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Celebrity Collector: Actor Richard Grieco Paints in a New Direction

by Reyne Haines (07/24/12).

“My Emptiness,” original oil on canvas painting by Richard Grieco, was the top-selling lot in an auction benefiting Aids Project of Los Angeles.

Long-time actor Richard Grieco is taking his creativity to the next level. He’s going from the big screen to a big canvas. Over the last 20 years, Grieco has developed a hidden talent little knew about; painting.

Always painting for personal pleasure, Grieco had never considered selling his work but friend and fellow artist Dennis Hopper urged him to share his creativity with the world. Grieco’s ability to translate emotion on to canvas is easy to see. It’s no wonder his fans have responded so positively.

I caught up with Grieco recently and spoke more about his art, inspiration and what is coming up for the emerging artist. Having painted for nearly 20 years, I was quite surprised to learn he had never really shown his work before. Until recently, he occasionally uploaded photos of finished paintings to his Facebook page or Twitter.

“I was amazed at the response I have received from simply uploading photos of my art to my Facebook page” said Grieco. “My paintings have found homes with art collectors and fans all over the world.” Grieco is all too modest. He has actually sold hundreds of thousands of dollars of artwork off the two social media pages.

With the response being so positive, he decided to move forward with a website showcasing new works and sold items.

Grieco’s work has been compared to that of Jackson Pollock and Willem DeKooning. Ironically, he told me his is most inspired by artists painting much earlier such as Michelangelo, Van Gogh, Bacon, Klimt and Pollock.

Grieco donated one of his paintings for a recent benefit auction that was facilitated world-renowned auction house Bonham’s. Celebrities and art lovers attended the Art Project Los Angeles—the third annual red-carpet art auction and gala event benefiting to Aids Project of Los Angeles. The event raised more than $180,000 for APLA, which provides direct care services and HIV prevention programs to more than 11,000 Angelenos. Grieco’s “My Emptiness” landed as highest-bid item.

Richard Grieco with comedienne Katty Griffin at the ArtProject LA auction. (Courtesy IPR)

The evening began with a slew of celebrity guest arrivals on the red carpet, which was actually a grassy trail that served as the first introduction to the “California” theme of the evening. Celebrity guests included Grieco, Kathy Griffin, Robert Herjavec (“Shark Tank”), Alex Lombard (“Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter”), Alfred Molina (“Chocolat,” “Raiders of the Lost Ark”), Mark Ordesky (“The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring”), Judy Tenuta and Marni Wing.

More than 180 pieces of art from a range of media—including photography, ceramics, oil paints, mixed media and more—were donated to, and featured in, the silent auction.

“I’m excited to have one of my paintings selling in the same venue as Marc Chagall, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Ed Ruscha.”

Next for Grieco is his first individual art exhibition, now being put together for a gallery in Las Vegas and slated to open in November of this year.

You can follow Grieco on Twitter at Richard_Grieco.

Reyne Haines is an appraiser with an expertise in 20th Century Decorative Arts. She hosts “The Art of Collecting” on KPRC in Houston, a weekly program spotlighting trends and news items in the world of antiques & collectibles, is a repeat guest on CBS’ “The Early Show” and can be heard on Martha Stewart Living Radio on Sirius Satellite Radio Network. She is also the author of the richly-illustrated book “Vintage Watches” published by Krause.

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2 Responses to “Celebrity Collector: Actor Richard Grieco Paints in a New Direction”

  1. Congrats Reyne Haines for this fabulous article!! two thumbs up!!

  2. Emile Foisy says:

    Very cool stuff. It’s really great Grow supports such art!

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