This Day in Death

1.13.13: Poster Artist Gary Grimshaw – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 8:30 am January 27, 2014

GARY_GRIMSHAWIs that a poster advertising other posters? That is some next level meta shit right there. Also, what the hell are you listening to that needs that much high end? Is there a band that consists entirely of nothing but cymbals and banshee shrieks? Jesus, it’s called “equalization,” not “make-the-neighbor’s-dog-think-someone’s-jamming-an-ice-pick-in-his-ear… ization.”


I believe it was Ghandi who said that a product’s advertising is almost always better than the actual product being advertised. A slickly-executed promotion is the thin psychological membrane keeping us from realizing that there’s no scenario where getting a payday loan isn’t a terrible idea, or wondering why white people apparently can’t go a month without taking an extravagant vacation. Even musical performances need eye-catching ads to ensure no one will notice that all of those White Stripes songs are pretty much the same thing.

Of course, music is gone now, no longer being produced or consumed in any measurable quantity. Many of the younger generation believe it was never more than an urban legend to begin with, and those who were actually able to hear it at some point in their life have been left with nothing but the fading memory of Gwen Stefani’s brutal and unprovoked murder of beloved Beastie Boy Adam Yauch. But back in the days before the FCC declared that all advertising was legally required to be about insurance, cell phone plans, or interchangeable first-person military shooter games, there was Gary Grimshaw advertising local Detroit bands and festivals with his psychedelic poster art. Grimshaw’s work perfectly captured the mind-expanding, drug-fueled, grope-who-you-want madness of the rock and roll scene during the 60s and 70s. Unfortunately his later, more mellow posters were never quite as successful, and mostly focused on how having a loving family and a stable home life is the most intense high of all.

Born in Detroit in 1946, Grimshaw was a graduate of Lincoln Park High School, a Vietnam veteran, an antiwar activist and onetime member of the White Panther Party. He began producing art at the age of 20, and, over the next four decades, made his name working in media (including famed Detroit-based underground magazine Creem) and producing concert promotional posters for acts like the MC5, Sun Ra, Miles Davis, Iggy & the Stooges and the Jimi Hendrix Experience.

Hey, you know what poster I’ve always liked? That one with Einstein sticking his tongue out at the camera. It really reminds you that, even though he was a genius, he was still just a normal person like everybody else. It’s why I commissioned that oil painting of Carl Sagan starting a cockfighting ring in Mexico. We’re all just people, doing our best to make this crazy experiment called “life” work, man.


Source: Detroit Free Press

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