The T-Shirt

Painted by Gleach (Gloria Leach)

tshirt_sunside tshirt_moonside

(Click on the images above to view larger pictures of each side of the t-shirt.)

Updated Feb 9, 2014: Over the last several years I’ve heard from Gleach’s sister, from John, and from a few of Gleach’s friends. If anyone is interested in sharing memories of Gleach or uploading any photos of her or her art, feel free to reply below.

When I was little in San Francisco, my best friend was John, a boy my age. His mother, Gleach (Gloria Leach), was an amazing artist. I remember her making Easter eggs: first poking a needle in the eggs, draining their contents, and then painting them in elaborate, beautiful designs. I know she had many artistic outlets, but that was a long time ago and don’t remember a lot from that age. I can only describe the little that I do remember of her art, and that in the foggy way that a child’s memories present themselves.

Gleach also painted this t-shirt for me. John and I both believed that the “sun” side portrayed me and the “moon” side was John, although I have no idea now if that was Gleach’s intention or something we made up in our own minds. In some ways they look nothing like we did, but in others I see definite similarities (mouths, chins, eyes). I think she may have based the faces on ours, and used artistic license with the hair and some of the features. I suppose we’ll never know at this late date.

Gleach has since died of cancer. Due to the circumstances, I don’t have express permission to post these scans of the t-shirt, but I’m assured by those who knew Gleach that she would be happy that I’m posting this on my web site. If by any chance someone comes across this who knew Gleach, feel free to post your memories of her below. I’d love to hear from anyone who has anything to say about Gleach, her art in general, or this shirt in particular.

3 comments on “The T-Shirt
  1. Leonard says:

    I knew Gleach while she lived in San Francisco. There was a group of us and we passed by each other a couple of times. The first time was around…well, I don’t remember the year but it was in 1090 Page Street, a large beautiful house we “occupied”. Must have been around 1967 or ’68.
    We met again a few years later via a common friend, Ira, around 1974, still in S.F. and I believe she was living on Steiner St. or somewhere in the Upper Filmore, off Divisidero St. around the corner from the ’42 Club’ owned by Nate Thurman who had 42″ pant legs!
    It was after her first mastectomy and she was working things out about it. She LOVED anything alive and Mother Nature, so the house was full of sea shells, bone, rocks, plants, crickets, and my first encounter with a praying mantis, which she tamed! We drank wine and laughed a lot, all of us, her friends. One of the true “free spirits” and remained so. She caught that spirit from the 60’s in that neighborhood and retained it, unlike all the darkness that swiftly backfilled those times. She was painting and I think I can find the one piece of work she left me.
    I am sorry one such as she is gone, however in the scheme of things she was to wonder-filled with what is good and not bound for this earth. I am sad for such.

  2. Rachel says:

    Thank you for those memories, Leonard. I’ve heard from several people via email, and all have wonderful memories of Gleach. My childhood memories of her are foggy, but even so I remember her being an amazing person and a great artist.

    I hope more people post here now that I’ve set up this page to allow comments.

  3. Bill Woods says:

    I was never fortunate enough to meet Gloria , but I am lucky enough to be married to her sister Holly Leach. Our home contains art created Gleach she was without question a very talented lady.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *