“A line on paper is like a note in the air” — Jerry Garcia
Guitarist, singer, and songwriter Jerry Garcia was best known as a founding member of the Grateful Dead, the rock band for which he served as de facto leader for 30 years, from 1965 until his death in 1995.
But Garcia was nearly as prolific an artist as he was a musician, having attended the San Francisco Art Institute and eventually creating over 2,000 pieces. At 17, Garcia considered himself “an artist who played music.” Though he took an extended break from visual art, he immersed himself once again starting in 1983, mainly working with drawing, ink paintings, and watercolor.
Even less well-known is that Garcia was an early adopter of Macintosh computers as a means of creating digital art, of which he was at the forefront.
“Jerry always had sketchbooks on hand at home and while on tour” said Manasha Garcia, Jerry’s wife and co-founder of the Jerry Garcia Foundation. “He filled books with sketches and drawings in various media. As a family, we had fun creating art together. Often, his art served as a visual travelogue.”
Garcia’s artistic practice is characterized by a playful energy and a palette of intensely bright colors to depict the people, animals, landscapes, and psychedelic expressions inspired by The Dead’s relentless touring schedule and Garcia’s passion for environmental preservation and protection.
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Additionally, each piece has been lovingly animated by Jerry Garcia’s daughter, Keelin Garcia.
The Drop — November 8, 2022
Watercolor, circa 1989
“After we walked along the palm-lined Kona shores, Jerry sketched a memory of the breeze and sea to share with the world. How he loved the ocean, and the beauty of the island.” — Manasha Garcia
Trees are dancers swaying to welcome a new season of gratitude. Can you see the colors of the song they love?
Reluctant Dragon Smile
Once upon a volcano lived a little shy dragon without a name. The little dragon never smiled because he longed to have a name. One day a kind traveling minstrel ventured up to the volcano singing a joyful tune.
When the little dragon heard the beautiful song, he smiled reluctantly. The musician said to the little dragon, “Your name shall be Smile.” The two became the best of friends and started a garage band.