Gronk (born 1957 in East Los Angeles, California, USA) is the artistic name of Chicano painter, printmaker, and performance artist Glugio Nicandro. According to Gronk, his widely-repeated birth year of 1954 is false and directly attributed to his long-time dealer, Daniel Saxon, who wanted his young artist to "be older" and "taken seriously." The artist also states that "Gronk" is a name his mother found in an article on a Brazilian tribe in National Geographic while resting shortly before his birth.
Gronk was a founding member of ASCO, a multi-media arts collective in the 1970s. Influenced by European film, existentialism, and literature (i.e., Camus, Beckett) Gronk and his early teenage cohorts made "movies without film", farcical "happenings" on the streets of their native East LA, with Patssi Valdez (magical realist painter of ominous domestic interiors) starring in female roles. Gronk is largely self-educated. Bored with High School and radicalized politically by the anti-Vietnam War and Chicano Walk-Out movements of Los Angeles schools, Gronk and friends barely attended their final years in school, and may not have graduated. He took some classes at Community College. Gronk reports that he was kicked out of famed East LA's Self Help Graphics "by that chain-smoking nun," Karen Boccalero, for not following instructions.