Herb was born on 10 July 1936 on Chicago's West side to Polish immigrants. He displayed an artistic desire and talent from age five.

Herb received his Bachelors of Art degree from the Chicago Art Institute and the University of Chicago. His Masters of Art degree came with a major in film from the Pratt Institute in New York City.

During his U.S. Army service, he worked as an illustrator in Army Intelligence at the Pentagon. Much of this time was during the Bay of Pigs conflict. Here, in Washington D.C. he met and married Sergeant Mary Ellen Lively. After duty hours in the local Ft. Myer, VA army theater, Mary Ellen produced and directed plays. Together, they acted there. Herb designed and built theatrical stage sets. After service, he went to NYC.

Two years later, he was hired by the Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD). As a professor at MCAD for 34 years, Herb has had numerous exhibits and has won many awards. He participated in a Fulbright Exchange and taught in England for a year at the Nelson/Colgne College of Art and has also organized students in Tuscany, Italy with painting instruction and historic excursions.

As a member of an art group called Fort Mango, Herb began his exploration of influential personages in 1980 with a piece titled: "A Plato What?: Homage to Plato." Now 20 years later he has recently completed his eighth deep investigation into the life and influence of another prominant person in history: Benjamin Franklin.

Each subject has a number of small pieces done about him, while Herb is searching for the best way to bring that person's life in focus for the enlarged works that contain two and three-dimensional material.

There are concepts that each final piece must fulfill. Not only must the subject be represented but the following must also be present, such as oil painting – Herb's primary medium and to that end, each final piece must contain recognizable portraiture.

Each piece must contain an item that came from the country of origin of the subject.

Contracted item. Herb feels that he should share with the entire art community. One way that he achieves this is by including items that are crafted by another artisan.

Humor. Puns, graffiti and cartoons are prominent aspects in each of the final pieces.

Throughout this site, you will get to know the dynamic people throughout history that has influenced Herb's life in some way. One would hope that you will come to understand Herb by how he views these peoples lives.

Herb's tribute to "Charlemagne, Charmed Man: Homage to Charlemagne," has been purchased by the Ludwig Forum fur Internationale Kunst, the modern art museum in Aachen, Germany. The work was scheduled to centerpiece an exhibition at the museum and to be the focus of a festival celebrating the 1200th year anniversary of Charlemagne's imperial coronation. Herb was also commissioned to create a three night performance with 1200 candles in the courtyard of the Aachen Cathedral (built for Charlemagne in 800AD.) Details of Grika's sculpture and candle display may be seen here.

Last year, his huge "Self-Portrait", 20 ft. x 14 ft. high was featured in the exhibition "Twisted Minnesota Artists," mounted by the Weisman Art Museum at the University of Minnesota.

Grants and awards include:
2000 McKnight Travelling Award
1996 Florsheim Foundation Award
1991 McKnight Foundation Fellowship
1983 Association of Independent Colleges of Art
1980 National Endowment for the Arts
1975 Minnesota State Bicentennial Commission
1974 Minnesota State Arts Board
1969 Union of Independent Colleges of Art

Just click on a subject at the top and enjoy the tour.

Plato | Einstein | Michelangelo | Gandhi | Liz'n Bill | Charlemagne | Ben Franklin

Copyright © 2000 Herb Grika. All rights reserved.