Friday, April 9, 2010
GARY GRIMSHAW'S ART
Gary and Rich
Gary Grimshaw has influenced me more than just about anyone I've ever known. THIS is the guy who IS who I WANT to be. ART, you do it alone... not a Band... usually not a team... not much glory... it's in your head and ya' gotta put it on paper. R. Crumb (Mr. Natural)said it's 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration!
Gary in his office in San Francisco
I started drawing in '66 or so, maybe 15 years old. Stanley Mouse was at the State Fair, airbrush painting hats & t-shirts and all... Biker stuff & WILD Hot Rod Monsters... BIG news back then. Pretty COOL. I copied those images, sittin' at the kitchen table, then later in Art Class, using pen & ink.
The psychedelic thing happened and my drawings got a LOT more crazy, for sure. Kids were passing out Grande Ballroom Postcards at my school in Detroit... come to a ROCK N" ROLL Dance/Concert! Unbelievable craziness drawn with such precision, and COLORS! ULTIMATE cool.
Pop's wanted me to take Shop Math... not to be. He used to tear up my comic books, which made them all-the-more-desire-able. I have HUNDREDS of 'em now. You know how that works. I was drawing some real crazy stuff to amuse and amaze my friends... the chicks too, trying to get more far-out as I went along. A couple of large collections of this madness was seized and destroyed, just as well I guess. The Cops have a pretty nice collection of "Kilo" wrappers I painted... Such was life. Never made any cash, till I met Grimshaw.
He walked thru the door and I was stunned. After 4 years of staring at his artworks, I think my image of Gary was a "lightnin'-flashin'-neon-strobe'n WILD haired CRAZY MAN"... maybe some WING'S growin' out his head! I don't know... anyway,
There was the Man, he was BEAUTIFUL! Quiet, smilin', just back from San Francisco... long straight hair, regular clothes, BROWN shoes.
I was dumbfounded, he put me to work on the spot. That was 1510 Hill Street, the old White Panther/MC5 House in Ann Arbor. They produced the SUN newspaper there. Gary was crankin' out some TRULY awesome work all thru those years. Pete Andrews as DAYSTAR put on major events for U of M and Gary produced KILLER posters for all the shows.
I followed him to RAINBOW GRAPHICS when he moved on... upstairs from the Blind Pig, a Blues Bar in town. I worked there in the day and slept on the couch at night, truly wonder-ous times.
In 1972 Gary moved again, over on Liberty, John Sinclair and Pete Andrews were puttin' on The Ann Arbor Blues and Jazz Festival. They hired me as a sign painter... gave me 7 Bucks an hour and a 3 day, backstage pass... cash bar. Rented a room, a summer sublet... This is what I call "High Cotton"... "and the livin' was easy".
Grimshaw told me he was leavin' one day, next thing, I'm headin' down 1-94... back to Detroit. He called this one MOTOR CITY GRAPHICS, had a studio up on the 4th floor at Music Hall, right Downtown. We had a lot of fun... but I was pretty crazy then, unreliable... disappear for days on end... shit like that.
Around 1974,The Hilton Hotel was being operated by a young member of that famous family... John Sinclair and his Brother Dave opened The RAINBOW ROOM... in the lower level. They hired me to drive to metro Airport and pick-up band equipment... I had a van then and we would fill it with gear and instruments. SUN RA had TWO van full's of Conga Drums and all kinda crazy stuff. THOSE guys thought WE were far-out! I lived up in one of the rooms, Gary had a suite as studio/residence, life was good.
I knew Gary pretty well by then. What a guy! He IS the COOLEST Head I have EVER met! He told me once, as a kid he would climb up on his Dad's drafting table and trace his blueprints for fun... Cars, oh yeah! PERFECT lettering, as you can see. His Uncle ran Crown Press in Dearborn, they did a lot of the GRANDE posters, so Gary had the inside hook-up on how to put all these crazy ideas into a workable package. I was VERY impressed.
One night, around '75-'76, The Friends Roadshow came thru, they were an International Traveling Circus. I instantly fell in with these characters. A 5 piece band with a huge group of performers...kinda like The TUBES... fronted by D'Jango, a larger-than-life, fire-breathing, joke telling MADMAN! They invited me to run away to Amsterdam, to The FESTIVAL of FOOLS... so I did.
I never worked for Gary after that, we did some stuff... he hooked up with my Brother Kris, who ran The GHETTO PRESS in Detroit, they did posters and T-shirts, Art Shows, Concerts and ALL kinds of stuff. I shot a LOT of video at Ghetto Rags, over in Russell Industrial center... life was GOOD.