Alex Grey has been for a long time, one of great pioneers into the world of contemporary visionary arts. It's with great privilege and honour that I can share Alex's words, with which, he has perfectly captured the essence of what we aim to do as visionary artists.
What is Visionary Art?
The artist’s mission is to make the soul perceptible. Our scientific, materialist culture trains us to develop the eyes of outer perception. Visionary art encourages the development of our inner sight. To find the visionary realm, we use the intuitive inner eye: The eye of contemplation; the eye of the soul. All the inspiring ideas we have as artists originate here.
The visionary realm embraces the entire spectrum of imaginal spaces: from heaven to hell, from the infinitude of forms to formless voids. The psychologist James Hillman calls it the imaginal realm. Poet William Blake called it the divine imagination. The aborigines call it the dreamtime; and Sufis call it alam al-mithal. To Plato, this was the realm of the ideal archetypes. The Tibetans call it the sambhogakaya: the dimension of inner richness. Theosophists refer to the astral, mental, and nirvanic planes of consciousness. Carl Jung knew this realm as the collective symbolic unconscious. Whatever we choose to call it, the visionary realm is the space we visit during dreams and altered or heightened states of consciousness.
Every sacred art tradition begins with the visionary. “Divine canons of proportion”, mystic syllables, and sacred writing were all realized when the early wisdom masters and artists received the original archetypes through visionary contact with the divine ground. After a sacred archetype has been given form as a work of art, it can act as a focal point of devotional energy. The artwork becomes a way for viewers to access or worship the associated transcendental domain. In sacred art, from calligraphy to icons, the work itself is a medium: a point of contact between the spiritual and material realms.
The Role of Art
Our inner world, the life of our imagination with its intense feelings, fears, and loves, guides our intentions and actions in the world. Our inner world is the only true source of meaning and purpose we have. Art is the song of this inner life. Art’s key role in the human drama is that of a “great convincer.” The artist posits one myth, religion, or ideology over another, yet also always expresses the raw passion and evolutionary force of the inner world itself.
The artist attempts to make inner truths visible, audible, or sensible in some way, by manifesting them in the external, material world (through drawing, painting, song, etc.). To produce their finest works, artists lose themselves in the flow of creation from their inner worlds. The visionary artist creatively expresses her or his personal glimpses of the Divine Imagination.
Every work of art embodies the vision of its creator and simultaneously reveals a facet of the collective mind. Art history shows each successive wave of vision flowing through the world’s artists. Artists offer the world the pain and beauty of their souls as a gift to open the eyes of the collective and heal it. Our exposure to technological innovations and diverse forms of sacred art gives artists at the dawn of the twenty-first century a unique opportunity to create more integrative and universal spiritual art than ever before.
~ Alex Grey, CoSM.