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Gary Grimshaw Bio

Gary Grimshaw Biographical Information

"If he hadn't been the poster artist for the counterculture, he could have been its poster child." -- The Detroit Free Press, " Michigan's 100 Greatest Artists & Entertainers of the Twentieth Century"

Gary Grimshaw was the primary poster and light show artist for Detroit's psychedelic Grande Ballroom from 1966 to 1969.  During that period he also created art for Detroit's notorious rock and roll band the MC5.  Currently an album cover design for the MC5's first album Kick Out the Jams painted in 1968 is on view at Cleveland's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.

A Vietnam veteran, Gary was active in the anti-war movement after his discharge.  The 10-year sentence imposed on his friend poet John Sinclair on a conviction of possession of two joints prompted Gary to work on the John Sinclair Freedom Rally December 10, 1971 in Ann Arbor with performers John Lennon, Stevie Wonder and Bob Seger, among others. Within days the Michigan State Legislature reduced the penalties for possession from a felony to a misdemeanor and John was freed. 

Gary art directed the Ann Arbor Blues & Jazz Festival in 1972 and 1973.  In 1974 he returned to his hometown Detroit and concentrated on its thriving rock and roll scene.  For the next 14 years he produced posters, recording packages, logos and graphics for all of the major promoters and dozens of bands and clubs.  Gary was also Associate Art Director of Creem Magazine from 1976 to 1984. 

1986-7 was a turning-point for Gary with the publication of The Art of Rock: From Presley to Punk and Garyís cover art design for Iggy Popís Instinct.  In 1989 Gary moved to the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife Laura and continued producing new poster art including five posters for Bill Graham Presents, reprinting his early concert posters and creating CD cover art.  In 2003 Gary and Laura moved back to Detroit where they now reside in the Woodbridge Historical District. 

Exhibitions of Gary's work include four one-man shows in Detroit in 1984, 1987, 1996 and 2005.  Group exhibitions include the Detroit Institute of Arts in 1974 and 1980; the Motor City Joint Show with Stanley Mouse, Mark Arminski and Wes Wilson in 1993; the San Francisco Rock Poster Expo in 1992 and 1993; the Temporary Insanity Show on Haight St. (which he and Laura co-produced) in 1995 and 1996; the Visual Jams Show during the opening of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame & Museum in 1995; the San Francisco Rock & Roll Poster Revival Show in 1999; the Bay Area Rock Poster Society's Big Show 2001 and 2002 and the Detroit Music Poster Show with Carl Lundgren and Mark Arminski at CCS 2004 and the Woods Gallery 2005.

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All rights to the poster images on this site are retained by the artists and are used with their permission except for all Bill Graham Presents Posters which are used with the permission of Bill Graham Enterprises, Inc.
Everything else ©1997-2007 by Poster Planet where applicable. Any use without permission is prohibited.