Immaterialism: a 21st Century Branch of Surrealism?

Free Online Dictionary Definition

im·ma·te·ri·al  (ĭm′ə-tîr′ē-əl)
1. Of no importance or relevance; inconsequential or irrelevant.
2. Having no material body or form.

Surreal Art Online: Immaterialism

  1. As the documentary How to be a Surrealist with Philippa Perry  highlighted, the Surrealist art movement didn’t take themselves too seriously within mainstream society, and mainstream society doesn’t pay much attention to them, so they are in line with the first definition above.
  2. Surreal art online is not material, so it’s in line with the second definition.

Literary Nonsense to Readymades

Surreal writing and art has been the theme for the greenYgrey throughout its decade, partly out of interest and experience in the ‘counterculture’ from 1980, and partly because having reached PhD status but still feeling I was facing class prejudice, with my warnings about grooming and terrorism ignored, I thought I may as well write ‘literary nonsense’.

My first poetry collection stressed my unconscious self-analysis in line with surrealism, and also had a surreal art cover I created:

The first of the greenYgrey trilogy stuck to the literary nonsense theme, before the next two became more plot-driven; I took six months off work to edit the plot in the second, while I did the third as I wrote it, with a minimum of editing the plot afterwards. However, the surreal art theme intensified as the trilogy progressed.

After creating werewolf characters to exhibit my decent general knowledge of a wide variety of subjects/fields, including an Andy Warhol one for the creative, such as adverts, my greenYgrey decade ended up finding Marcel Duchamp’s readymades in time for the centennial anniversary of his most famous fountain to toilet; considered the most important artwork of the twentieth-century by many experts.

Like the surrealists, my art is more about ideas and creation than aestheticism, with my writing the main interest. I was creating greenygrey readymades throughout the decade, using images, adverts and television pictures. Finding out about Marcel Duchamp’s readymades and creating a new POP (PinkyOrangePurple) during the XaW Files journey, after setting off on a travel quest to find ‘our’ Andy Warhol,  just provided a name for what I’d already been doing.

When Rachel Sylvester hit the top of the journalistic agenda during the Conservative party leadership race, after I’d interviewed her during my PhD, it only inspired me to create a greenygrey Rachel Sylvester out of Rachel Riley and Sylvester the cartoon cat: I consider this self-proclaimed genius surreal art, and totally immaterial to the real Rachel Sylvester and why she’d become top of the agenda.

I’m not a painter, or even a good drawer, so this kind of ‘art’ is all I can do with any skill: my ‘art’ is more about the mind/unconscious than the ‘picture’, in line with surrealism. I have created a few material images, such as my ADHD self-portrait. 

However, most of my ‘art’ has been online, and online art is what sets this century apart from the twentieth, so maybe the 21st century online surrealists, like me, could be known as the Immaterialists. The word combines the two concepts of the above ‘immaterial’ definition together, with the connecting of two or more concepts an artistic technique at the heart of surreal art.

greenYgrey3: Surreal Art None of Me

Inspired by this blog post, and to continue celebrating Duchamp’s fountain to art centennial anniversary, here’s a new greenYgrey3 readYmade, combining my interest in the unconscious, surreal art and alternatives to mainstream thought:

Available to buy or borrow on Amazon and some great big bookshops.

You Are The Boss of Your Own Happiness: 50 Ways to Change Your Life Today by Theo Kay. $3.99 from


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