Saturday, October 14, 2023
Grace Rowland (formerly Grace Park) is an artist/musician from Central Texas. She makes cut paper, stained glass, graphic art, and is frontwoman of Austin psych-folk band The Deer.
Grace Corinne Rowland was born in Lubbock, Texas in 1984. From an early age she both sang and drew, fascinated with broadway musicals and comic books. She performed in plays, honed her artistic skills, and sang in church, school, & competition choir until her graduation in 2002. She received a Louise-Merrick scholarship and studied vocal education at the Texas State School of Music. It was there she met future bandmates Jesse Dalton and Michael McLeod. After a battle with stage-fright, she began writing and performing in 2005. She finished her vocal degree while touring with her first working band, The Blue Hit. The trio toured for many years, went on to other projects like Middlespoon and The Brother Brothers, and still make music together occasionally.
Grace Rowland changed her stage name in 2011 to Grace Park (based on her then-husband Silas Parker's name), and began work with Michael McLeod to record an album of her songs: An Argument For Observation by Grace Park & The Deer. The project formed its core members, began collaborating and touring together, and became simply The Deer. They have been one of Austin Music Awards' Best Performing Folk Bands for three years, and two of their album covers (designed by Grace) were among Austin Music Industry Awards' Best Album Art in 2014 and 2017. They also received a major grant in 2018 from Austin music patron group Black Fret.
During The Deer's formation, Grace transitioned from barista to freelance artist/touring musician. In 2013 her friend and bandmate Stephanie Bledsoe passed away; her influence can be seen in much of Grace's art after that. She spent the next several years highly productive, living and working at Thigh High Gardens in San Marcos, Texas - the permaculture farm Stephanie created with Silas and a remarkable community of volunteers, who continue to keep it growing.
Grace's home and studio are now in South Austin. She continues to make paper and stained glass art on commission, display her original work in galleries and shops in Central Texas and London, design graphics for music-related media, and is a working musician on tour part of the year. Aside from her main project The Deer, she has performed and recorded with several acts including Alejandro Escovedo, MilkDrive, Roger Sellers (Bayonne), Abram Shook, Fire in the Pines, Jack Wilson, & more.