Artist's Biography - Grace Slick
( 10-30-39 - )
Grace Barnett Wing was born on October 30, 1939, in Evanston, a suburb of Chicago, Illinois to Ivan and Virginia Wing. Since her father was an investment banker, Grace more than likely received her artistic side from her mother Virginia who had been an actress and singer in the early '30s. When Grace was three years old, she and her family moved to Los Angeles. In 1945 they moved again settling in San Francisco. She stayed in San Francisco until she left to attend Finch College in New York (1957-58), a prestigious finishing school for girls. In 1959 she transferred to the University of Miami.
She would be beckoned back to San Francisco by a friend's letter in 1960 stating, "You have to come back. Things are starting to happen here." Back at home, Grace's beauty earned her a job as a couture floor model at the affluent store I. Magnin. When Grace Barnett Wing married Jerry Slick in August of 1961, the name Grace Slick was born.
In 1965, Grace read a story in the San Francisco Chronicle about a new band called Jefferson Airplane. A week later, she and Jerry checked out the band at the Matrix Club. After deciding that being in a rock band looked like a lot of fun and also paid much more than being a model, she formed a band called the Great Society. Making this band a real family affair, husband Jerry was the drummer and brother-in-law Darby Slick was the guitarist. They made their debut in the North Beach neighborhood of San Francisco on September 22, 1965. Shortly after they began opening for local bands including Jefferson Airplane. Columbia Records even offered the Great Society a recording contract (and would release two albums by the band after Grace found fame) but by the time the contract arrived in the mail, the Great Society was no more.
In September 1966 Jack Casady, the lead singer for Jefferson Airplane, asked Grace to join the group and replace Signe Anderson. Grace gladly accepted, and with that decision, began her ride into rock n' roll history. Shortly after joining Jefferson Airplane, the group went into the studio to record their second album. Grace contributed "White Rabbit", a song she wrote during her tenure with Great Society. Even then, Grace pushed the envelope to comment on a society that raised children with stories of girls like Alice who took drugs to change themselves, but condemned drug use by their own children. Unlike many of her contemporaries, Grace survived the age of easy drugs, but not without incident. She expressed herself to the delight of fans and the detriment of censors. She even once threatened to spike President Nixon's tea with LSD.
Grace's divorce from Jerry was final in 1971, but the marriage had reportedly been over long before that. In that same year, Grace had a daughter by Paul Kantner named China.
Grace has always had an expressive soul, which led her to artistic pursuits like music. Now her focus is turned to the visual arts. Some of her subjects are friends and fellow musicians, including Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and Jerry Garcia. She paints the souls of those to which she feels a true connection. Her portraits represent many things to many different people. Her art works, not unlike her life works, evoke an immediate and overwhelming response. Today, Grace is happily painting and living in Malibu, California.
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