Flying cow part of this young artist’s portfolio
By Paul Sullivan For The Courier-News May 14, 2012 4:28PM
Emily Grelck poses in front of her artwork at the St. Charles Eastside Colonial Cafe and Ice Cream restaurant. | Paul Sullivan photo
Updated: June 16, 2012 8:08AM
St. Charles artist Emily Grelck, 23, is the young artist who created the Flying Cow artwork that hangs in all seven area Colonial Café and Ice Cream restaurants.
Grelck, who graduated magna cum laude from the University of Illinois Chicago with a bachelor of fine arts in art education, created the first Flying Cow for the new Colonial Café on St. Charles’ west side that opened in 2010. Other Colonial Cafés are in Algonquin, Aurora, Crystal Lake, Elgin, Naperville and St. Charles’ east side.
Says Emily: “I’ve known the Andersons (who own the Colonials) since I was very little. Our families are friends. When the Andersons decided to remodel the restaurants, they knew I was an artist. They’ve seen my artwork over the years. I was super happy they asked me. And they were happy to have somebody local.”
Clinton Anderson, fourth-generation president of Colonial Café and Ice Cream, said, “The Grelcks and the Andersons go way back. It’s been a pleasure watching Emily grow and mature as a successful young artist. It’s not everyone who gets the talented services of a University of Illinois Chicago art grad to work whimsy in their restaurant ... especially with a piece that inspires such interaction and good will for us.”
Emily earned $2,500 for the first Flying Cow. She said she priced her work at $20 an hour plus the cost of material.
“It’s hard to name your price,” she said, smiling. “You can’t just say pay back my college debt so I’ll be even.”
Except for the Crystal Lake and St. Charles west-side Colonial — both new buildings with lots of high wall space — the other Flying Cows in the herd are smaller. Emily produced four of those at the same time.
“That was hard to do,” she said. “I had to resist the urge to change things.”
All of the Flying Cows were created at the Grelck family home with some assistance from her father, Dick Grelck, an engineer by trade. The big-eyed cows appear to be flying out from the artwork. To achieve that effect, Dick tilted the cow’s body at varying angles on the prototype while Emily stood on a stepladder to determine just the angle she wanted. Dick then cut a seven-degree angle on a 2-by-4 that supports the cow. A father-daughter project?
“Naw,” said Dick. “It was a daughter project. I was just … available.”
Emily is an artist who also teaches art.
“Teaching forces me to keep up,” she said. “To be a good art teacher, you need to be a good artist. Teaching art is a fun field to be in. I love making art. It’s what I do, whether I get paid or not. I give away a lot of my work; otherwise it just sits there.”
This month, Emily begins a teaching position at a prestigious private art school in south Florida. More of her portfolio can be seen at www.emilygrelck.com.