Guest Essay : Alex Graham On Art As A Vehicle For Reality Creation

Long-time readers of this site will know that Alex Graham is an artist whose work I’ve always been proud not just to review, but to active champion. The auteur responsible for Cosmic BE-ING is consistently one of the most fascinating voices in the medium, and is an accomplished painter, to boot. I’m therefore very pleased to present her essay on “Art As A Vehicle For Reality Creation,” which offers tremendous insight not only on her process, but the overall aims of her entire artistic project. Take it away, Alex!

Art as a Vehicle for Reality Creation – 15 Years of Painting

Channeled by Alex Graham, written September 11 2019.


“Immolation,” October 2015

 I could have titled this essay sensationally –as, “Art & Witchcraft.” And the meat of the message would remain unchanged.

 In these rigid times, playful thinking is discouraged in theory discourse– and if it were to emerge, the fun of it is choked out by citations — citations of ideas that already exist, filtered through generations of scrutiny to the point of sterility. That is why this essay is unprocessed — not filtered through the conceited lens of human judgment — derived only from the mind of the author, acting momentarily as an antenna for the Divine Life Force. An unpopular style of theorizing about the human experience that some may find incorrect, & some may find dangerous, but to which practiced artists will undoubtedly relate, and which curious onlookers might find amusing and enlightening.


Alex Graham, age 22, with “Automobuito,” 2010.

 For the purpose of this essay I will be referencing my own experiences in the art of painting, as I have been fully immersed in the art form for 15 years, though these theories apply to all acts of creativity.


Reality Projection – Conscious and Unconscious

 The body emits waves of electricity, commonly known as vibrations. These vibrations have a direct effect on your immediate environment, but also continue out into space until they reach the end of the galaxy. As such, they contribute to a constant, ever-changing magnetic force that moves in a firelike pattern around the planet Earth.

 Zooming back in on the Individual, these vibrations can carry a conscious, or an unconscious force of will, that can move destructively outward (as destruction is a creative force). As these vibrations have an effect on the material world, they can summon situations, events, objects, and other beings. This is referred to as magnetism.


Stone People

 One must be aware of this life force before they are able to acknowledge it, communicate with it, or have any awareness of its effect on the course of one’s life.

 Many walk among us who, for one reason or another, refuse to acknowledge the intrinsic life force within and without each living being, and its effect on their life.

 These types of beings may act in learned patterns, have a difficult time deviating from a set path or tradition, behave without conscience, have expressionless faces and speak in monotone, try to exert control other peoples’ lives, and make calculated mathematical choices devoid of artistry or imagination. They may be whipped around by circumstance and easily manipulated by those who can harness the life source with selfish intentions

 These ‘Stone People’ are no less capable of connecting to this divine lifesource, but their inability to acknowledge it leaves them more vulnerable to its chaotic whims.

 Yes, the life force is chaotic, and cannot be contained. It is not an instrument for the individual to use — rather, it will ‘play’ the Individual as an instrument — a collaboration flesh and spirit.

 Effective art is the kind that reaches out and continues to ‘play’ the emotions of the viewer, as an instrument of sensations and emotions.


The Value of Art, by a Different Measure

 When one learns to acknowledge this life force, they can practice and measure oneself as an antenna, with radio reception that waxes and wanes depending on a variety of factors presented by the physical form. In my experience, the ability to connect to this life force depends on my level of health and deep connection to the molecular aspects of my “animal vehicle” or “body”. It also depends, strangely enough, on ‘endearing myself’ to this life force, with quiet acts of artistry, kindness, good will, and strength. The experiences of falling in love, connecting strongly with a piece of artwork, or connecting strongly with another being also create an immediate, strong magnetic pull connected with this divine lifesource.

 When I am at the height of connection to this life force, combined with the intention of my presence of mind, I find that I can turn my ego completely off, and my body becomes an instrument through which the divine life force will ‘play’. “I” – my “id” – walks to the back of my brain and takes a seat, as an observer. And the divine life force becomes the driver of my animal vehicle.

