Imagery is everything

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Suzie Harrison

She remains one of the most charismatic artists to emerge from San Francisco’s golden era. Her powerful and distinctive voice still resonates through her lyrics that will remain poignant to every generation through such songs as “White Rabbit” and “Somebody to Love.” Though she has left her eccentric outfits and microphone behind, she remains an artist, utilizing a canvas as her medium.

Grace Slick will be at the Fingerhut Gallery today and tomorrow for the opening reception of her newest work, which includes drawings, etchings, acrylics and more. Her pieces often draw from her life as a rock legend with colorful and strong portraits of other greats such as Jerry Garcia, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison and Jimi Hendrix. Her work also includes vivid imagery-themed art depicted from her songs, which includes an “Alice in Wonderland”

series and meditative drawings of nudes in the classic Sumi style.

  Scout By Grace Slick

“I’m now feeling like art is what I do, really a part of who I am,” Slick said. “I’ve had to build up to it because I’ve been known as something else, I’m building up a new way of making a living and having fun.”

She says she works fairly fast and her agent chooses what they show.
“I have several band pieces,” Slick said. “I do this because it’s my gig-his gig is to put it in the galleries and then the galleries sell it.”

She said it is worse than the record business with everyone getting his or her cut, but she would still do it even if she didn’t get paid, in fact she’s probably be a little more brave.
“It’s a lot less complicated,’ Slick said. “There aren’t four huge trucks and you get to talk to more people. The band gets so nuts you can’t talk to people. When the art goes into the galleries you get to talk to people, find out what’s going on and talk about strange and interesting stuff like what’s happening in the Middle East. It’s fun how people react.
When asked which art she prefers and which better represents her, she told a story about when she was a kid the only thing she couldn’t do was ballet because she was a klutz., illustrating to her there were no boundaries.

“That’s the only thing I wouldn’t do,” Slick said. “I like all of the arts-writing, painting, music, I would like acting if I had a memory. I have reverse Alzheimer’s, I can only remember 24 hours-I would hold up production so badly.”

  Jerry Garcia by Grace Slick

She likes the variety of arts because it allows for different modes of expression, including some politically motivated art, which allows for her own social commentary, which she isn’t shy to express. “Warshak Quartet,” her latest political piece, represents strident fear and animosity that war represents.

Inspector Rabbit by Grace Slick  

Her only formal art training was a semester of Art 101 at the University of Miami in 1958.

“101 is easy, I don’t think I’m a great artist, but people identify with it and look at connecting somewhere,” Slick said. “I do pop art, just like music, with an image I hope connects with someone else on a personal basis.”

She said her art is like her music and the words or the picture can be interpreted in many different ways. Slick said she generally likes to use brilliant colors or black and white and doesn’t do flowers or landscapes because she likes the real thing better.

Slick’s favorite piece is always what she is working on at the moment.

“You work on them, then they’re gone-you gotta let it go if somebody wants it,” Slick said.

What her future plans are she can’t say for sure.
“The future I don’t plan that far,” Slick said. “In rock ‘n’ roll you had to think ahead in a year’s time, so to think about a year in advance-I’ll paint … have people over, tell lies, feed and loaf and during the week I’ll work. I hesitate to call it work, I consider brushing my teeth work.”



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