Overheard at 192 East Walton

Nice Suit (2023). Acrylic on board. Artwork and text copyright Danny Grosso.

Clockwise, from middle left:

“It’s his score on the narcissist scale.”


“More like the obnoxious scale.”


“I think it’s what he paid for it.”


“Oh my God – that jacket…”


(To herself): “I helped him stud it, but now I’m not so sure I should tell anyone.”


“I know he can’t count that high, because he still owes me about that much.”


“It’s definitely not his I.Q.”


Danny Grosso


Yellows (2015). Acrylic on Paper. Artwork and text copyright Danny Grosso.

Alone on the branch, these two find some measure of calm, at least as much as can be, with little birds. Their heads flit back to forth, wings shivering, but they stay a bit. They are two dandies on a runway, in dangerous territory, finery on display. Lit up and glistening against the fading light, like candy, they catch the eye and engage other senses as well. Down through the ages, they’ve learned to move around quickly, to observe furtively, to love desperately.

They are aware that their shine makes them attractive, and that it also makes them targets.

Danny Grosso

This and That

This and That (2023). Acrylic on Board. Artwork and text copyright Danny Grosso.

Remember this? This and that? Everyone together talking about this and that? She would make this and bring it along, even to a restaurant, because she wanted to show how she loved getting together. Her friend would order that for the table when they arrived because it was the perfect complimentary dish. He would pour and pour, champagne he could not really afford. Another girl would save up for that dress and risk the wine spill. That guy over there would store up jokes for weeks so he’d have enough to last the night. We all did this and that once. We all may do it again, or not, but in the meantime, the artists will endeavor to remind us that this, and that, used to be our reasons for being.

Danny Grosso


Pace Fratelli (2023). Acrylic on Board. Artwork and text copyright Danny Grosso.

Pace, Fratello,” that’s how they greeted each other, because they were brothers in faith, or, more than that, in the immigrant experience. Pace, Sorella, as well; Peace, Sister, for the nonnas and bisnonnas who left their bus shoes on the outside steps of their childrens’ homes after changing into mud boots to tend the gardens. They did this because it was early in the morning and everyone was asleep, and knocking, or a doorbell, might wake the grandchildren. At parties they’d toil and keep watch, for need, for more wine, more food, for dirty dishes. And during lulls they’d drift back to the kitchen and make more pies from the gardens’ frutti and verdure. On the rare occasion that they went out, they’d still be working, or play acting at it, habitually clearing the tables or adding food to still half-full plates. They looked very uncomfortable all dressed up, yet they never seemed unhappy in a crowd of relatives.

The men, the household royalty, in their clean white shirts or shiny suits, well, they’d be catered to, and mostly, learn to be oblivious of their privilege. In or out of the house, they’d regale each other with song and story, sharing little with the older women but the joy of being a family together. The gatherings were raucous, loud, and sometimes unforgiving. Many hurt feelings would be subjugated to the greater ambitions of togetherness. How many stress-related illnesses, how many tears alone behind closed doors…

They wished each other peace but gave each other a more common ribaldry, at least for the evening, before saying arrivaderci and returning their yearnings to the heavens. Peace may not be realistic but it is aspirational. Love may not be attainable but for inspiration, but it is real nonetheless, and on display at these great little gatherings. Stop in at a home like this at Christmas, or a restaurant table like this on a beloved uncle’s birthday. See what looking for common ground; what showing up with an open heart can do.

They put so much time and effort into each other. Perhaps that’s why they wished each other peace, They needed a break from all the work needed to produce a happy family.

Danny Grosso

Another Political Bestiary, Ep. XXXI

The Ghoul (2020). Acrylic and ink on paper. Artwork and text copyright Danny Grosso.

Continuing the expeditions of Jeff MacNelly, James Kilpatrick, and Eugene McCarthy, with apologies.

The Ghoul

Abiding, rather than living, in the epochs of geopolitical time, the enigmatic Ghoul is a recurring visitor to the Bestiary. Incited in periods of realpolitik, the creature rears its bespectacled head and lowers expectations in capitals all over the globe. Need to sidetrack some badly needed reform? Subpoena a Ghoul to testify before committee. Want to douse the spark of a people’s revolution? Post a Ghoul to that far-flung embassy. Trained in the dark arts of emotional distance (Ivy League) and invisible control (Langley), the creature is well suited to its tasks, in which it revels, quietly. The Ghoul, congenitally reticent and, at times, attention averse to the point of invisibility, can sometimes be easily spotted in the wild. Its recent habitats include the House GOP Caucus rooms, the international terminal at Reagan National, and the U.S. Embassy in Hong Kong.

-Danny Grosso

Veil of Light

Angel on Palm Sunday (1989). Oil on Canvas. Artwork and text copyright Danny Grosso.

It’s the light this time of year. Misty, maybe primeval, and full of foreboding. There is the sense that, as the mist settles, it is reborn in the new saplings that share its fragile tint. Or is that just the light this time of year, bepaling everything in its veil?

Things falling, things springing up; all in the fresh cool of the season’s mornings, and in the teals and sky blues that burst through the bogs. The light this time of year creates specters: rainbows that appear and vanish, clouds that descend into the pavements. Bad craziness, you think; foolishness, you say. You amble through the light as if it is all emptiness, just another void to disregard. Keep your head down, you say.

And then, out of the mist, through the new palm fronds, an angel rises…

Danny Grosso

Chicago Gothic VIII

13869C64-2A15-4632-B3D7-06D97A8A924DYou said once that you wished you could hush the city for good, and I think you and your dust have done it this time. But, your dust has affected the inhabitants as well, given them strange powers or robbed them of passion. They amble along, alone mostly, unable to remember what they’ve been destined to do…


From Chicago Gothic (2007). Artwork and text copyright Danny Grosso.

Mud People, No. 19

Mud People, No. 19 (2019). House paint on paper. Artwork and text copyright Danny Grosso.

Frost on the end of his nose. It was freezing out there. People walked by stiff-necked as if already done in by the weather. Zombies from the shoulders up. Eyes glazed, joints set in the cold. Hands in gloves in pockets.

There is little sound in extreme cold. The hush is punctuated by the percussion of hard soles on hard pavement. A thousand drumstick rim strikes.

He’s bundled up as best he can, and he’s keeping his eyelids low – he knows where he’s going, and he’s gonna get there fast. There’ll be that moment when he enters the Monodnock Building two blocks up when he has to stop in his tracks and shake the cold off for a second or two, and then he’ll warm himself by bounding up the stairs.

Envelope awaits. He will be done after this pickup, at least until tonight, but at least he can wait for that call at home, or in in some warm place where the coffee is hot and the frost is on the outside. For now he’s at an open corner next to a plaza with no shield from the wind, and the cold goes right through his leather and the three layers beneath, piercing the skin and burrowing in, releasing itself out his back, surprising him with its ruthlessness.

He is the product of a rough neighborhood, so this only reminds him that if someone really wants to get him, he can be gotten. His vulnerability is constant in a big, cold world. He puts his head down and gets moving.


-Danny Grosso

Alley Tags IX

Rain on Me (2021). Spray paint on board. Artwork and text copyright Danny Grosso.

Rain on me, I can take it. Drop your barometric burden, your overindulgence, your tears over me. I will dance between the raindrops while I can, umbrella deflect if I must, and in the end, stand out in it, awashed, but unchanged, renewed but unrepentant. I cannot go where you want me to, unless you want me to go where I am going. I will continue on, rain or shine, and dance my way home.

Danny Grosso