM offers an inspiring destination for souls seeking to align with creative source, co-create a mighty force field of compassion, and manifest sacred space together.
 

Banyen: What happens at CoSM?

On January 16th, 2003, Full Moon Ceremonies began in our Brooklyn loft, calling together like-minded visionaries to pray for a temple of Visionary Art.

Now, one Sunday afternoon each month, Art Church, features a musical meditation of art making as a spiritual practice. This is followed by a thematic illustrated talk on subjects related to mystical creativity such as Nature Mysticism, Portraying the Self, Core Values, Intention Setting, Relationships and more.
 
At Celestial Celebrations, the Equinoxes and Solstices, we align with the seasonal energies and the phase shifts of the soul. Participants can expect ecstatic music, dance, and art at these late-night, multi-media, interactive ceremonies.

Mystic Artists Guild International (MAGI) is the educational nexus of CoSM, offering a curricula infused with creative expression as spiritual practice. The purpose of MAGI is to identify and train skilled artists of every discipline, wise gift-bearers, to form a higher social organism of inspired minds capable of building sacred space for a global community.

Now under construction, targeted to open December 2017, is Entheon, CoSM’s sanctuary of Visionary Art, where visitors will experience an exhibition of mystic art inside a sculptural building. The All-One Gallery at Entheon will feature an annually rotating exhibit of original paintings, sculpture, and muti-media by the finest artists of the International Visionary Art movement. A Gallery of Allyson’s paintings and works on paper will detail her journey as an artist. Designed by Alex, Entheon will display many of his best-loved works including the Sacred Mirrors.
 
We invite the world of visionaries to become part of the Entheon project, a way to honour the mystical experience through enshrining artifacts inspired by the higher worlds. We invite your donation or consider getting an Entheon admission coin and use it to visit later this year! Visit
buildentheon.com and cosm.org.

Banyen: Thank you for taking the time to do this interview with us, and for all the extraordinary artwork and projects you are bringing to the world!

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Alex Grey and Allyson Grey are internationally-renowned visionary artists and co-founders of  the Chapel of Sacred Mirrors (CoSM). They live in New York.

Interview © April 1, 2017 Banyen Books & Sound