Dear Allyson,

I would be so happy if you could impart me with any wisdom from your years of life experience.

This is my second semester of school. I’m an art student, but I’m not really sure why I’m here. I have an intuitive feeling of not wanting to be here and to get out of this cultural prerequisite to life… but it’s hard to plunge into total uncertainty. Please help me, Allyson!

Sending my love from a little dormitory monk cell.


Dear Ilyusha,

Thank you so much for trusting me with this important life question at a critical time when transition may be imminent.

Alex and I both took advantage of the foundational experience of art school. We benefitted by being forced to learn the basics of drawing, design and composition and the rigor of such disciplines as anatomy and lettering. We took advantage of the equipment — silk screening, wood shop, lithography, photo darkroom, video, models hired in a studio with art furniture and platforms for the model or still life display/altar.

After two foundational years at Columbus College of Art & Design on full scholarship, Alex got a full-time job painting billboards for Columbus Outdoor Advertising. After one year, he paid for his third year of art school at the Boston Museum School so he could study with and be the studio assistant of a renowned conceptual artist. It was this artist that brought Alex and I together and we have always felt that our meeting each other was the best reason to have gone to the Museum School. After that year, Alex decided to spend his money on building a loft in Boston rather than his fourth year of art school. I worked along side him on the loft where we lived for nine years and made art individually and together. I continued and got my Masters Degree. Having written many papers in high school to get into a “good” college and then writing so many papers in undergraduate and graduate school, I became a decent editor and writer which benefits our goals everyday.


Private Billboard, performance art piece by Alex Grey
September 1974
High Street, Columbus, Ohio

Our daughter started acting professionally when she was seven. Acting, film and art is what she loves and when she completed high school, she had no interest in college whatsoever. What we told Zena is this: “Don’t tell the story that you didn’t become all you could be because you rejected college. Instead, make your story sound like this: “Look at all I accomplished and I did not even go to college!” Create the good story and the possibility you want to realize.

You live in a dorm at a major university. This is a huge gift filled with possibilities. Our insight is: If you CAN do it, finish what you started. Your story for life will either include, “I had the opportunity to study at a University Art School and finished OR I had the opportunity to study at a University Art School and dropped out.” Which one do you like? What is your story going to be?

How about, create an art problem that is bigger than your limited view of yourself and then solve it?
In an altered state one time, I asked my higher mind, “What should we tell people when they ask, “Is there a technology for creating a life you love?'”
The voice said, “Immerse yourself in solving big problems.” From our experience, that is the way to a very happy life.

Hope that insight lends something to your own insight. Please forgive the delayed response. Look forward to hearing from you in the future.

Send a picture and/or link and we’ll post your question & picture and our answer on our blog, “Ask Alex and Allyson.” We can post anonymously, if you’d prefer.


Alex & Allyson