Los Angeles-based Grey Coutts is an artist delving into the spiritual side.
Becoming an artist wasn’t intentional at first, but more a process of self-discovery through experimentation and curiosity. Earning a degree in Graphic Design from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth in 2013, he never thought his potential for art would expand several dimensions. It started with a fascination with abstract paintings. Seeing images he could not explain or even imagine creating himself was the beginning of a gravitational pull towards art and creative expression.
The artist is known for his intense colors and abstract paintings, as well as for his role as a Creative Director in the music industry. Mainly using acrylic, spray paint, and collage materials, he often incorporates his signature style of “the drip”: a technique that solely uses the force of gravity.
Coutts taps into the creative flow of energy and sets out to create unique, emotionally expressive work. His art as a whole is driven by energy and emotion. It represents the inner workings of the soul and the journey of the individual through time and space. The use of color and intense marking mock the energy surrounding him and others on a daily basis.
Most recently he is intertwining his spiritual studies with his client pieces.
He calls them “Energy Portraits,” as he tunes in to the energy of the client and does a piece that represents them. He resides in Hollywood, CA; experiencing life and creating art.
Hi Grey! You say, becoming an artist wasn’t intentional at first. Tell us a bit more about your beginnings. Was there a lightbulb moment when you started doing art or was it something else?
Grey: I always felt like I didn’t know my purpose or how to express myself properly. When I started creating, all of that started to go away. Normally when did art it was just in class and my project would come out cool. I never thought anything of it. Graphic Design was my first step into the field of the art profession and through that, I discovered that I was more than a designer I was also an expressive fine artist.
Tell us about your artwork, medium, style, subject matter etc.
Grey: I love abstract art. To me, it’s truly about expressing emotion. The freedom of gesture and color allows me to feel limitless and really tap into that higher creative flow of power. Currently, I use mainly acrylic, spray paint, and collage materials. The subjects range from my own emotion to interpreting other people onto the canvas.
Could you walk us through your process? How much planning do you do before you jump into a painting? If you do, what are you trying to solve at each stage of it?
Grey: Usually the only prep that I do is going to the store, selecting the canvas and the colors. When I am picking the colors I think about how I’m feeling and then grab the colors that match the vibration. The same goes for when I’m doing a pice for other people. I hold them in my mind at the store and let the colors present themselves to me. The final stage would be to actually make the pice. This can happen in 5 minutes or take up to 3 weeks or even a lot longer. There is really no telling. What I have found recently is that If i set the intention to finish it in a certain time restraint then I am able to push myself to solve the color puzzle in front of me and make a conceptually sound piece of art in that time.
When you create an artwork, you say you tap into the creative flow of energy and set out to create unique, emotionally expressive work. Is there a message you are trying to send with each piece, or is it something else?
Grey: It all depends and changes over time. Most recently when I get a new canvas I write a statement or word on it. This word sets the tone for what the piece will stand for and what emotion I will be focusing on when I am creating. I guess in a way that is what I’m communicating. Overall each person has their own unique reaction when viewing the work and it’s all valid. It is extra special to me when realigned with my meaning.
Could you tell me more about your “Energy Portraits”?
Grey: The energy portraits are something fairly new that I have started. I am in-tune with all things energy and have discovered that tapping into others every is something that I can do fairly easy also. With the ‘Energy Portraits,” I am basically taking the energy and emotion that I am feeling from the person ( if they are present in the room) or I hold them in my mind when I am creating if they are not present. The message and color will unfold in itself all I need to do is trust my gut. In the end, we have an interpretation of them on the canvas and I can explain to them what it means and give them a reading of sorts.
How has your art evolved over the years?
Grey: It has evolved a lot and is still evolving. Most recently I have made huge leaps in my style. When I first started I would use every color under the sun to make one piece but now I am being more conscious of my color choice. I am also being more experimental with my tools. When I first started I only used gravity as a paintbrush. Now I use a pallet in my hand and of course, gravity to get my signature drip style. My art has become more intentional. It has grown from expressing the inner chaos of the mind to now being a healthy form of emotional expression.
What artists have influenced your work the most?
Grey: I enjoy Picasso. It was cool to see his style evolve over the course of his life. It gave more purpose to his later staged abstract work. You got to see the progression of his mind and how he continually grew and let go of the classical definition of art and really let the creative energy flow through him. – At least in my interpretation.
What memorable responses have you had to your work?
Grey: I loved the reactions I got from my installation at Art Basel Miami 2019. People told me that right when they entered the room they felt an energy shift and a sense of calm. It was through the conversations with people at that time I was able to help them discover that they were powerful manifesting machines.
What is the best way to reach people that are interested in your art?
Are there any upcoming shows or workshops we should know about?
Grey: There are no shows planned but I am open to any that come my way! I have been thinking about hosting an abstract painting class so please connect with me and send your email so I can add you to may mailing list for updates!
What’s next for you?
Grey: I really want to paint a mural in LA! Also, do collaborations with musicians and create art based off of their music. I recently did this with my friend Will Sweeny. I will continue to explore and create! Please reach out if anyone wants to collaborate.