Marcus Glenn the Grammy Artist
Imagine receiving a phone call from the officials who run the Grammy Awards telling you that you’re the official artist for their upcoming show.
For Marcus Glenn, the first of three artists featured in the “Detroit’s Finest” series of Park West Gallery exhibitions this summer, he doesn’t have to imagine – he lived it!
On December 17, 2013, the Recording Academy selected the Detroit native to create the official artwork for the 56th Annual Grammy Awards. The ceremony was held January 26, 2014, in Los Angeles. Now, over a year later, Glenn humbly – but fondly – recalls the experience and the impact it had on his artwork.
“The Grammys want you to represent music’s biggest night, so for me it was a big honor and truly an exciting moment in my career as a professional artist,” he says.
Glenn says the only limitation he had in creating the official artwork was that he had to use the iconic gramophone. Glenn’s artwork, “One Nite Outta This World,” is an acrylic on wood mixed media that depicts the Grammy’s gramophone floating in space, surrounded by planets and blasting colorful sounds.
A floating piano keyboard, peppered with colorful keys, twists and turns like a ribbon until the keys break away. Glenn says the keys represent music no longer belonging to a musician, and entering the universe to impact those that hear it.
The artwork was featured on posters, tickets, T-shirts and other official materials for the event, including the programs carried around by attendees.
“We got to California, and the image was plastered everywhere,” he says. “I really started feeling like a star.”
Park West Gallery CEO and Founder Albert Scaglione and his wife, Mitsie, had the pleasure of attending the awards show with Glenn and his wife, Yolanda. Albert remarked that the selection of a musically-inspired artist like Glenn was perfect for the Grammy awards.
“It’s an exciting opportunity for Marcus and is yet another example of the depth of talent that’s right here in Detroit,” he said.
Glenn says he had some competition for the Grammy art in the form of The Beatles. He says the famous band wanted the Grammy cover because it was their 50th anniversary of being introduced to the American market. Glenn actually had the chance to talk with Ringo Starr about it at the event.
He says at first Starr was grim, lamenting that Glenn had “beat” them, but later admitted to Glenn that they liked his artwork.
“That was a great experience for me to have my little battle with the Beatles,” Glenn says with a laugh.
As the official artist, Glenn was invited to celebrate at a Grammy event as well as attend the award show. The Glenns attended in style – to honor the occasion, Glenn made a custom purse featuring his artwork for Yolanda to carry as they made their way down the red carpet.
Attending such a spectacular event is bound to leave an impression, and Glenn was no exception. Glenn created his “Grammy 2014 series,” including “Key Steps to the Grammys” and “The Nite the Stars Felt Closer” based on his experiences.
“I was inspired to do pieces that reflect on the moment of just being on the red carpet and the whole experience,” Glenn says. “I had to come down off that natural high.”
Michigan was more than happy to celebrate alongside Glenn, from interviews with Detroit media outlets to recognition from local dignitaries. Representatives such as Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, Southfield Mayor Brenda Lawrence and Southfield City Council President Sylvia Jordan commended Glenn for his accomplishments. Glenn was even invited to throw the opening pitch at a Detroit Tigers game.