Grey Grimm is a Colorado-based artist who has made her mark on the canvas, paper, and digital page. Her multi-faceted art style is beautiful and a wonder to watch. We've interviewed Grey to get her take on niching down and staying creative.
Is Grey Your Real Name?
Hi! What's Your Name and the Name of your creative business?
My name is Grey Grimm and my business name is also Grey Grimm! With a given name as cool as that, how could I not? Thank you, mom and dad for thinking ahead.
Who would you say is your clientele?
I would say my clientele varies a bit but for the past few years I have worked with a lot of wedding parties, restaurants and other small businesses--especially for my chalkboard layouts. I also take on comissions, and have done some maternity work, new born drawings, as well as some more theatrical peices like the still from Grand Buddapest Hotel. I have also worked with Boulder Lifestyle Magazine doing digital illustrations.
How The Apple Falls
How'd You get started on this creative path?
My late father was a big inspiration, and from what I've learned his mother before was creative in both painting and sewing. My first works were sidewalk chalk, no wonder I kept that going, but I was also exposed to acrylic, pastel, and oils at a fairly young age. My father was a gifted caricature artist, and I imagine I gained my skill for recreating and/or using references from watching him. He re-created several Art Deco travel poster pieces with Acrylic as well as showcasing his skills with a re-created Rene Gruau portrait, which I subsequently re-painted after his death in 2017.
While my father took the path toward PR, he also set up my first still-life for me and was also deeply devoted to film. My mother is also terribly creative and used her writing skills in PR, as well as radio where she has been a DJ with KGNU and other networks. She also wrote a book about all of the haunted houses in Boulder! Not to leave out my sister who is also very creatively driven; she was moved by film as well and is currently an agent in LA working with photographers. I guess you could very easily say it does, in fact, run in the family.
Was there a pivot point for you/ burning bush moment that made you really dive into your creativity? Or niche down?
I was always involved in art in one way or another, I worked at a restaurant for 10 years where I was a bartender and server, as well as being the social media coordinator, photographer, and chalkboard guru. During that time I was simultaneously getting my degree(s)--I first started learning graphic design in 2009 at the Art Institute of Denver, but it didn't feel quite right, so I left after a couple quarters and started at Front Range in Longmont, at that point I wasn't sure what I wanted to focus on...
...I took pottery and drawing, but I also found an intense passion for environmental science and biology. My final degree was Science and I used that to transfer into the EBIO (Evolutionary Biology & Ecology) program at CU Boulder in 2013.
"if someone is hung-up on what you do to make money over who you are or who you're trying to become, they're not the person(s) to invest too much energy in..."
When I reached the University level I struggled a lot more than I had previously--I had a hell of a time keeping up with physics and chemistry specifically, not to mention genetics. To stay in school I had to take summer classed and get a certain GPA boost to be eligible to register in the fall. So, knowing what I had previously excelled in, I took a intro art class. I don't know if it was some sort of light-bulb moment, but I realized if I wanted to graduate, and enjoy any of my time working on my degree, I was in the wrong major. As soon as I made the decision life felt better, and in 2016 I graduated with a Dual Major in Art History and Studio Practices.
If you could give younger you one piece of advice what would it be?
Don't worry so much about what people will think--it's a cliche for a reason--do what makes you happy and if someone is hung-up on what you do to make money over who you are or who you're trying to become, they're not the person(s) to invest too much energy in. It's also worth noting that finding out what you DON'T like (what might sometimes be referred to as failure) is JUST as important as finding out what you DO like--it's how you'll know the difference, and maybe have the answer when you start to have more opportunities. Lastly, don't take shit from people! Especially true for freelancers, don't let someone take advantage of you because you're worried about missing out on the opportunity or the exposure or the money, there's always more where that came from--and likely it will be from people or companies you actually WANT to be in business with.
Keepin' it light...
Books, baby! From your local indie bookstore—you'll be supporting so many artists, writers, and shop owners by buying books from a small business. And if you can, preorder that title you have your eye on...If you need recommendations I utterly loved: Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune, The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward, The Perishing by Natashia Deón
What do you want to plug? Products? IG follow? Where can we get more Grey Grimm?
Instagram is the best place to see the most recent stuff I've been working on; and also to get a further glimpse into my personal life, what dumb meme I find hilarious that day, and the occasional cat spam. (@greygrimm)