Grace Slick
Imagages of Grace
In pencil or oil, Slick takes an artful spin away from music
Jerry Garcia by Grace Slick  

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Mark Brown

Grace Slick knows she's not the world's greatest artist.

"I've had reviewers on my voice saying she couldn't sing her way out of a paper bag, which is probably true," Slick says. "But people bought the records."

"Now I can't draw my way into the Metropolitan Museum. That's probably true. But people but the (expletive deleted) paintings. So something connects to a large enough amount of people that I can continue to fen my face."

As you can see, a decade away from the rock 'n' roll world hasn't mellowed the former lead singer of Jefferson Airplane and Starship.

Slick knew she had artistic ability at age 3, when she'd drawn an angel and her parents would make it into that year's Christmas card. But, a 30-plus year music career proved distracting.

"I do one thing at a time. I'm not a good multitasker. One man at a time, one house, one car, one child, one job," she says. "I've drawn off and on all my life, but mostly off until 10 years ago."

She'd had a bad falling out with a boyfriend at the time, which briefly made the papers when a gun was involved.

"I don't do physical violence. Verbal, yeah. And I'll pull a gun on you! But I don't do all that slapping around because it's just silly," she says.

After the incident, "I was sad and I started drawing animals. I slapped them up all over my house because I was miserable. Friends came over and said 'Wow, you should start doing that professionally.'"

She began cranking out the art and it began selling for hundreds of dollars in galleries across the world. Her style ranges from sparse line-drawings to intricate renderings of people, animals, and yes, the occasional rabbit.

"I just do what occurs to me at the time. I never understood having a style. I don't want to impose 'style' on the subject matter. The subject matter indicates what it needs," she says.

The late John Entwistle said his music and his artwork were not connected; Ron Wood, on the other hand, says they're closely intertwined.

"I agree with Ron Wood. It's the same part of the brain," Slick says. "Some people come into the world with a brain that understands electricity. I don't do electricity. Music and all the arts are right-brain and I'm really lopsided right-brain."

Slick draws much the same way she writes songs: keeping notecards nearby to write or sketch an idea when inspiration hits. She then takes it home to flesh it out.

"It's the same process," she says." My brain operates in a certain way. I don't go against that. I'm genetically and environmentally born to operate in a certain way."
Turning out artwork is easier than music, she says.

  Inspector Rabbit by Grace Slick

"My agent will call up and say 'Lets have more Jerry Garcia.' OK. I don't care. I like the challenge of doing something that would not occur to me," Slick says. One fan wanted to commission a painting of the Golden Gate Bridge.

"There are 855 billion pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge," Slick says, making a snorting sound. "It's been done to death. But fine, I'll do that; I'll draw anything you want me to draw."

Though she did a guest appearance on Linda Perry's solo album a few years back, "I haven't been in this (music) business for 15 years. Once I'm gone, I'm gone. I don’t' go back to old boyfriends or old houses or old cars or old citie "When you're 25, you have no interest in going back and playing jacks on the playground where you played when you were 8. I'm consumed with whatever's going on right now."

But Slick is grateful to have experienced everything firsthand, especially being part of the san Francisco scene in the '60s-something that only a few hundred people truly experienced, yet has become the utopian rock fantasy for millions.

"I feel very fortunate. My whole life has been amazing. The only thing I don't like about life is hangovers. I've had a life where I'm fortunate enough to have experienced things at a time when I was the right age to do that."

"Being in your 20s in the '60s was unbelievable. Just fabulous. No AIDS. You could (sleep with) anybody you wanted to. Nobody had heard of Alcoholics Anonymous. It was unbelievable. I feel quite lucky to have been who I was, when I was."

 
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