Dan Grzeca is a longtime partner artist of IPaintMyMind, and a screen printing master. He works and lives in Chicago, but has had work exhibited all over the country. He has created posters and other visual material for tons of well known bands including the likes of U2 and the Black Keys!
If you’re a Chicagoan, you probably recognize Dan’s unique style from events at local venues like the Empty Bottle or the Hideout. That’s something we love about Dan Grzeca: his deep roots to the Chicago community. We also admire the accessibility that he has built into his work, using print making to be able to sell pieces of art for lower price points, and making his work available to more people. As someone who began collecting art through concert posters and art prints, this stance is close to my heart.
Read on to learn about Dan Grzeca’s inspirations, teaching his daughter to draw owls, and what it’s like to work with bands like Phish.
EVAN: For those who somehow don’t know of you – who the hell is Dan Grzeca (pronounced “Jetsah”)?!
Dan Grzeca: I’m an artist on the North Side of Chicago. I’ve been turning my drawings into screenprints for the last 12 years or so. Probably longer. My mind gets fuzzy when I think back farther than 10 years as it reminds me that I’m not 20 anymore.
EVAN: People who are into screenprints know about you whether they’re in Chicago or not. Can you trace your success back to a particular project that has kept peoples’ eyes on your work since?
Dan Grzeca: Hmmm. I wouldn’t say a particular project per se. More likely the cumulative build up of working with bands that now have a larger following (Black Keys), and Chicago-based musicians that now have a worldwide following (Ken Vandermark). I think working to make posters for visiting musicians from the European Jazz scene helped to get my name out overseas a bit. Frank Kozik said that making a poster for a band was like making a giant business card for your artwork, and I think he is correct. People that follow my art may have originally been attracted to a poster I made for a music event etc.
EVAN: What can you say about the expansion and growing popularity of screen prints amidst the modern art landscape? I’ve always felt that the price points on screen prints have enabled a level of accessibility that maybe wasn’t established in the art world previously…
Dan Grzeca: Exactly. It’s taking the Diego Rivera philosophy of art literally, in that it’s something everyone can have. Making that a reality, is very appealing to me. I love to paint, but I can’t sell my paintings for $50. I can sell a lot of art prints for $30–$100 and people get a beautiful piece of art to hang in their home. In general, in the art world, as far as gallery sales go – screenprints go for a higher price but the editions are smaller or the artist is famous. Like Jeff Koons famous.
EVAN: What’s more fun, making a poster for a Phish show or doing a random art print?
Dan Grzeca: Well, I appreciate paying work, for sure, and all the bands I’ve worked with have helped me to pay my bills. The dynamic of making a poster for a band is different for sure. I think of some way to make what I’m doing, in my visual vocabulary, work with the band in question. I’m always working on art prints…I have sketchbooks with themes to make prints for the next 2 years, its all about having the time to get them all done. There is a definite undercurrent to everything I work on, no question about it. So, I love making prints, and I love doing something rad and fun for a band like the Jesus Lizard. It’s all good…
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