Elizabeth Grilli ~ What you are, I was. What I am, you will be.

Elizabeth Grilli ~ What you are, I was. What I am, you will be.

I remember the first time I saw Liz’s work. She entered a few images for the show at the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art which took place almost two years ago. The one that got voted into the show was a very distressed self-portrait, kind of zombie-goth and very intense. I think I still have it.

From the beginning, her work has been unique, whether a self-portrait, a seagull, or a haunting picture of the forest. She handled black-and-white and color images equally well.  I remember one stunning image where she over-laid  a drawing she had done (and photographed) on her face … unique and beautiful … but there have been many stunning images.

She brings the eye of someone who can actually draw and paint to our iphonic art form, along with a reverence for nature and a mystical undercurrent I always find fascinating.

It is always a pleasure to see her work come in.

The video I wanted to post for Liz’s picture was Bob Dylan’s Sad Eyed Lady Of The Lowlands, but I couldn’t find it anywhere on youtube. Very strange, dozens of covers of it, but not one of his achingly beautiful, timeless original recording. So … a consolation prize. (Did a little research: here is why.)

Just Like A Woman by Richie Havens.

I remember the Berkeley Folk Festival of 1967 on lower Sproul Hall Plaza on the UC Berkeley Campus. It was a sunny afternoon and the mostly unknown folk-singer Richie Havens came on stage and forty-five minutes or so later, after a transcendent set before a completely transfixed audience, left the stage as a bona fide superstar. I can almost remember him singing this song, but I’m afraid it is a little too long ago. I do remember the thunderous ovation he received.

Several months later, I saw Pink Floyd play their first show in America at Bill Graham’s Winterland. They opened for Richie Havens and the headliners, Big Brother and the Holding Company, with Janis Joplin. We smoked some really strong pot coming over the bridge from Berkeley. At Winterland, I got separated from my friends while Pink Floyd played. Syd Barrett was dancing around the stage like a madman. They scared the shit out of me and I became convinced that Earth had been invaded from outer space. Those were the days.

I often liken these days of iphonic art to the scene in San Francisco in the years right before the San Francisco sound burst into the national consciousness during the Summer of Love: still underground, still full of explosive creative energy. All new and old and timeless and funny and scary and beautiful all at once.

For a time, I thought I could perhaps pull a Bill Graham and bring this art form fully into public acceptance, but it has hit me recently that I am in fact just another crazy fellow artist—who saw the emergent talent three years ago and was lucky (and stubborn) enough to assist in the stewardship of the movement with the curation here—and I am quite happy with that realization, and proud of what we have done here. Nice company to be in. :)


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