For the past 5 years, Grego Anderson has painted the images on bluesmen and women on old planks of wood in his Austin, Texas home, selling them thru galleries from San Diego to Boston. In 2003, Grego was acclaimed as an official blues artist for the “Year of the Blues” by the United States Congress. He began establishing an online presence with artbygrego.com, as a way to introduce the public to his work (he had already painted and sold over 300 blues portraits at that time). “The response was so great, and the demands for commission work were so high, that I began to pull out of art galleries (where the commission rate is 50% of the paintings asking price) and I began work on an online store where I could sell my own work.
Grego chose the name “mojohand” from his favorite Lightnin Hopkins tune and set up Mojohand.com.
“I had been searching online for cool blues t-shirts and blues concert posters, but I hadn’t found much… I realized that there were a lot of blues fans in the same boat, so I went to work designing my own line of blues apparel – hats, t-shirts, ladies tees.”
The online store was not an immediate success, but it grew steadily. Within the first year Grego was approached by a pair of film makers from Houston, who were working on a Lightnin Hopkins documentary. They came to Austin to interview Grego and film him painting a portrait of Lightnin on an old wooden plank. “It was a great honor to do that project for many reasons – first, Lightnin was by far my favorite blues artist. Secondly, the company I have in that film is amazing! BB King and Jimmie Vaughan were interviewed, as well as many other legends. How cool is that?”
Now in the heart of Christmas shopping season 2005, Grego and Mojohand.com have shipped to over 45 countries around the globe. Grammy winners have bought Mojohand t-shirts, paintings and hats from Grego. Greenland, Brazil, Australia, Spain – every continent, every corner of the world now has Grego’s art residing somewhere.
“It’s really humbling to think all this has happened in just a few years. The internet has made it so easy for blues fans to get together from all over the globe. I’m just glad to be a part of the worldwide community.”
This summer, Grego and Mojohand.com sponsored the Lake Austin Blues Festival in Austin, Tx. A two day music festival, where the proceeds go to a drug rehabilitation organization that helps teenagers regain their lives after becoming addicted to narcotics. “We had a great time, a huge crowd and the people of Austin turned out in full force – everyone worked their tails off, and the Palmer drug program really got a huge boost financially.”
“Next year will be even better. Next we did 3 days at the Austin City Limits festival, 100,000 people, 7 stages and alot of blues fans came by the booth and said hello. Hard work, but alot of fun”
Grego continues to work at his day job working for a Austin screenprinting shop, while running his online store in the evenings. His lunch hour is a mad dash to the post office sending out orders around the globe.
Grego lives with his wife of 4 years, Alison Boudreaux Anderson, and 2 cats in South Austin, Texas.
He can be reached at email@example.com
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