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Famed Detroit Music Poster Artist Passes

Famed Detroit music poster artist Gary Grimshaw died on Monday (January 13) at the age of 67 after a long illness.

Grimshaw, who was raised in Lincoln Park, just outside Detroit, and was a close friend of future MC5 frontman Roby Tyner, was best known as the resident artist for the band as well as for Detroit's Grande Ballroom, creating striking and groundbreaking images that influenced generations of visual artists who followed.

Grimshaw also worked during the 60s for the Rainbow Peoples Party, the Detroit Artists Workshop and Trans-Love Energies, and he was the Minister of Art for the White Panther Party. He was also responsible for overturning the city of Detroit's obscenity ordinance in 1969, when the Michigan Court of Appeals overturned a lower court ruling that one of his works was obscene.

Besides posters Grimshaw also contributed artwork to the Ann Arbor Sun, the San Francisco Oracle and other underground publications, and he was associate art director for Creem magazine.

MC5 guitarist Wayne Kramer told us Monday that, "As kids, Gary Grimshaw was the best artist in our neighborhood. We drew hot rod cars and he knew the secret of how to capture chrome, which made him the coolest to a Downriver greaser like me. Of course, Gary became a truly great artist and friend and his art made the world a more beautiful place."

He and photographer Leni Sinclair published the book "Detroit Rocks: A Pictorial History of Motor City Rock and Roll (1965 to 1975)" during 2012, and in recent years he had begun actively exhibiting and licensing his work -- which has also been displayed at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame + Museum in Cleveland.

Grimshaw is survived by his wife, Laura, and their son Alan, who is also an artist and designer. Memorial arrangements have not yet been announced but "A Night of Grand Love" benefit for Grimshaw was previously scheduled for March 22 at the Macomb Music Theatre in Mount Clemens.