Ken Grimes was born in New York City and grew up in Cheshire, Connecticut. For more than 30 years, Grimes has diligently maintained a stark palette of black and white, which he believes is the most direct way of showing the contrast between truth and deception. The artist’s paintings, which oscillate between whimsical and stern—but are often both—are conceptual, never-ending variations on the themes of extraterrestrial intelligence and cosmic coincidence; a window to a world where aliens, flying saucers, UFOs, crop circles, radio telescopes and interstellar signals are an essential part of reality. Grimes’s artistic project strives to prompt viewers into thinking about the existence of aliens and the importance of making contact with them, a quest that in some of his works has resulted in fascinating text-only compositions. In the artist’s most recent works on paper—originally conceived as preliminary works for his larger Masonite compositions and since refined to autonomous pieces—Grimes interlaces excerpts from his favorite paranormal writers (from the likes of Carl Sagan and Frank Drake) with his unique narrative voice, thus creating a sense of the continuous thought process happening inside the artist’s brain.
Grimes’s distinct style has garnered attention throughout the Outsider and Contemporary arenas. In 1998, he was included in the group of 31 artists comprising the American Folk Art Museum’s travelling exhibition “Self Taught Artists of the 20th Century” and one of the four then still living—along with Thornton Dial, Purvis Young, and Lonnie Holley. His work in the permanent collections of the Milwaukee Art Museum, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, and the American Folk Art Museum.