Tribes of the Cass Corridor & Forum
| Foreword | Music | TribesContent |
| SnapShots | Subscribe | Donate | Archived Forum

Gary Grimshaw
Corridor Artist, Illustrator

Gary Grimshaw, Laura Grimshaw, ,July 15, 2001 at the Ledson Winery
poster show in Santa Rosa, California.

Photo by Gregg Montgomery

Gary Grimshaw, 1984

Photograph by Scott Dedenbach

Gary Grimshaw: Biography 

"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" December 12, 1999.

Gary Grimshaw is a graphic artist specializing in the music business since his first concert poster design in 1966. He was the primary poster and light show artist for Detroit's Grande Ballroom through 1969. During this time he also created art for Detroit's notorious rock & 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 & Roll Hall of Fame & Museum. Gary established a connection with the San Francisco Bay Area with frequent trips out west 1966-70, where he worked for the beautiful San Francisco Oracle and the radical Berkeley Tribe.

A Vietnam veteran, Gary was consistently active in the anti-war movement after his discharge. The 10 year sentence imposed by the State of Michigan on his friend poet John Sinclair on a conviction of possession of two joints demanded Gary's return to The Great Lakes State and his assuming the duties of Minister of Art and Central Committee member of the White Panther Party. Subsequently, the John Sinclair Freedom Rally at Crisler Arena in Ann Arbor in December 1971 with performers John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Stevie Wonder, Bob Seger, speaker Bobby Seale and many others resulted in the reduction by the Michigan State Legislature of the penalty for possession of marijuana from a felony to a misdemeanor and John was freed.

With John back on the street, Gary became the art director for the Ann Arbor Blues & Jazz Festivals in 1972 and 1973. In 1974 Gary returned to his hometown Detroit and concentrated on its thriving rock & 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 in the Motor City. He was also associate art director for Creem Magazine from 1976 to 1984. In 1984 he co-founded MSA (Music/Media Services Associates) with John Sinclair and Frank Bach, an agency that had among its clients The City of Detroit (Hart Plaza and Chene Park events), The Music Hall Theatre, and several clubs and bands. MSA also managed The Urbations and produced special events such as the Detroit For Africa concert in 1985.

The publication in 1986 of The Art Of Rock: Posters From Presley To Punk by Paul Grushkin (Abbeville Press) was a turning point in Gary's career. This massive tome has become the "bible" of rock & roll poster collectors. In it Gary is recognized as one of the originators of the form. Iggy Pop, having seen The Art Of Rock, hired Gary to design the cover art for his 1987 A&M record Instinct. In 1988 Gary became art director of ArtRock and moved to San Francisco with his wife Laura. In 1991 he resigned from ArtRock and returned to freelancing. Gary did 5 posters for Bill Graham Presents, posters for local Bay Area shows and began reprinting his early posters.

Exhibitions of Gary's work include 3 one-man shows in Detroit (1984 at Alvin's, 1987 at the Michigan Gallery and 1996 at the Cass Cafe). Group exhibitions include the DIA in 1974 and 1980, the Motor City Joint Show in Ferndale with Stanley Mouse, Mark Arminski and Wes Wilson in 1993, the San Francisco Rock Poster Expos at Golden Gate Park in 1992 and 1993, the Temporary Insanity Shows on Haight Street in 1995 and 1996, the Visual Jams Show during the opening of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame & Museum at Cleveland in 1995, and the San Francisco Rock & Roll Poster Revival Show in 1999.

Currently Gary and Laura have opened an art shop in downtown Oakland, CA named PaperSong at Swan's Market featuring his works and those of Dennis Loren, Marco Almera, Jim Phillips, Lee Conklin, Mark London, Frank Kozik, Shag and others. PaperSong's grand opening in November 2000 featured a free concert in the courtyard by Big Brother and the Holding Co. and the Bay Area Blues Society's Caravan of All Stars. PaperSong is an ongoing sponsor of the Home Grown Blues free concert series in downtown Oakland.

Gary's posters are available at and he can be reached at and


More info: