IMG 7984

Saturday, July 30th, was an amazing night at Creature Features, as we launched my new book, Gris Grimly’s Tales From The Brothers Grimm. On display were thirty framed original watercolor paintings from the book in the gallery space of the store. But to get there, you had to pass through a small room that was designed and decorated by my wife and a handful of friends. This space transported the individual to a mystical world preying on all possible senses. Before the curtains even parted, the aroma of dewy pine trees and spiced gingerbread cottages IMG 7945indicated that another world existed beyond. Within the room, earthy turquoise walls and incense calmed the soul, preparing the mind for a heightened sense of consciousness. The overgrowth of ferns, moss and other fauna let you forget the urban world you came from and enticed a carefree existence within this enchanted realm. It was a spiritual domain, cloaked in sacred tapestries and laced linens, dimly lit by candles and mythical orbs.

The 19th Century resonated during the research that took place in and around production of the book. Grimms Fairy Tales are a collection of Germanic folk tales that have no author and date back beyond generations as they were handed down through verbal storytelling. Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm took on the scholarly roles to collect these tales and publish them in 1812. But it is the 1884 translation by Margaret Raine Hunt that I chose to focus on for the reprinting of the classic. The years in-between, and the events that occurred, shaped the tone and content of these didactic stories. I chose to set the stories and it’s characters in the Edwardian period that shortly followed. It seems to be the last age of magick, where although science was exposingfolklore at a rapid pace, superstition, devils and sorcery could still exist in unexplored regions of the woods and caves. This is the foundation of the book that I created, and I took it upon myself to create that experience at the event, by hunting down antiquated devices, utensils, furniture and taxidermy.

IMG 7986Signs of life and death abound all around, deep in the shadows, around corners and overhead. A mounted “wolf” guarded the entrance to the gallery. A royal frog anxiously waited upon his perch to steal kisses from beautiful maidens. The earthly remains of roebuck and faun lay scattered among the mulch floor and strewn over gypsy tables. The observant eye may have even caught a glimpse of an abnormally long lock of flaxen hair weaving throughout thickets of branches. The ancient melodies of folk songs representing Poland, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Romania, and other European countries, danced through the humid air in a composition of fiddle, dulcimer, nyckelharpa, flute, accordion, and violin. Two spirited drinks were concocted and offered. The first, a favorite of mine called Faithful John, was a smoked whiskey enriched with Eastern spices, aromatic herbs, and a hint of anise. Smoldering rosemary unleashed a wormwood enchantment. The second, called Seven Ravens, was a sweet black berry infused Grauburgunder, whose amethyst transformed before your eyes. It was crisp, decadent, and bewitching. A gallery of baroque and romantic paintings were displayed in the room, reminding the contemporary multitude, that we were once a theistic species who feared God, conflicted with the devil, and believed in magick.

Once beyond this sensory experience, the individual was IMG 7881changed and thus prepared to exhibit the artwork from Gris Grimly’s Tales From The Brothers Grimm. Or, at least that was my intention as I felt it was important that the viewer share the same consciousness I had when I approached the cautionary tales for illustration. I was in the gallery through the duration of the event, mostly sitting at a Victorian table that was overtaken by moss, sipping whiskey and signing the new book for attendees. Every book purchased that night received a sketch of the Frog King. By the end of the night, I was drawing Frog Kings in my sleep.

Along with the exhibit and book signing, I released new limited edition prints and other merchandise to sell at the event. One print that was released exclusively for the event (and sold out) was an irregularly sized reproduction of Rapunzel from the book. We also released a signed and limited edition set for Cinderella, Hansel and Gretel and Little Red Cap. These prints are currently available in the store. We will also be releasing a limited edition print of The Frog King. Follow me on any of my network sites to be informed when this happens. I am also happy to have released the first set of enamel pins in an ongoing collection that I will be releasing regularly. This first design is the Frog King lifted straight from the cover of the book. He was released in both emerald green and the limited numbered edition of the albino variant. All of which are available in the store with only a couple albino variant pins left.

Screen Shot 2016 08 22 At 8 28 16 PM

Overall, it was an unforgettable time. Old fans/new fans, old friends/new friends, and strange vagrants who just happened to stumble in for free booze, participated in a magickal evening that occurred once, and will exist in history as “Once upon a time…”. This is the way I like to celebrate the release of a new book. Gris Grimly’s Tales From The Brothers Grimm was ideal for such a big festivity and beckons fantastical set designs. But I plan on approaching future book releases in the same way, collaborating with my wife, and friends, to deliver a once in a lifetime experience that will one day feel like a dream.


Grimm Release Ad

As the street date approaches for my new book, Gris Grimly’s Tales From The Brothers Grimm, I meet it with preparation and anticipation for a launch at Creature Features July 30th. I had a great experience collaborating with them on The Halloween Tree last year, but due to my involvement working a nine-to-five at Disney TV Animation, we were unable to make the experience more than a book signing and art exhibit. This time, we are planning a righteous release. Rather than hosting the event in the afternoon, we are opening doors to the public in the evening, providing refreshments and ambiance. This is an all ages show. There will be a gallery exhibition of 30 framed original watercolors from the book that will be framed, hung and offered for sale. The book contains over eighty illustrations, with most of them reproduced in black and white. But all of the paintings were achieved in beautiful sepias, auburns and indigo. This is your chance to see them IN PERSON and in full color.

This is a book launch party, and it wouldn’t be sensical without a proper signing. We will have plenty of hardcover 1st editions in stock. I will be meandering about, enjoying the festivities, enchanted spirits, and ready with pen to sign your book. All books purchased from Creature Features that night will receive a special sketch of the frog king on the title page accompanying my signature. Gris Grimly’s Tales From The Brothers Grimm is a 278-page book with over 70 black and white illustrations and 10 full color tip-ins. It is a reprinting of the 1884 translation by Margaret Raine Hunt, then called Grimm’s Household Tales. I found this translation to be the most authentic version, full of gruesome conclusions, didactic themes, and primitive values. This is what I think of when I think of folk tales.

We will be releasing limited edition reproductions from a few of the classic images in the book. These prints will premiere at the book launch with an event exclusive price. After the event, any prints that are available, will be released to the public on my webstore. We will also be premiering a new enamel lapel pin for the event in extremely limited quantities. Other trickeries fester up my sleeve and will be announced at the definitive moment. Stay connected with me on instagram, facebook, or twitter for current updates on these event items, the event itself, or non sequitur posts that have no bearing of importance whatsoever.

click to RSVP with your presence

Be Grim!
Gris Grimly


crow raven funeral gris grimly

As a young man, I was fascinated with folklore of the Phoenix. This mythological bird is said to obtain new life by rising from the ashes of its predecessor. I believe that strength comes from burying the old, allowing the self to persevere with greater wisdom and craft. This is precisely the state of the Mad Creator.

For the past few years I’ve been on a pilgrimage. I may not have been searching, but nonetheless I discovered myself, not just as an identity, but also artistically and spiritually. This started with a cross-country road trip with my wife (then girlfriend) to meet my family in my home state of Nebraska. I have not taken the journey through the heartland since my travels moving to Los Angeles back in 1998. For years following, I would travel from city to city by plane, never experiencing the back roads, the communities, and the people in-between. This trip with my wife brought awareness to a structure of America that I had forgotten, the pulse of the people that make up the nervous system of our vast country. I rediscovered my roots and found a part of myself that I had turned my back on. I came home from this odyssey a changed man, unable to return to who I once was, and incapable of finding peace in the world I exist; I became homesick with an insatiable need to be healed.

From this fever, I became fascinated with Naturalism and Regionalism. While finding new interests in painters like Norman Rockwell, Grant Wood, Charles M Russell, and Andrew Wyeth, I explored new styles in realism with my own art. Although I do not find honesty with myself painting solely realistic, these exercises became crucial in the development of my rebirth. The artist I am evolving to be has taken these lessons and applied them to my gothic-whimsical sensibilities.

Another critical moment was the day my son was born. This only strengthened the lineage to my own father and my upbringing. I was reintroduced to childhood books and illustrators that I had no idea influenced me as much as they did, like Mercer Mayer, Holly Hobbie, and Richard Scarry. These involuntary influences have seeded my subconscious and can be identified in my work by the scrupulous eye, but having been brought to my attention, will come to full fruition in the works to come. While raising a toddler, I’ve gained a critical eye toward my work and the classics that I have an affinity for. I apprehend in my previous work that I was targeting an older audience. I was making children’s books for adults who like children’s books. With my son growing daily by my side, it is a constant gauge of innocence; I witness his imagination, his weaknesses, and his fears. He is an inspiration for me to make books for him and children alike.

These are drastic transformations for any individual to endure. But I anticipate this change with faith and confidence and look forward to the journey. We all have paths plotted out that lead to our graves, and our guts tell us when we stray. Throughout my pilgrimage, through challenges and tribulations, it has always felt natural. While there are things surfacing and new visions coming to light, I am still Gris Grimly. Foremost, I am a fan of monsters, horror movies and Halloween. The Macabre is as much a part of me as my rural upbringing. In conclusion, this honest revival will beget more authentic and innocent results.

This metamorphosis called for an equally transcendental change to my website. I’ve wanted to update my antiquated site for years, with something that is more user-friendly and present. When I originally launched my site, it was congruent with other flash sites of the time. But that was a decade ago and flash sites are surely becoming obsolete. With the help of Graphic Designer Damion Wagner, this new site was created to meet current standards; it is easy to update, it is representative of who I am today, and it will work on all technological formats. That means, finally, my store will be smart phone compatible. I’ve acquired the URL grisgrimly.com, which is long overdue, so now you can access my site through the obvious as well as madcreator.com. I’m more than thrilled with how it turned out as we move forward into a new era.

“The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”