Grace Slick
Hotel has musical suite dreams
Monaco's new rooms pay tribute to legends Slick, Lennon, Davis
Grace Slick in Hotel  

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Janet Forgrieve

In five minutes, the conversation goes from art to music to Quaaludes to whether Mary Magdalene and Jesus had children together.

And back again.

Sitting in the newly christened "Grace Slick Suite" at the Hotel Monaco on Wednesday evening, the living legend whose name graces a placard outside seems supremely comfortable in the skin that sits under her snow-white hair.

The suite is one of the three at the hotel named after legendary musicians and officially unveiled Thursday. The other two are the John Lennon and Miles Davis suites.

The Davis suite has art both of and by the jazz artist, and the Lennon suite features framed, handwritten lyrics and a Yellow Submarine lamp.

Known best for her sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll image developed during decades writing and singing with Jefferson Airplane and then Jefferson Starship, Slick has spent the years since her retirement from the stage drawing and painting pictures.

Her art, now displayed in galleries and sold to a growing number of clients who commission specific subjects, can go for upwards of $15,000 for large pieces, she said.

The prints that decorate the walls of the Grace Slick Suite include a large piece she did of Pete Townshend, as well as several smaller depictions, including one of Janis Joplin and many of Alice and the White Rabbit.

Inspector Rabbit by Grace Slick  

Slick, who started drawing as a child but gave it up for other pursuits, picked up her pencil again several years ago, but at first resisted going commercial with her art.

Remembering the music business-she hated the business part of it-Slick shied away from seeing her pictures as products. But, she said, she likes making enough money to pay her bills.

These days, she'll create anything anybody asks.

"I'm a whore," she laughed. "I'll draw anything you want, just don't tell me how to draw it."

As a musician, Slick's lyrics started on tiny index, then were transferred to paper. Today, her pictures start as sketches on the same kind of cards. Once the sketch is done, she enlarges it, then traces the drawing onto canvas and fills it in with color.

The idea for the musician-themed suites came about when Hotel Monaco sales director Caroline Czirr was working with Slick's agent to acquire some of her artwork for the hotel, said spokeswoman Ann Higby.

The 189-room hotel, one of seven in the United States, is owned by parent company Kimpton Boutique Hotels. The Monaco in San Francisco will be the next to get a Grace Slick suite, Higby said.

The name and themed items will raise the price of the three suites by about $30, to $429 per night.

Slick says she'll travel on business until the summer, then head home to Malibu to create.

"I've got to make more product," she laughed.

Her favorite is always the one she's working on at the moment, she said. One of the favorite prints she owns was done by someone else. It's a picture of a pig poised to dive off a board into the water. Pigs can't swim.

"I like it because it reminds me of that Nike ad-just do it," she said. She's lived her life a bit like that pig, she said, realizing at an early age that the things authority figures told her not to do were usually the most interesting.

Whether it's been getting on stage to sing, traveling to Istanbul alone or marrying a man 14 years younger, she said, she feels the fear, she acknowledges it.

Then she just does it.

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