In the June, 2002 edition of High Times, Thomas Lyttle interviews iconic visionary artist Alex Grey, who was born on this day in 1953.
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. While the book Sacred Mirrors, an ’80s collection of Grey’s art, continues to be an international bestseller, he recently celebrated the release of his most recent book, Transfigurations (Inner Traditions), which showcases his work from the ’90s to the present. Grey took a break in his Brooklyn, NY apartment for this interview. By Thomas Lyttle
HIGH TIMES: Tell me about your childhood. What led you to art?
Alex Grey: Most every child that’s given the chance enjoys making pictures. My father was a graphic designer and artist. He encouraged my early drawing and guided my development until I became a rebellious teenager. He was probably my most important teacher. I can still remember the thrill I had while watching him draw. Now I get that same rush from doing it myself. The difference between me and most kids is that I just kept at it.
A few years ago, my mother gave me a box of drawings and school materials that she had kept from my childhood. In it I found some surprising items. One was a fairly detailed drawing of a skeleton from when I was five years old. This amazed me because anatomy plays an important role in my art, namely the subject of identity, mortality …
Author: High Times / High Times