Alex Grey (born 29 November 1953, as Alex Kenton Velzy), is an American visionary artist, author, teacher, and Vajrayana practitioner. His body of work spans a variety of forms including performance art, process art, installation art, sculpture, visionary art, and painting. Grey is a member of the Integral Institute, is on the board of advisors for the Center for Cognitive Liberty and Ethics, and is the Chair of Wisdom University's Sacred Art Department. He and his wife Allyson Grey are the co-founders of The Chapel of Sacred Mirrors (CoSM), a non-profit church supporting Visionary Culture in Wappingers Falls, New York.
- In a society that tries to standardize thinking, individuality is not highly prized.
- As quoted in Power Verbs for Managers and Executives (2013), p. 217; also in Indie Spiritualist : A No Bullshit Exploration of Spirituality (2014) by Chris Grosso, p. 59
- The Artist is a tiny reflection of the One Creative Spirit that generates and is all realities. God creates the cosmos with love. God is the creator of the unfinished masterpiece, "Time/Space Continuum," which each of us helps co-create. The artist faces the blank canvas and invents new realities, and in a very tiny microcosmic way this reflects the macrocosm. The highest art aligns us with the "Divine Imagination," as Blake called it, and empowers our Soul, catalyzing our path to becoming the greatest person we can be.
- I've noticed various stages of receptivity to my art. The work points to a mystic core of truth at the heart of all wisdom traditions and affirms an integral universal spirituality. If you have ever had a mystical experience you will understand my work immediately, if not it may take awhile. The human species is evolving and waking up to our self-destructive bender called materialism and the 20th century. Human evolution will allow access to dormant visionary physiology that allows us to see clearly, to more easily see when people are lying, and to recognize the common heart of love behind all our dualistic thoughts.
- As quoted in "Interview with Alex Grey" by Michael Robinson (18 June 2014)
High Times interview (2002)Edit
- I worked as a medical illustrator for about ten years. It was not my career ambition; it was a way to finance my addiction to art and support my family. Medical illustration gave me the opportunity to investigate and portray the bodily systems in dramatic ways. Prior to my work as a medical illustrator, I prepared bodies at a medical-school morgue, which provided important training for understanding the fleeting nature of life. It also provided unforgettable studies into the iridescent, fibrous architecture that forms our physical body.
- Around the age of 20, I was doing unusual performance pieces focused on the exploration of polarities. This was a somewhat naive and intuitive venture based on my dreams and visions. I hadn’t yet encountered Taoism or other mystical teachings related to duality and the union of opposites. … One of my more dramatic polarity performances was to journey up to the North Magnetic Pole. After returning from the Pole, having spent all my money, two life-changing events occurred: At a party, I took LSD for the first time. Sitting with my physical eyes closed, my inner eye moved through a beautiful spiral tunnel. The walls of the tunnel seemed like living mother-of-pearl; it felt like a spiritual rebirth canal. I was in the darkness, spiraling toward the light. The curling space going from black to gray to white suggested to me the resolution of all polarities. My artistic rendering of this event was titled "The Polar Unity Spiral." Soon after this, I changed my name to Grey as a way of bringing the opposites together.
The other life-changing event was meeting my wife, Allyson, that same evening. She was the only other person at the party who had taken LSD. We made a profound connection at that time, and have been together ever since. It’s been twenty-five years.
- I was bom on November 29, 1953, which makes me a Sagittarius. I'm no astrologer, but I am interested in its symbols. The Sagittarian is a centaur archer aiming for the stars. You could say this is the sign of a philosophical idealist, someone who aims high. The horse/human hybrid aiming higher unites the animal body, the human mind and the flaming-arrow spirit. Sagittarius is also a fire sign; fire shows up strongly as a motif in my work.
- Art can be a spiritual practice. Not all artists consider this to be true for them, but with the proper motivation and focus, it can be. A spiritual practice is an activity that enables you to develop the qualities of mental clarity, mindfulness of the moment, wisdom, compassion and access to revelations of higher mystic states of awareness. A contemplative method, such as yoga or meditation, will stabilize and assist in the progress of spiritual awareness. An artist’s craft can become a contemplative method, and the creations may provide outward signs of an inner spiritual journey.
- The twentieth-century Surrealists operated in a territory without clear moral order: a dreamship adrift in the ocean of the unconscious. … The visions of the Surrealists help to define a dream realm where any bizarre juxtaposition is possible. A profound truth resides in such strangeness, for these visions can shock us into deepening our acknowledgement and appreciation of the Great Mystery.
