Grace Slick: From Rock Icon to Artist

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By Taylor Van Arsdale

Legendary rock singer Grace Slick’s eyes still sparkle; although her signature jet-black hair has been replaced by a long grey plait. She is refined and seems comfortable in her own skin, almost serene. It’s hard however to contain my excitement at meeting the rock icon—a woman whose decade plus long career with Jefferson Airplane and later with Jefferson Starship was the reason I started singing (though my foray into music didn’t last quite as long)—and whose musical career had such an impact on my own life. And yet, here she is at the Art One Gallery in Santa Monica, for a private showing of her 420 Collection; a series of paintings promoting the Marijuana Policy Project—dedicated to end prohibition and ensure safe and legal access to medical cannabis.

Her penchant for art began when Slick was a lot younger but she admits, “I’m not good at multi-tasking. I do one thing at a time—one man, one house, one job, one child. When [Jerry] Garcia was on the road he used to bring his paints with him. I could never do that. If I was being a rock-star, I was being a rock-star.”

Her art is upbeat and colorful and epitomizes, as she describes, “Rock & Roll.” Slick doesn’t have one particular style. She simply draws and paints what she feels. Looking at her work you will find portraits of Janis Joplin and Stevie Ray Vaughn crafted with an innate realism across the room from more cartoon-like depictions of “white rabbits” smoking joints. It’s an eclectic mix yet, all of it incredibly thoughtful and moving.

The artist’s endeavor began when her literary agent suggested she paint rock stars, and Slick says, “I was depressed, living with a guy who was crazy and I had to do something.” Slick is encouraged that more than a few items have sold. “It makes me happy that people respond to my work. They may not see what I see in the piece but they connect to something and that’s extremely gratifying.”

For more information on Slick’s paintings contact [email protected] and for more info on the Marijuana Policy Project check out


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