 In this state, my lines are effortless, and image concepts are plucked down from the collective conscience (ever seen multiple artists conceive similar themes at the same time? Sometimes mistaken for plagiarism, these artists were all connected to the Divine Life Source at the same moment in time.) Oftentimes, at the height of this state, I will finish one or several paintings at a time, sometimes in one session.

 When I am in a low vibrational state, attempting to create can feel like drudgery — because I am relying almost completely on my mortal vehicle to complete tasks that are measured against acts of divinity.

 Even a layman unaware of the metaphysical aspects of art will unconsciously feel the emptiness and meaninglessness and superficiality in a piece of artwork derived purely from flesh and bone, and filtered through the lens of the ego, until it is sterilized of all life.

 The value of art can be measured by the volume of spirit that exists within its elements, and whether or not it is ‘alive’. But, who can know? And how is it measured? In this way the value of art remains subjective.


Living Art
“The Opening Act,” 2019

 Why do we cry when great artifacts are destroyed? When an artwork is heavily affected by the ‘hand’ of the Divine Life Force, like all other living things it is ‘born’ into the material world and deposited into a vehicle, in the same way that other beings are ‘born’. Like all other living things it contains a singular self, and emits an energy. Great artworks can emit vibrations and magnetism, just like other living beings.

 Like the humble Human Being, this invisible life force simply wants to be acknowledged.


Reality Creation Through Art

 After many years of practice and experience, an artist will begin to see the patterns of this life force emerging in their work — but also in serendipitous life events. For example, if one is channeling the grand life force of the universe into a painting of togetherness, a situation may arise in which the message of the painting is subsequently ‘lived’ by the artist.

 On December 22nd, 2015, I committed my second-to-last work of art of the year – a spontaneous live portrait (marker on paper) of my friend, A. — a regular at the Jazz bar where I was a waitress. I walked up to him, asked if I could draw his portrait, and he posed for me at the bar. (Unfortunately I did not photograph this portrait.)

 Days after that, on December 29th, 2015, I painted a live portrait of my cat, Leche, who kindly, lovingly and intentionally posed for me for 30 minutes or more.

 These portraits were the last two acts of creativity I had committed in the year of 2015.

 Almost a year later, in early December of 2016, both of these beings passed away unexpectedly (to my knowledge), of natural causes — their dates of death were separated by the same number of days that had occurred between the portraits, but in the reverse order that they were painted. Leche died on December 1, 2016, and A. died on December 7, 2016.

 Yes, they are only anecdotes, coincidences from the life of one artist. But I doubt very much, that I am the only practicing artist who has experienced these serendipitous, tangible, mystical effects of creation.

 Another mysterious act of reality creation is the story behind my two Serpent paintings, unwittingly conceived right in the same moment that my neighbor was being murdered 20 yards away from where I sat. To read this story in full, click here.

 In these instances of creative intention affecting reality, I can only hope that my creative acts had not somehow caused or contributed to these tragic events, but rather foretold, or were transmitted from the energies of my subjects. It stands that I will never truly know the answer.

Signed, Alex Graham
Seattle, Washington

Weekly Reading Round-Up : 11/26/2017 – 12/02/2017

More often than not, a fifth Wednesday in any given month means a “slow week” for comic book readers. Not so this time around, though, so let’s take a look and see what the LCS and the US Mail had in store for yours truly —

Spain Volume 1 : Street Fighting Men is the first in a multi-volume retrospective from Fantagraphics of the career of legendary, trailblazing underground master (and Zap Comix co-founder) Spain Rodriguez. His famous allegorical “stand-in” character Trashman takes center stage (and rightly so) in this book, and you already know all these strips (presented here in their entirety) are beyond fucking awesome, but also worthy of note here is the inclusion of “Manning,” a superb 1969 story about police corruption that originally ran in The East Village Other, as is the richly-detailed text history of the artist’s life and times authored by underground scholar par excellence Patrick Rosenkranz. $29.99 cover price, but you know you can find it for less than that easily enough. Buy this or die.

