With the publication of Sacred Mirrors: The Visionary Art of Alex Grey in 1990, the psychedelic community soon discovered that the art contained within its pages resonated to many like miraculous snap shots of the psychedelic realm, faithfully rendered vistas brought back with great skill from the far shores of the visionary experience.
My art has always been in response to visions. Rather than confine myself to representations of the outer worlds, I include portrayals of multi-dimensional imaginal realms that pull us towards consciousness evolution.
– Alex Grey
The use of Alex Grey’s artwork on the album covers and stage shows of bands like Tool and The Beastie Boys greatly increased his general popularity with youth culture, while the inclusion of his artwork in the actual Burning Man structure in 2006 essentially anointed his chosen status as this generation’s most important psychedelic artist.
In the earliest body of work that has established Alex Grey’s special place in psychedelic history, his art manages to blend the physical realms of the human body—a feat in itself only achieved by many years of training in medical drawings—with the psychic energy fields and auras of the mystics and quantum physicists, the knowledge of which has come to the artist from years of meditation, study, and contemplation.
Human figures are stripped of their covering (“the skin encapsulated Ego”) to reveal a complex multi-colored system of organs, bones, veins, and arteries that can be seen to be generating rainbow fields and crackles of pure white energy that penetrate the vacuum in every direction, an effect that could seem ghoulish were it not for the presence of the subjects eyes, which gaze out at the viewer with an often astonishing humanity and are revealed as the true ‘windows of the soul’.
Alex Grey has said that after the unexpected death of Terence McKenna, he felt that he (and others) had felt the call to ‘step up and speak out about psychedelics’ to try and occupy the void in psychedelic culture that Terence’s early departure created. And one of the reasons that Alex Grey has become the most popular speaker on psychedelics since Terence McKenna—and perhaps the thing that separates him from other visionary artists—is the fact that there is a serious philosophy behind Alex’s work, and that he himself has been (and continues to be) one of the great students of psychedelic history.
> The Second Psychedelic Revolution: Alex Grey, The Mystic-Artist | Reality Sandwich