Gary Grimshaw was a graphic artist of exceptional talent who had an extraordinary history and character; meeting life on his own terms and often against the establishment. He was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1946 and graduated from nearby Lincoln Park High School. His Grandfather was a designer at GM’s Fisher Body Oldsmobile plant, his Dad a mechanical engineer. Marjory Grimshaw instilled a love of books and music in her young son Gary who loved to draw cars and comics and considered himself a writer. The oldest with two younger sisters, Gary left home at an early age but continues to be close to his sisters. He has created art work professionally since the age of twenty - that’s four decades of music-related graphic art and counting. In 2011 just months after returning home from a serious health odyssey, Gary worked on the Concert of Colors poster and several PJ’s Lager House designs. In 2012 he began a licensing of his work in earnest; partnering with Detroit Urban Design Studios. Laura Grimshaw, his wife of twenty years, closely contributes to keep Gary’s past body of work in the public eye.
At the start of his career Gary became well known as the Grande Ballroom artist and later as the MC5 artist. These works stand out as the centerpiece of an enormously prolific output of art from the mid-1960’s to the late 1970’s. He became part of a dynamic collective of intellectuals, promoters, poets, artists, musicians - people that spent many years together in some form or another and in different circles of interest. For instance, as a Vietnam veteran he was an anti-war activist and a key player in the White Panther Party; he worked to reform unfair law and unjust incarcerations. His contribution was through art and his art inspired and energized the people. He was a member of Trans-Love Energies and The Rainbow People’s Party. He worked on newspapers, magazines, did posters to advertise music events, did record album covers. Gary worked with Underground Press Syndicate icons The San Francisco Oracle and the Ann Arbor Sun. Gary has just completed a book with Leni Sinclair that documents this celebrated era in the history of Detroit. It features a sample of his enormous output during the first fifteen or so years of his career and dynamic photography of his friend Leni Sinclair and is called “Detroit Rocks!”. Back in the late seventies he also worked with the legendary rock magazine Creem as an associate art director. During this time he and his then-wife had a son named Alan Morgan Grimshaw. Gary’s son continues the Grimshaw art and design tradition with his own career.