Former Austin resident finds sucess as ‘grandma’s boy’

Published 6:40 am Monday, December 21, 2009

Never before has being called a “grandma’s boy” held such esteem. Just ask professional artist Paul Reetz.

Grannies are, after all, his muse.

Reetz, who grew up in Austin, turned his respect of all-things-granny into an art, and recently, a business.

Reetz is a designer by day for Fender Guitars company Musicorp. He also runs Grannies LLC, a novelty art and design company.

The art is, obviously, grandmother-centric.

He sells mixed-media prints, calendars and a children’s book — with caricature or cartoon-style drawings of fictional grandmothers taking center-stage.

“It started out in art school, and turned into kind of a hobby. There was just something about the grannies that I was drawn to, and I thought they were something that other people would enjoy,” said Reetz, who now lives in Charleston, S.C.

So, he went on to create images of grannies on a vespa, grannies hunting, grannies saying grace, a granny swinging surrounded by grandchildren, a granny on a pogo stick, among many others.

Each image is part hand-painted, part sketched and part computer-designed.

Reetz said he drew his inaugural granny while he was a senior at the Minnesota College of Art and Design in Minneapolis. It started as a sketch in a notebook, but he went on to flesh out the drawing, and develop the work further for his senior project.

He later created a series of granny works, which he would display at art shows in Minneapolis.

After writer Melessa Henderson saw his booth at a show, she was inspired to write a story about the characters in Reetz’s prints. Next, “A Granny’s Heart,” a transcendent children’s book, was born.

Reetz does create non-granny art work, but as a true granny’s boy, his loyalty lies with the sweet little old ladies.

“I guess I am just fascinated with our grandparent’s generation,” he said.

“They went through so much change in their time… The depression and World War II. They’ve seen such cultural change, and in their old age, they are fitting into different places now,” Reetz continued.

Reetz’s website, www.thegrannies.net, honors real life granny each month. The first two have been Reetz’s own, but nomination’s for January’s lady of honor can be made on the site.

The site also has free granny desktop wallpaper, and coloring sheets to print out.

“I see it as restoring dignity to our grandparents, our elders. It’s cute and joyful, but I hope it also sets a sort of continence and a foundation of understanding,” Reetz said.

Some of Reetz’s granny art can be purchased locally at Sterling Main Street, 1305 First Ave. SW. The entire collection is available at www.thegrannies.net. Order online by Monday to make sure gifts arrive by Christmas — as any granny might say, belated gifts are just not very becoming.

What: Granny prints, calendars, book

Price: $15-$50

Available: Sterling Main Street and on

www.thegrannies.net/