Jimi Hendrix, Voodoo Chile, 2005 Oil on Linen 40 × 40 inches
Jimi Hendrix, Voodoo Chile, 2005
Oil on Linen 40 × 40 inches

Jimi Hendrix is a god-like icon of music—someone who was able to reach infinity with his song writing and playing. A band like Led Zeppelin is fantastic, but there is a ceiling to the metaphors and even Jimmy Page’s incredible guitar work. Hendrix is transcendence—the poetry of his lyricism, his sci-fi mystical vision, and his uncanny, ineffable music takes rock and roll, jazz, and rhythmic stylings into another dimension. He also is exemplary of the "American Dream," working his way up the ladder (as an ex army man!) through the Chitlin’ Circuit, working with greats like Little Richard, but never being satisfied, and not allowing others to put him in a box or subjugate his vision. When he fully emerged in England, he blew everyone away with his incredible playing and songwriting—all the white Brits that were emulating and appropriating American Blues and Rock n’ Roll couldn’t believe the genius they saw before them, in a short time, Hendrix took over the world. I love that he comes out of love—that he really wanted to create a church with his music—to have people FEEL what it is that he was playing and singing about, in a deep way that they would be forever moved—and they were. Like any great music, I can listen to Hendrix again and again, and get something new out of it—and I he really crosses and exceeds genres—typically he is known for Rock n’ Roll and the Sixties, but I think he is much more than that—his genius knows no bounds. I hope that my work and painting in particular can emulate what he is striving for—and in particular, how his music and lyrics fuse together in form and content to become something that is transcendent beyond language. Painting this I listened exclusively to his entire oeuvre, read about him, and really tried to get within the music and its message. I’m hoping that, like in his music, my work is able to break into abstraction, and hope that in his vest and his body it not only synaesthetically captures the mood and feeling of the music, but also slips into unconscious other worlds. The image is from an old Rock n’ Roll book that our friend Alicia gave us specifically so I could paint this image before she shockingly died from complications due to AIDS (none of us, including her, knew she had it!), so this painting was also an homage to a dear friend—my husband Andrew’s best friend, and like at the end of a New Orleans jazz funeral, I hope this painting brought a jubilant epiphany and coda, looking towards a spiritual future, after the end of her amazing life.