Check out my Exclusive Interview With Alex Grey - Part 1 if you missed the first installment. In this second installment, we learn about music festivals, his next big adventures and much, much more!
Morena: Music festivals are now as much about visionary art as they are about music. I am sure you have many, but what is one of your most memorable festival experiences?
Alex: A sense of worldwide-family leads Allyson and I to consider the festivals as celebrations of the global love tribe at the dawn of a planetary civilization. Creativity is at the spiritual center. As Toynbee said, "every civilization needs a spiritual center, and in this day and age no one world religion, from among the existing great world religions, can unite the world." However, creative expression in service to the divine unites all world religions, and everyone in the human family. Festival culture is all about evolving consciousness and generating a sense of unity, hope and possibility. The visionary art movement, including many outstanding young painters and digital artists, are spiraling upward successfully in this new genre, and offer sacred art that expresses a message of love, healing, enlightenment and eco-consciousness. Symbiosis, LIB, Boom, Ozora and many other festivals plant seeds of divine possibility in the mind-streams of visitors. Intelligent festival organizers promote green consciousness and global cooperation.
Burning Man is a crowning achievement of freedom in festival culture. Our first of four experiences at Burning Man began in 2004 with our daughter, age 14. In 2006, we joined the Visionary Artists Tribe and co-created Entheon Village along with MAPS, and eco-genius, Matt Attwood. CoSM (Chapel of Sacred Mirrors) with the help of people living thousands of miles from our home/office in New York, created with us a 60-foot dome offering 24-hour live-painting and DJ chill space for Burning Man week. Included in CoSM's chill dome were movies and figure drawing with live models and electronic music.
Twice at the annual Tribe Festival in Brazil, a stage was created for our 32-foot mural, "Star Dancers," where we painted a 20 hour-marathon before 25,000 friends in attendance. Later, at Burning Man in 2012, Area 51 and Fractal Nation camps hosted the "Star Dancers" mural where we marathon painted for the week along with talks on Psychedelic Family Values and Psychedelic Family Business. The mural, resurrected last year in Williamsburgh, Brooklyn by Vice Magazine and Magic Hat Brewery, is still in progress. The mural will continue at outdoor summer events at CoSM.
Morena: If you could hang out with any influential artist, writer, or musician, dead or alive, who would you choose and what would you talk about?
Alex: Allyson and I, having shared a studio for 40 years, love to hang out most with each other. We'd love to converse about Visionary Art, with one of our favorite historic couples, William and Catherine Blake who reportedly enjoyed cavorting naked in their private garden. Wouldn't it also be extraordinary to visit with great mystic visionary artist 100 years from now.
Morena: I adore William Blake! As sailors of the mind and soul, you and Allyson have traveled many dimensions. What is your next big adventure?
Alex: CoSM will soon host one of our best-attended annual events, the Vernal Equinox Celebration on Saturday, March 21st. Next, we are off to Chicago on April 11 to paint onstage at the Concord Music Hall with the fabulous, Papadosio. On April 18-19, Allyson and I will paint on stage to honor Bicycle Day, celebrating the first LSD trip by chemist, Dr. Albert Hofmann. The good doctor's mystical bicycle ride home from the lab has become the context for a holiday we have celebrated on five consecutive years in San Francisco. This year, bigger than ever, the festivities take place at the Warfield joined by the awesome music and stage show of Beats Antique. Following Bicycle Day, Allyson and I scoot to Denver, Colorado, Saturday, May 16, to paint onstage at Red Rocks with Tipper and the mind-expanding light projections of Johnathan Singer, accompanied by the coolest visionary artists alive today. Look for Android Jones and Amanda Sage.
CoSM stands for Chapel of Sacred Mirrors. The Sacred Mirrors, inspired and named by Allyson Grey, are a series of 21 paintings I made that map the body, mind and spirit of an individual. In 1985, Allyson and I took our first dose of MDMA. A simultaneous vision showed us the Chapel of Sacred Mirrors, a transformative art environment for the Sacred Mirrors, that would assist viewers in seeing themselves and the world as a reflection of the divine. In 1995, CoSM, Chapel of Sacred Mirrors became a non-profit organization co-founded by Allyson and I. CoSM's mission has always been to build an enduring temple to inspire a global community. Holding monthly Full Moon Ceremonies and celestial events, we have prayed with a growing community of supporters who share this vision. Committed spiritual friends are coalescing and joining us in the quest to build a unique contemporary sacred environment to access the God within. All over the world, the many friends we meet at festivals and events have heard about the Chapel of Sacred Mirrors and they help us.
Our favorite events are always at CoSM. Full Moon Ceremonies and Celestial Celebrations are mini-festivals that include wisdom, art, ecstatic dance and music, fire circle and fire spinning, group art projects, food and more in the graciously restored Visionary Victorian house and throughout the grounds. Electronic musicians have held unforgettable concerts here, including Tipper, Gaudi, Ken Jordan, David Starfire, Andrelien and many others.
The greatest adventure of our lives is building Entheon, CoSM's Sanctuary of Visionary Art. Entheon means a place to discover the God within. The building exterior will be ornately sculpted with twenty-foot interconnected faces bearing symbols of humanity's wisdom traditions that represent God's infinite Oneness. Entering through the Narthex Gallery, visitors will first encounter the annual rotating exhibition of the worldwide visionary art movement. Entheon, three-story high, now under construction, will exhibit the Sacred Mirrors, the CoSM collection of paintings, sculpture and valued psychedelic relics. Albert Hofmann's glasses were gifted to CoSM by the Hofmann family. These are the lens through which the good doctor saw reality transform on the world's first LSD trip. To complete Entheon with its ornamental sculptural exterior, we must raise $1.5M. It will be a building like none other. Everyone is invited to contribute and be part of this historic offering, a legacy of the visionary mystical realms. The inevitable consequence of love is the building of temples.
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