For decades, artists Alex and Allyson Grey have been long-standing members and supporters of the cannabis community.
The Greys met in Boston while studying at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in the mid ‘70s. Since then, the duos unwavering support for the cannabis industry and contributions as both artists and orators can be felt on an international level.
The two opened an interfaith art church called Chapel of Sacred Mirrors in the 2000s, which aims to build a community and further the spiritual practice of art.
Alex Grey’s art aligns with Buddhist’s aspirations in that it’s “possible for art to plant a seed of liberation in the mind-stream of the viewer,” he said. “I want my art to help people reimagine God.” He believes that “art is the skin of the soul.”
He also said Allyson Grey’s said her art is a meditation and a “communication worthy of portrayal,” which can be given one of three categories: chaos, “the realm of matter in which all is inevitable entropy;” order, “the realm of spirit in which all is interconnected, eternal and made of light;” or the secret language, “the symbolic language of all creative expression,” she said. .”
Recently, Alex Grey took some time to join DOPE Magazine for a glimpse into their world:
DOPE Magazine Q: What inspires you to go to these events, like the Cannabis Cup, and speak to a crowd? Why do you find it important?
A: Attending cannabis celebrations, festivals and live-painting events, we speak to the community about humanity’s ancient historic relationship with mind-expanding plant teachers. … Traveling, speaking and sharing our truth about expanded awareness and higher consciousness harnessed to the creative path is our ministry.
Q: How do you think the plant influences your work?
A: Cannabis assists creatively by easing us into a flow state. Cannabis alleviates interference from distracting superfluous thoughts by heightening connection with the soul, driving forward the creative process.
Q: Do you think that as a society, the world would be better off if we legalized the plant?
A: Yes. All places on earth should legalize cannabis, at least for mature adults. Our earth would soon become a more peaceful place. Release our brothers and sisters, incarcerated for producing or distributing the sacrament. Stop demonizing people for thinking differently and uphold cognitive liberty for all.
Q: You attend many festivals, including Burning Man. What has been your favorite festival worldwide and why?
A: Burning Man is unique among festivals. This past summer was our fifth Burn and it was extraordinary. What makes Burning Man special is the location, a 9-mile circle of gypsum, an ancient dried ocean bed. The ground is like a flat crust with no plants or insects, a perfect outdoor gallery for monumental interactive sculpture and architecture. The other unique feature is Burning Man’s gift economy for 50,000 plus people—no sales, no tribal market, no wallet needed. Only the Burning Man organization takes an admission that is plowed into funding the giant artworks, plus the formidable Burning Man infrastructure required to exist in such a harsh environment. The Burning Man organization recently purchased land for future festivals and will undoubtedly invest in the infrastructure required for activities and living year-round. Burning Man will become an evolving permanent community. On a micro-scale, that is the plan of CoSM, a mini -retreat center and festival grounds for the global Love Tribe and a growing community that is beginning to surround the temple grounds in creation here.
Q: Do you think that the cannabis industry is heading in the right direction? Do you have any suggestions?
A: Decriminalization and research is the most important thing to make a safe world where safe things can happen. People should not be afraid to do what they know harms no one and rather, improves lives. Cannabis is over-regulated. There are too many laws to control cannabis. It should be allowed to develop in whatever way the market will allow. Punishing people for using a substance for which ostensibly no harm can be discovered is unconscionable. The tide is turning, but slowly.
Q: How is the community at Chapel of Sacred Mirror going? And how do you suggest that everyday people gain more spirituality in their lives?
A: CoSM has become a pilgrimage site for our global community. Here, we hold monthly and quarterly celestial celebrations, honoring all full moons, equinoxes and solstices. Just 65 miles from New York City, CoSM is a tranquil and radically welcome setting for Love Tribers coming from near and far. The exhibition at Entheon, expected to open fall/winter 2017, will be the first temple of Visionary Art at CoSM, and will share precious original art of the best loved contemporary visionary artists.
At CoSM, art is a spiritual path. Creativity is a cosmic force, alive in each of our hands. We recommend making creativity an important part of your life and accepting your expressions as spiritual gifts to the world. Then, take your life as an artist, a musician, a dancer, writer, chef, gardener… more seriously as you practice regularly. Come to CoSM and join us for Art Church one Sunday afternoon a month where we take a journey together with art and music. Develop a creative path and value it as your spiritual life. Then join others of like mind.
We see the festival and sacramental communities from around the world being some of the first signs of a true planetary culture, transcending nation-states and celebrating the creative spirit together. We believe art can be your religion. Like Love, Art ties together all the great sacred traditions because they all used creative expression or we wouldn’t know about them. It’s time to seek and reveal the underlying mystic unity of spiritual paths. The most depressing thing about religions are judgmental fundamentalist dogmas that can’t ever be proven but nevertheless lead people to justify hurting themselves or others. Dogma divides, Spirit unites. Artists can’t stand dogma. It stops creativity. So if your religion was art, Art in service of love, it couldn’t be dogmatic, except to continue to see how it could be made better to serve the spiritual evolution of the soul.
For more information on Chapel of Sacred Mirrors, visit cosm.org.
Also published on Medium.