Chris Grosz Profile

Nick Bollinger
17 Apr 2020

For more than five decades, Chris Grosz’s artwork has played a visual counterpoint to music in New Zealand and elsewhere. His images have adorned posters, walls, album covers and television screens.

He has created iconic designs for Frank Zappa, Bob Dylan, Randy Newman, U2, Elvis Costello, Mi-Sex, Dragon, Midge Marsden and Mother Goose, among others. You may have seen his work without knowing whose it was, or that it was even the work of a New Zealander.

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Cover for Chris Grosz's graphic novel 'Kimble Bent: Malcontent' (Random House NZ, 2011). 
Chris Grosz: CD cover for Ruff & Tumble, by Grosz and Jack Craw. 
Colour coordinated: Chris Grosz, left, and artist/drummer Bill Hammond.
Photo credit: Chris Grosz collection
The Black Soap Boys, Auckland, 2013. From left: Chris Grosz, Rick Bryant, and Gordon Spittle.
Chris Grosz poster for the Black Soap Boys' gig at the Leigh Sawmill, February 2013. 
Chris Grosz poster for Bill Lake and the Right Mistake, for their 2017 visit to Auckland to launch 'As is Where Is'. Grosz was also the support act.  
Chris Grosz makes prominent use of a QR scanning code for this 2013 Black Soap Boys poster for their single 'Deep Dark Blue'. 
Country Deal was a Wellington folk/blues band featuring Max Winnie, Graeme Nesbitt, Colin Heath, and Andrew Delahunty. The cover of their 1970 album on Kiwi was designed by Chris Grosz. 
Chris Grosz with Taj Mahal. 
Photo credit: Chris Grosz collection
The Black Soap Boys, live at the Bunker, Devonport, 2013. The Black Soap Boys were Rick Bryant, Gordon Spittle, and Chris Grosz (who designed the poster). 
Pop and Circumstance: poster for a 2016 exhibition of Chris Grosz work, Kohukohu, in the Hokianga.  
Porkchops &the Pistol Slappers Jugband, featuring Senor Lavën, multi-instrumentalist, 1975. Poster by Chris Grosz. 
The Band of Hope Jugband, from Christchurch, 1968. From left: Bill Hammond, Gordon Collier, Dobbin (Robin Elliot), Dennis Hearfield, Warwick Brock, and Chris Grosz.
Cover image for Chris Priestley's CD 'Unsung Heroes: Songs & Stories from New Zealand's Distant Past', 2013
Photo credit: Chris Grosz
Chris Grosz at the opening of his retrospective exhbition in Kohukohu, Hokianga, with a local who traded a guitar slide made out of a crocodile tooth for a copy of Grosz's Kimble Bent book.
Photo credit: Chris Grosz collection
Rob Raymond and NZ Students Arts Coucil present New Ticket dance-concert, "Foot-stomping, floor-shaking rock." Poster by Chris Grosz, 1973. 
Chris Grosz's poster for a 2013 Paekakariki gig by the Black Soap Boys, the trio he was in with Rick Bryant and Gordon Spittle. 
"Soul that'll whack you upside the head!". Poster for Rough Justice reunion tour, 2014 - designed by Chris Grosz. 
Poster for the exhibition Chris Grosz Retro Mashup, at Kohukohu in the Hokianga, 2016. 
Rick Bryant's 2019 album, 'You Can Be the Boss'. Cover design by Chris Grosz. 
Chris Grosz's design for Frank Zappa's concert at the Hordern Pavilion, Sydney, 1976. 
Chris Grosz's design for an advertisement for Split Enz's "video LP" True Colours, 1980. 
Chris Grosz poster for 2017 gig in Akaroa by UK boogie woogie pianist Ben Waters (and some stellar friends).  
Chris Grosz was especially satisfied with his poster for Weather Report’s 1978 Australian tour, fully painted design, “done as a complete piece of art including the lettering – one of my first posters painted in oils.”
Chris Grosz with Resonator, 2000s. 
Photo credit: Chris Grosz collection
Midge Marsden's LP '12 Bars from Mars' (Peak, 1982) - designed by Chris Grosz and Bill Hammond. 
Chris Grosz, 2010s.
Photo credit: Nic Staveley/Urbis
Chris Grosz in 2018, beside the cover he designed for the Red Hot Peppers' 1976 LP, 'Toujours Yours'.
Photo credit: Nick Bollinger
Chris Grosz's poster for a 1976 gig by Dragon and the Red Hot Peppers. 
Chris Grosz poster for Ry Cooder's 1978 “Antipodean” tour. After the Melbourne concert, Grosz spent an hour outside Dallas Brooks Hall talking with Cooder, “about everything from Tex mex music to Polynesian harmonies.”
Chris Grosz poster for a Sydney gig by The Stranglers, 1979. Meeting them afterwards, Grosz found the musicians were “more interested in Frank Sinatra records than discussing their poster design.”
Mad Dog Jug Jook and Washboard Band, at the National Folk Festival, held at the Wellington Polytechnic, October 1969. From left, Tom Cranitch, Robbie Laven, Andrew Delahunty, Pete Kershaw, Chris Grosz. 
Chris Grosz design for the 2008 CD 'Excess in Moderation', by Smokestack (which featured Grosz as a member). 
'Toujours Yours', the Red Hot Peppers' debut album, released by RCA in 1976. Cover art by Chris Grosz
The Band of Hope Jug Band, 1968. From left: Dennis Hearfield, Bill Hammond, Chris Grosz (with back to camera), Warwick Brock, Dobbin (Robin Elliot), and Gordon Collier.
Photo credit: Chris Grosz collection
Artwork for Red Hot Peppers' gig poster, designed by Chris Grosz, 1976. 
Chris Grosz's poster for a 1979 Australian tour by Maria Muldaur. 
Chris Grosz poster for a Nelson concert by Butler and Living Force, 1976. 
Oil or acrylic: Chris Grosz, Australia, 2000s. Chris Grosz collection
"To Chris. Great poster. Thanks a lot. Best - Randy Newman." Poster by Chris Grosz, c. 1983 for an Australian tour (the New Zealand leg was cancelled).
Photo credit: Chris Grosz collection
Chris Grosz design for the Black Soap Boys EP, Squeaky Clean (2014). 
The Windy City Strugglers' album 'Snow on the Desert Road' (Red Rocks, 2001). Cover design by Chris Grosz. 
Chris Grosz's design for the Red Hot Peppers LP Bright Red (Oz Records, Australia, 1977). 
Chris Grosz poster for a 2013 album by Rick Bryant and the Jive Bombers: The Black Soap from Monkeyburg (Red Rocks)
'Downtown Blues' - a 1968 single on Kiwi, by the Band of Hope Jug Band. Chris Grosz is in the black 40s fedora, Warwick Brock in the white flat cap. Grosz sang the b-side, 'Ain't She Sweet'. 
Christchurch rock'n'roll reunion in Australia, during the Long Way to the Top tour, 2002 (L-R): Ray Columbus, Max Merritt, Chris Grosz, Mike Rudd of Chants R&B, Dinah Lee.
Photo credit: Chris Grosz collection
Chris Grosz's poster for a Melbourne gig by Mi-Sex, James Freud, and No Fixed Address, 1981.
Chris Grosz poster for Australian tour of Elvis Costello and the Attractions, December 1978. 
Trivia:

Guest artists on the 1968 Band of Hope Jug Band album were Wellington blues singer Val Murphy and Dunedin pianist Tim Hazledine.