- Every artist who’s really into their work disappears into the creative flow. This is akin to some of the concentration-oriented meditations of the various sacred traditions. Images come in all different ways. You can get visions when you’re tripping on drugs, when you’re dreaming or in a hypnogogic state before dropping off to sleep, while listening to music or even waiting for the subway.
- People generally begin to understand my work after they’ve had some experience with the subtle visionary inner-worlds. These altered states can occur in many ways, from meditation to psychedelics to near-death experiences. A fellow in Japan came to my exhibit and showed me a five-inch elliptical scar over his heart where he had been struck nearly dead by lightning. He claimed that he had entered the "universal mind lattice," one of the "sacred mirrors" I’ve painted, during his near-death experience. What these various experiences or altered states have in common is the person who experiences them is profoundly transformed. They now know there are dimensions beyond the physical that are deeply mysterious and equally infinite to the outer worlds.
- A universal spiritual art would be art that any person would recognize as having a spiritual intention. It could speak to the heart and soul of the individual and orient them toward the greater aspect of their own being, their interconnectedness with all life and the cosmos. A universal spiritual art would return the viewer to their own ultimate identity, which lies beyond representation, but can be pointed to when our inspired visions are brilliantly transmitted. The challenge to artists today is to integrate the vast history of art from as many cultures as possible, to reach deep inside themselves for their own personal insights into the transcendental and allow this to coalesce into the most powerful imagery possible.
- The Sacred Mirrors speak to our highest aspirations as a species: universal compassion, respect for all life, a deep appreciation of all cultures and wisdom traditions, awakened consciousness and a full flowering of our human potential. In a "chapel of beauty," they could contribute to the radical raising of awareness we so desperately need if we are to successfully navigate our way to a saner, more loving and life-affirming civilization.
Art Psalms (2008)Edit
- Quotes from poems published in the graphic art and poetry compendium. Though textually the same, there are sometimes marked differences in the breaks of how some of these poems are presented on his websites, and their earlier forms within this book.
- We seek through art
To recover our center,
To remember our soul's task,
To stop sleepwalking in confusion,
To stop managing our depression,
To harness the passion of inexhaustible love,
To find the One Godself
Hidden throughout creation,
Art is the scab healing the wound
Of the separate self-illusion.
- Creators aligned with Divine Will
Make the soul perceptible.
Artist priests with minimal dogma
Transfix, transform, and evolve
The chaotic melding of cultures,
Through the dross of ego
To superconsciousness fusion
With the Nature-field.
- Our current artistic dilemma is to wake up
To the truth that we are the One Godself,
Creating the Universe — Every day.
- 1. GOD CREATES THE COSMOS WITH LOVE.
2. WHEN WE CREATE WITH LOVE WE ALIGN OURSELVES WITH THE GOD FORCE.
3. THE COSMOS AND OUR WORLD IS GOD’S EVOLVING CREATION, AN UNFINISHED MASTERPIECE WE EACH CO-CREATE.
- 7. CREATING SACRED SPACE MIRRORS GOD’S CREATION.
8. OUR CHALLENGE AS CO-CREATORS IS TO MIRROR GOD’S LOVE AND BEAUTY IN ALL OUR CREATIONS.
- 22. BECOME A WORTHY CONDUIT OF GOD’S LOVE AND CREATIVE POWER OF REALIZATION.
23. LIKE A LIGHTNING FLASH, WHEN CONDITIONS ARE PRESENT, THE LIGHT SUDDENLY FILLS US, ILLUMINATING THE WORLD FOR AN INSTANT.
- 36. HUMANITY MUST BE AWAKENED, AND CREATIVE SPIRITUALITY HAS A VITAL AND HEALING ROLE IN THE ARCHETYPE OF AN UNDOGMATIC AND LOVINGLY ECSTATIC RELIGION. ALL ARE CALLED TO SEE THEIR OWN DIVINE BEAUTY AND UNFINISHED MASTERPIECE STATUS.
37. BUILDING SACRED SPACE TOGETHER IS A TASK BEYOND OUR INDIVIDUALITY TO WHICH WE CAN DEDICATE OURSELVES AND PROVE THE POSSIBILITY OF PEOPLE GETTING ALONG AND MAKING SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL TOGETHER.
38. THE DAWN OF PLANETARY CONSCIOUSNESS IS UP TO EACH OF US AS ARTISTS OF INNER LIGHT.
- 40. ALL CREATURES ARE HOLY AND EACH ARE GOD’S CHILDREN. REVERE AND PROTECT THEM AND THEIR HOME.
- 42. PRESERVATION AND RENEWAL OF WHAT REMAINS OF THE LIFEWEB IS STILL A POSSIBILITY.
43. SCIENCE AND SPIRIT MUST COMBINE FORCES THROUGHOUT ART, BRIDGING KNOWLEDGE WITH WISDOM, ENTERING HISTORY THROUGH CREATIVE ACTION.
