Slick first painted furry animals (the white rabbit is still a favorite) and beautiful nudes. Her agent suggested she begin doing portraits of musicians she knew, and she has obliged with portraits of Jim Morrison, Jerry Garcia, Janis Joplin and Sting.
“I let my agent deal with the so-called art world,” she says. “He makes suggestions and sets up my appearances. I just paint every day as the spirit strikes.”
Slick was born Grace Wing Oct. 30, 1939 in Evanston, Illinois, but she was raised in San Francisco. She attended the University of Miami in 1958-1959, but admits she was more a partier than a scholar. After graduating from Finch College she returned to San Francisco and married Gerald “Jerry” Slick, a cinematographer. She joined Jefferson Airplane in 1966, replacing original singer Signe Anderson, and sang two of the group’s signature songs, “White Rabbit” and “Somebody to Love.”
Slick divorced and remarried and divorced and became an outspoken anti-war activist as well as a self-admitted rowdy drunk. In 1971 she and Jefferson Airplane guitarist Paul Kantner had a daughter, China Wing Kantner, with whom Slick remains close.
“China is now working on a Ph.D,” Slick reveals proudly. “Her special study is spirituality.”
Although she performed with former bandmates Marty Balin and Paul Kantner for a post-9/11 concert, Slick says she is officially retired from public performance.
“I don’t walk to be one of those old relics doing the oldies circuit,” she protests. “There are a few signature groups that can get away with it. The Rolling Stones need it, evidently, and they are still one of the best rock ‘n’ roll groups in the world. I’m going to be 66 next month, for God sakes. Art is my focus now. I do it all the time. I’m just grateful some people like it well enough to buy it.”