In this week’s Welcome to the Insta-hood we are featuring IG-er @astraleyez
- Describe a little about yourself. “Hello there, my name is Astral Eyes, although I sometimes go by the name of James Weigel. I am an artist living & working in Los Angeles. I’ve been called the “psychedelic icon maker ” by LA WEEKLY due to the nature of my work which is mostly collage that deals with the visionary experience. Using pieces to invoke and inspire the viewer’s own inner connection with the divine consciousness.
- I noticed you collection quite a lot of comics. What are your top five gems in your collection. Why?
“Ahh comic, my true love! I have been collecting comics since I was old enough to walk! Literally, my first comics were shoved in my hand by my father and I have been reading and collecting ever sense. Asking me to chose my favorite is like asking a parent to chose their favorite child! LOL!I have a very eclectic taste in comics, and through the decades my tastes have changed, but I still appreciate all those old incarnations of my comic book collector self. Currently I am obsessed over the early days of the comic strip and have been finding old books about those amazing artists.
One book that just came out about a virtually forgotten artist Herbert Crowley from the early 1990s. It is absolutely mind blowing! Some of his drawings look as though they have have a feel of the underground comics of the 60s, only they are from like 1908! He was a visionary!Getting back to comic books, I suppose if I had to pick, here are my choices:I am a huge Jack Kirby fan, so I would have to include New Gods. I would also add this fantastic early cover by him of Black Magic: the infamous FREAKS! cover. It reminds me a lot of another of my favorite comic artist Charles Burns. Then probably the gem of collection, an original edition of the origin story of the Crypt Keeper by Jack Davis because it is such a fantastic cover! Another of my favorite artists is Berni Wrightson !! I absolutely love that cover of WEIRD MYSTERY TALES, that summoned demon sitting on the poor dabbler in the black arts! WTF?! That is so good!Then of course, what collection is complete without an original copy of House of Secrets 92 , first Swamp Thing, and that classic cover by Wrightson. Then going with the theme of ” dabbling in the black arts gets you wrecked” ( which is one of my favorite things in comics) is the Bruce Jones cover from his Twisted Tales. Those mushrooms growing out the demon’s back, & the roses?! WOW what?! What a total show stopper!Lastly, as a bonus the oddities I enjoy is a Christian propaganda comic from the 70s (produced by Jack T. Chick) – SPELLBOUND? – like a moth to the flame, what a fantastic cover! Stonehenge recreated with 8 track ( I also have the 1980s version where they updated the 8 tracks to cast tapes.) It is about the devil taking over the music industry! I could on for days about about all the amazing comic artist from other parts of the world, like Philippe Druillet, Guido Crepax, Jean Giraud Moebius …but I’ll save it for another day!3. You met Alejandro Jodorowsky a couple of months ago. What was the occasion? What did he talk about? “I had the good fortune to meet and talk with Alejandro Jodorowsky and his wife Pascale Montandon at the opening of their art show here in LA.
They have been collaborating on a series of drawings for almost a decade. Talking with him and her after seeing their deeply personal and spiritual art was an amazing experience. He has such a wonderful presence, so warm a happy to talk with complete strangers as though we were old friends. I had been a long time fan of his work so needles to say it was definitely a top moment in my life so far!4.Can you talk a bit about your art that you create? What was your favorite piece that you create and why? Who was it for? “I started making my collage work around 2006, under the name owleyes then later changed to Astral Eyes. My practice and belief centers around the connection that the creative force has to the divine nature of ourselves. I believe that art has a deep healing effect and can be used to communicate not only to others but to that divine source. The actual process in creating is the mediative and sacred act while the product becomes the manifested in the material, a living icon that other may activate. I have made lots of pieces for various people including one for a David Bowie tribute album called “We Were So Turned On” out on Manimal Records. Bowie himself approved the cover art and thought it was pretty nice that he liked it a lot. Though I don’t really have a favorite piece (the one I currently work on tends to be my favorite!) I think Gravesnakes (2008) has a lasting effect on me. I made it at a point in my life where I was dealing with a lot problems and I feel like that particular piece is still very charged with all my hope and longing of create a better quality of life! I consider it to be a very positive piece and filled with transmutation symbology.”
Thank you so much James for the wonderful interview! If you would like more information or have questions for him his IG is : @astraleyez
Until next time!