44. FORGIVENESS OF HUMANITY BY THE WEB OF LIFE WILL BEGIN WHEN RITUALS OF CONFESSION OF WRONGDOING ARE ENACTED WORLDWIDE AND PRAYERS FOR HEALING THE LIFEWEB ARE COLLECTIVELY ENGAGED.
45. WHETHER OR NOT THE NEW ALLIANCE OF COLLECTIVE INTELLIGENCES CAN SAVE THE UNFINISHED MASTERPIECE OF LIFE ON EARTH IS UNKNOWN; HOWEVER, THE PLAN IS UNDER WAY.
Seven Statements on Mystic ArtEdit
- Mystic Art is spirit expressed into matter. A mystic artist
receives and transmits revelation, providing their art as a medium
for messages from the divine matrix of Creation.
- Mystic Art affirms the holy mystery and the ideals of truth,
goodness and beauty. No other artistic ideal can fulfill the longing
soul like the creation and appreciation of relevant sacred art.
- Universal Creativity,
Flow through me,
From my heart
Through my mind to my hand,
Infuse my work with spirit
To feed hungry souls.
Bitch Goddess BeautyEdit
- Embryonic artworks grow
In the womb heart of the artists,
Until the fever of making seizes their limbs,
And they deliver their art through labors of love.
Bless Your EyesEdit
- Bathe your eyes in images Divine,
All Heaven unfolds, the opposites combine.
Your eyes become temple domes for the Pleides
Crystalline mandalas inhabited by Deities.
Blessing every moment you see
As glimpses of eternity.
Let Love Draw the LineEdit
- Drawing the line,
The Boundary line
Between this form and that
Is what the mind does.
- Our minds are artists,
always drawing lines.
Making decisions, differentiating
One thing from another,
Calling it something.
This is the way we know.
This is how we think.
by drawing the line.
- We separate.
We add colors.
We make it beautiful.
We make it ugly.
- Behold, Just Behold.
To speechlessly and artlessly
Behold the Infinite One,
The inseparable ground
from whence all forms are drawn,
Dissolves the tyranny of separation,
The war of opposites,
Caused by drawing lines.
- All Beings and Things are radiances interweaving,
Seamlessly welded to the boundless ground.
- Between our fear of failure
And our ultimate potential
We are called to action,
A line must be drawn.
Commit to Realization
Stay centered in the Uncreated
Source of Creation,
Leave the critics behind.
Let Love draw the line.
The Vast ExpanseEdit
- I acknowledge the privilege of being alive
In a human body at this moment,
Endowed with senses, memories, emotions, thoughts,
And the space of mind in its wisdom aspect.
- It is the prayer of my innermost being
To realize my supreme identity
In the liberated play of consciousness,
The Vast Expanse.
Now is the moment,
Here is the place of Liberation.
- The infinite vibratory levels,
The dimensions of interconnectedness
Are without end.
There is nothing independent.
All beings and things are residents
in your awareness.
- I subject my awareness to the perfection of being,
The perfection of wisdom and perfection of love,
All of these being co-present in the Vast Expanse.
I share this panorama of Being
And appreciate all I can share it with…
The seamless interweaving of consciousness
With each moment
Create perfection wherever you go
With your awareness.
- Life is infinite creative play.
Enjoyment and participation in this creative play
Is the artists profound joy.
We co-author every moment
With universal creativity.
- Love is what makes us alive,
That is why we feel so alive when we love.
Service is being available to love.
Life is the combustion of love.
That we love ourselves here,
That is the true magnificence
In the mountains of being.
- We are constantly drawing the line between
love and not love —
Enter into the Non-duality Zone.
All judgements dissolve in the Vast Expanse.
- Like an eruption of consciousness,
We discover the source of love.
Experience yourself as the Source
And appreciate every moment as perfection.
Thank you, Thank you, Creator;
Profound unstoppable connectedness of all beings,
Pattern to everything, most radical no-thing,
The Vast Expanse.
- This poem does not appear in the original book publication, but is presented among other Art Psalms at Alex Grey's official site. · Full text online
- You can never be lost.
When have you ever been apart from me?
Quotes about GreyEdit
- Alex Grey is one of the mast widely recognized psychedelic artists of our time. His paintings — they’ve graced Nirvana's In Utero and the Beastie Boys' Ill Communication albums, as well as the covers of High Times — peel back reality, showing the human body in ways both spiritual and startling. To see his work is to get a crash course in human anatomy, higher consciousness and magic.
- Thomas Lyttle, in "Interview With Alex Grey" High Times (June 2002)