Today, the legendary Grateful Dead frontman, Jerry Garcia, would have turned 76. The beloved singer and guitarist became an icon within the counterculture and the music scene, with fans continuing to regularly find ways to honor Garcia. One such fan is Long Island-based mosaic artist Kevin Champeny, who has revealed a new piece, Touch Of Grey, as a tribute to Jerry Garcia. Commissioned by a lifelong fan and collector of Grateful Dead artwork, the patron asked that Champeny to finish Touch Of Grey before his birthday this year, so that all of us can enjoy it on this special day.

Touch Of Grey is composed of 25,000 individually hand-sculpted and cast urethane pieces, which the individual pieces representing aspects of Garcia’s life and drawing on lore and imagery from the Grateful Dead, including stealies, skulls, guitars, peace signs, dancing bears, pot leaves, and roses. Together, these small objects have been placed on a 48″ by 60″ canvas, and when viewed from afar, they come together to form one of Garcia’s iconic black-and-white headshots.

As Champeny shared about Jerry Garcia, “He was so much more than the guitarist and lead singer for the Grateful Dead; he was a father, a friend, an icon, and to some, god-like. I wanted to capture his spirit as it was entwined in his music and his personal life. He has, and will continue to touch people’s lives and this homage to him is my way to honor his legacy.”

The patron, who prefers to remain anonymous, shared his thoughts on Champeny’s intricate Grateful Dead-inspired piece, “I am mesmerized by the amount of work that went into this thing. I can’t imagine the patience required to create 25,000 miniature sculptures and then place each one by hand to come up with such a cool image. Each day we look at it we find something new, whether it be a hidden piece or a powerful symbol.”

You can check out a gallery of photos and watch a promotional video detailing Kevin Champeny’s tribute to Jerry Garcia, Touch Of Grey, below. For more information on the artist or to see his other pieces, head to Champeny’s website here.


[Video: Kevin Champeny]