“Thems” is an intriguing and typically idiosyncratic one-shot written, drawn, and self-published (in magazine-sized format, no less) by Denver-based cartoonist Alex Graham (she of Cosmic BE-ING renown) featuring three of her extra-terrestrial (or should that be extra-dimensional?) characters who have a long history together going back multiple lifetimes and are re-united here on Earth. How best to consummate this rekindled eternal bond? How about a menage-a-trois? Drawn in somewhat-thicker-than-is-her-norm black ink and printed on yellow paper, to call this a “sex comic the likes of which you’ve never seen before” is to give it short shrift. I can’t claim to entirely understand everything Graham is depicting here, but I do know that I like it — and I think you will, too. Seven bucks very well spent, available from Porcellino’s outfit at http://www.spitandahalf.com/

Batman Annual #2 might be something you’d be surprised to see me drop five bucks on given my frequently-stated antipathy toward Tom King’s run on this series in general (there have been a couple notable highs, but far too many lows), but here he’s re-teamed with artist Lee Weeks (for the most part, at any rate — Michael Lark does the final seven pages), and their collaboration on Batman/Elmer Fudd Special #1 was terrific, so what the hell, am I right?

This one’s an Earth-2 story focused on an early meeting meeting between Batman and Catwoman, then it jumps to the future and shows their life as an  elderly married couple, complete with tear-jerker ending. On first reading I was damn impressed with this yarn, I admit, but on second (hey, it only takes 10 minutes or so) its calculated and contrived cynicism is easy to spot. The “flashback” segment that forms the bulk of the book basically only exists to add emotional “punch” to the epilogue and isn’t much on its own (apart from a gorgeous two-page center spread by Weeks), and conversely said epilogue only serves to remind us of what we’re never gonna get from the Bruce-Selina relationship in the “main” Bat-book, because who are we kidding? Editorial simply can’t or won’t allow it to  develop into the warm, loving, long-term marriage we see here. If I pick this thing up again six months or a year from now, who knows? I may like it all over again. But right now it basically looks like a one-trick-pony “Elseworlds” kinda thing — albeit a gorgeously-illustrated one. Extra props to colorists Elizabeth Breitweiser (on Weeks) and June Chung (on Lark) who give the book a lavish, moody look.

I’m thinking that the genesis of Batman : Creature Of The Night (the first issue of which just hit shelves in the old “Dark Knight Format,” priced at $5.99) went as follows:

“Yeah, Kurt Busiek here.”

“Hey, Kurt, it’s Dan DiDio (or Jim Lee, take your pick — doesn’t really matter either way). Remember that Superman : Secret Identity thing you did maybe 10,12 years ago? That “real world” story about that kid whose life was kinda like Superman’s? People liked that, so I was thinking — you wanna do it again? This time with Batman?”

“Uhhhhmmmm — what’s it pay?”

“$(redacted). And we’re gonna get John Paul Leon to draw it, so you know it’ll look great.”

“Sure, what the fuck — I’m in.”

And thus is a self-described “spiritual companion” born. And yeah, it does look good — great, even. But the whole thing has the stench of “been there, done that” about it — you know, like pretty much everything else coming out of DC these days.

This, of course, is the point at which I’d normally launch into a “what’s it gonna take until we get something new and genuinely innovative”-style diatribe, but I dunno. I think the “Big Two” have been so successful at narrowing down their audience to nothing but the crustiest, most developmentally-stunted nostalgia addicts that a creative dead end like this will probably get great reviews, win Eisners, and sell reasonably well (by today’s standards, at any rate). The “target audience” for this thing is clearly 40-60-year-olds who want to feel good about the fact that they still read superhero comics and occasionally even need to be flat-out congratulated for it. “No, you haven’t wasted thousands of dollars and years of your life — here’s a reminder of why you love this stuff that hits every emotional and story ‘beat’ you could ever ask for. That’ll be six bucks — you’re welcome. Oh, and you’re cool with us, no matter what anyone else might think.” Needless to say, I won’t be back for the second issue. in fact, I feel pretty damn stupid for buying this one.

And on that snide and derisive note, I think I’ll call it a wrap before I piss off every single reader out there. Next week we’ve got — shit, I don’t even know. Haven’t checked the advance solicits yet. But I’m sure there’ll be at least a few things worth talking about, so hopefully I’ll see you back here then.