5Qs with Gris Grimly

Gris Grimly in Day of the Dead maskThis week on Dead Deco‘s 5Qs, we have Gris Grimly of the Mad Creator Productions.  For those of you that are not familiar with Gris’ work, we highly recommend picking up a copy of The Dangerous Alphabet as an introduction.  (It’s mr.Lou’s favorite)  Gris Grimly is a master artist adored by both children and adults for his own unique blend of macabre and humor, and he is our special guest today.

Dead Deco:  Thank you for taking time during this hectic season to answer our 5Qs.  How did you first learn about the Day of the Dead?

Gris Grimly:  I’m a white farm boy from the Midwest.  So I wasn’t exposed to cultural folk art and traditions unless it was Native American or Scandinavian. Even then, ancestral pride really wasn’t witnessed until I moved to Southern California.  So my first exposure to anything Day of the Dead would have been the cover art of an Oingo Boingo album.  Those album covers attracted me but it wasn’t until I moved to Los Angeles that I was fully exposed to the culture.

DD:  What is your favorite Day of the Dead tradition?

GG:  Buying the paper mache skull masks and painting them. (like the one shown above)

DD:  How does your community respond to Day of the Dead?

GG:  Los Angeles has to be one of the most ambitious American cities to celebrate Day of the Dead.  There is a community festival at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.  I’ve gone to that a few times and it is a killer time. Food, music, dances, costumes and shrines.  There is also Lucha VaVoom which is stimulation overload.  It’s more of a Halloween celebration, but there’s authentic Mexican masked luchadores and it’s held at the Mayan theater.  It’s very appropriate for Day of the Dead celebrating.  There are events all over the neighboring communities like Covina, Whittier and not-so-far-away in Santa Ana and San Diego.  I love living in SoCal.

DD:  Do you have a particular Day of the Dead artist whose work you admire?

GG:  My attraction to the Oingo Boingo albums lead to Jose Posada.  I have become a huge fan of this political cartoonist who has influenced my work greatly.  I was even lucky to see an exhibition of his illustrations in Mexico City a few years ago.  That trip to Mexico alone was a huge inspiration on me as an artist.

DD:  Is there anything else about Day of the Dead that you would like to share?

GG:  I don’t fear death. I only fear pain. But unfortunately pain is an illusion and death is very, very real.

DD:  Thank you Gris Grimly for that personal insight and for those SoCal celebration tips.  Be sure to visit MadCreator.com to find out more about Gris Grimly’s current projects including children’s books, films and art.

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s