And while Mahoney says the 52-year-old guitarist is a genius as a musician, his artwork, which he calls "visual improvisations," is also significant. "His genius--it's a peculiar word--it's on one side compulsion, and the other side grace," he says. "The major level of compulsion and grace lies in his guitar playing. However, the visual things are amazing."
Garcia's interest in visual art goes back to his high school years, when he studied painting at what is now the San Francisco Art Institute. While he always pursued his artwork, he became more deeply involved with it in 1986, when a diabetic condition confined him for six months.
While Garcia was convalescing, his friend Nora Sage suggested he start selling his work, McNally says. Garcia's lithographs and prints now generally range in price from $250 to $600.
"So he was doing his paintings," McNally says, "and this woman (Sage) who was selling the originals and the lithos from them is a very bright and resourceful woman, and she looked at these things and said, 'I see ties.' And he shrugged and said, 'You gotta be kidding me,' and went back to it.