Have you ever met an independent, no-nonsense artist, who was so fed up with everyone doing the same thing that he literally broke out of the box in 3 Dimensions? If the answer is “no”, then say hello to one the country’s newest, most popular and up-and-coming artists, Mr. Gary Kroman! I call him “The Godfather of Modern Painted 3D Plexiglass Art”
Gary “The Godfather” Kroman, a New York City native, is currently a huge inspiration for aspiring artists as well as a huge success amongst fans and clients. He initially began working independently as a freelance illustrator in 1972. Gary worked extensively for advertising agencies and magazines. In 1973, he met with the people at Relix magazine and began illustrating for their prestigious magazine. Inspired by Rick Griffin, Kelly and Mouse and most of the San Francisco comic and poster artists of the late sixties and early seventies, Gary created volumes of posters, magazine covers, album covers, and tee shirts.
His posters, most notably, the 100 Grateful Dead songs, Sunshine Daydream, Summer of Love 20th year anniversary, and Dead Serenade, are licensed and sold to various companies in many categories and are still traded and sold all over the world to this day.
He was shown, most recently, at the J. B. Kline Gallery in Lambertville, N.J., and was spotlighted at the Hard Rock Vault’s 30 Years of Grateful Dead Art exhibition at their gallery in Orlando, FL. He has also been involved in higher end rock and roll auction houses such as Guernsey’s 40 Years Of Rock and Roll. He is well published and is featured in the Paul Grushkin book “The Art Of Rock” Vol. 1.
After more than 30 years of doing traditional painting and drawing techniques he realized it was getting old. Everyone was doing the same thing and he wanted to experiment with new techniques. Everything seemed so flat. He saw some glass paintings and liked the “floating” aspect of an image seeming to be hanging in space. He then acquired different kinds of glass and played with laying paint on the front and back of the glass and saw more dimensionality occurring. After doing some shows and realizing how fragile the glass was, he was seeking a good replacement.
To his rescue, Gary’s daughter had found some plexiglass and gave it to him, thinking that it might be a good idea to try working on. After working on that one piece, he realized what materials and media would work. He then mounted it on a plain white board to lay space between the plexi and the backboard. It seemed to work much better than the glass and the dimensionality became immediately apparent. It was the start of a new type of art, 3D Plexiglass Art!
After creating a few more pieces, he began adding textures and different materials for added dimensionality and doing more work on the backboard. “Each piece opens a new avenue and asks more questions for the next piece such as what if I add this or that?” Gary states. “Or how about a different mounting technique or a mixed media background and lining up the front image more exactly with the back image?” explains Gary.
Currently, his subject matter is iconic celebrities and what that persona means. Celebrities such as Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, Jerry Garcia, Alfalfa, John Lennon, Steve McQueen, Mick Jagger, Johnny Cash, Marilyn Monroe, Fin Grande, Marlon Brando, Sophia Loren, George Harrison, Janis Joplin, Stevie Ray Vaughan, The Grateful Dead, Dave Grohl and a huge yet-to-be-finished list of other iconic celebrities such as Bruce Lee and Babe Ruth! Each piece makes a statement about that particular person and really makes you think, such as the piece with Kurt Cobain holding a gun with a Love Dove floating in the background. Every new piece goes a little further to enhance the “hanging in space” dimensional view as well.
More About Gary:
When I asked Gary what motivates and inspires him, he simply stated, “As the older poster artists inspire so do the newer street artists such as Shepard Fairey and Banksy. Almost any art will inspire me. Especially the masters. I see so much talent all over but what motivates me is the fact that I’m doing something I’ve never seen before and the horizon seems endless. I can do a new painting and experiment and learn from the last piece and either add old elements or try something different. I live to learn and it’s exciting to constantly create something altogether new and never seen before.”
“Sometimes it’s just music that will do it to me. Being a musician I understand the creation of good music and art and it’s a pretty similar process. If I listen to some moving music that feeds my creativity as well. Most of the time when I create I’ll have some favorites playing. I’m sure most artists will do that. It’s about creating a mood, a feeling or telling a story and trying to convey that to someone else.”
His Professional Artist advice to other artists is to find their “specific unique style”, and statement you want to make even though it may come late in life. Do not give up. After all, some of the best artists in history started their professional careers very late in life. He also says to experiment with any and all materials and ideas you can find to see where your interests and talents lie.
When I asked him what keeps him going and what’s next for him, he humbly stated, “There’s nothing else I want to do except maybe play music. Both are all about creating and learning.“ A true artist answer.
His fan base is currently growing quite rapidly. A lot of people know him for his rock and roll art from when he was doing a lot of magazine covers, album covers, posters and concert material, but he is now inundated with customers wanting commissioned pieces of his plexiglass art. He gets emails all the time questioning about what he has for sale, how much to do commissioned art. He even gets calls about purchasing some of his old art prints and where they can find some of his old art.
It’s funny, Gary doesn’t submit anything for competitions. He doesn’t feel the need to compete. However, he remembers winning an art award a couple of years ago for best painting at an outdoor art festival.
Finally, I asked Gary about his goals and if he feels he has accomplished them? He stated, “I have hit plateaus and hit my mark on some pieces but I’m far from achieving all my goals. I’m always looking forward to my next piece that will go to the next level.”
It is extremely rare to meet an artist who creates pieces that not only tell a story and captivate the mind, but also draw you in and create a large amount of what I call the “WOW EFFECT”!!! You really have to see one of his pieces in person to get a feel for the 3 Dimensional aspects of his gorgeous works of art and the little extras he adds to bring the piece to life!
Visit Gary’s website now to see his extensive gallery of fine plexiglass art and paintings at:
Email him directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org ; Find him on Facebook at: Gary Kroman Art ; Or Call 917-747-2760 to order one of his limited edition 1 of 1 unique 3D Plexiglass Paintings today! He will even create your very own piece for you, just let him know what you want and Gary will bring that piece to life like you never could have imagined!
Welcome to the future with a delicious taste of the past!