First published: Summer 2013
Alex Grey was born in Columbus, Ohio on November 29, 1953, the middle child of a gentle middle-class couple. His father was a graphic designer and encouraged his son’s drawing ability. Young Alex would collect insects and dead animals from the suburban neighbourhood and bury them in the backyard. The themes of death and transcendence weave throughout his artworks, from the earliest drawings to later performances, paintings and sculpture.
He went to the Columbus College of Art and Design for two years (1971–73), then dropped out and painted billboards in Ohio for a year (1973–74). Grey then attended the Boston Museum School for one year, to study with the conceptual artist Jay Jaroslav. It was here that he met his wife, Allyson Rymland Grey.
Alex then spent five years at Harvard Medical School working in the anatomy department, studying the body and preparing cadavers for dissection. He also worked at Harvard’s Department of Mind/Body Medicine, conducting scientific experiments to investigate subtle healing energies.
Grey was an instructor in Artistic Anatomy and Figure Sculpture for ten years at New York University, and now teaches courses in Visionary Art with Allyson at The Open Center in New York City, Naropa Institute in Boulder, Colorado, the California Institute of Integral Studies, and the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York.
Grey’s paintings have been featured in venues as diverse as the album art of Tool, SCI, Beastie Boys and Nirvana, in Newsweek magazine, on the Discovery Channel, and on rave flyers and sheets of blotter acid. His work has been exhibited worldwide, including at Feature Inc., Tibet House, Stux Gallery, P.S.1, the Outsider Art Fair and the New Museum in New York, the Grand Palais in Paris, and the Sao Paulo Biennial in Brazil. Grey has been a keynote speaker at conferences all over the world including Tokyo, Amsterdam, Basel, Barcelona and Manaus. The international psychedelic community has embraced Grey as an important mapmaker and spokesman for the visionary realm. (1)
1. Adapted from www.alexgrey.com/biography.html
This is an article extract; read the full article in Raw Vision #79